Cardio exercises for people with knee pain when exercising

by Johnny Jacks

Knee pain when working out in the gym will make you uncomfortable, confused and discouraged, especially when you have just “entered” the gym.

Knee pain when working out is a common problem when you exercise. Knee pain makes your daily activities difficult. And exercise can be challenging for you right now.

However, some cardio exercises can help you relieve knee pain when hitting the gym. Let’s explore with in the article below!

What causes knee pain?

Knee pain during exercise can be caused by chronic arthritis or inflammation of the knee. It can also be caused by gym injuries such as sprains, torn ligaments, or overtraining.

To determine the cause of knee pain when exercising, you should see a doctor for a diagnosis and prescription. However, exercise can be part of the “prescription” to help your knee recover.

Some Cardio Exercises You Can Do When Knee Pain

Once your doctor has helped find the cause of your knee arthritis, you can start exercising. In particular, doing cardio exercises is a great way to strengthen the lower body, increase heart rate, and lose weight.

Here are some options if you can get to the gym:

1. Use an ergometer for the upper body

The upper body exercise machine is like a bicycle for your arms. You sit in front of the treadmill and press the pedals with your hands to increase your heart rate.

This exercise does not put pressure on the knees. So this is a good option if you have a severe injury or are recovering from knee surgery.

Ergometer for handsExercise machine ergometer for hand

2. Treadmill

If you have knee pain while exercising but still want to run or walk, you can use a treadmill. This machine’s mobility belt provides a cushion that allows you to walk without putting a strain on the knee joint. My advice is to use the right shoes for this exercise.

3. Horizontal bucket tractor

The horizontal bucket tractor is another option well worth a try. Because the movement of this exercise creates positive effects on the muscles and hamstrings, it helps to build stronger knees.

However, this move works on your knees. You should only do it at an easy level and for a few minutes to see how your body reacts. If you feel pain in your knee joint, you should ignore it.

Horizontal bucket support machine for people with knee pain when exercisingHorizontal bucket support machine

Cardio exercises at home for painful knee joints

If you don’t want to go to the gym or other options are not suitable, you can still refer to cardio exercises done at home with just a few equipment.

The exercises below include low-impact cardio that’s good for your heart without affecting your knees and other joints.

Note: See your doctor before you do this or any exercise and skip movements that cause pain or discomfort.

Equipment to prepare: Elastic band, 2-4kg medicine ball and exercise ball.

Exercise instructions:

  • Warm up with light cardio, walk in place or around the house for at least 5 minutes, or use the first exercise to warm up and warm up your muscles.
  • Once you’ve warmed up, stretch tight muscles in your lower body, hamstrings, quads, and calves.
  • Do each exercise for 30-60 seconds, rest a bit or not and then move on to another movement
  • Try to exercise with moderate intensity. If you want more intensity, go faster, add more movement to the exercise, add impact, or use heavier resistance.
  • Do a circuit for a short, 15-minute workout, or repeat the exercise as many times as you want
  • Finish with a cool-down exercise and make sure to stretch your lower body.
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1. Step and touch

Step and touch for people with knee pain when exercising

The exercise starts with a simple movement and increases in intensity as you continue to practice.

  • Step out to the right and bring your arms to the sides or in front of your chest (as shown). Bring your left foot in, touch the floor next to your right foot, and immediately step left foot to the left. Keep your legs relatively straight.
  • Continue stepping to the right and left, stepping wider and arms larger to warm up.
  • Repeat for 60 seconds


  • Step and touch around the room and do it backwards
  • Rotate your arms over your head to increase the intensity of the exercise
  • Instead of stepping and touching, keep your right foot stationary and step your left foot out and touch, repeating this for 30 seconds. Do the same with the right leg.

2. Low impact jump

If you have joint pain when hitting the gym and want to work out, try the low-impact jump. This move is slightly more intense than the previous move.

  • Bring your right foot to the right. Turn your left foot toward the left side of the room while bringing your right arm up.
  • Step back and rotate your right leg to the right and bring your right arm up.
  • Continue alternating sides for 60 seconds.


  • Arm rotation: Instead of bringing one arm up, bring both arms up and rotate.
  • Extra movement: If you don’t mind your knees, try with a jump.
  • If foot rotation affects your knees, keep your body forward.

3. Walk evenly with the exercise ball

If you have knee pain while exercising, take out the exercise ball and continue with this exercise.

  • Hold the ball with both hands straight up and over your head.
  • Bring your right knee up as you bring the exercise ball below your knee. Bring the ball up, lower your right foot and perform the movement on the other foot.
  • Continue for 60 seconds.


  • Keep the ball at chest level as you walk steadily
  • Increase exercise speed to increase exercise intensity.

4. “Around the world” exercise with exercise balls

  • Hold the exercise ball with both hands. Step one foot out and the knee slightly bent, bring the ball to the right and then rotate it over your head and around to the left.
  • Continue circling the ball to the center, repeating for 30 seconds in one direction and 30 seconds in the other.


  • Make the biggest move possible to increase the intensity
  • To make the exercise easier, keep the ball closer to your body as you circle the ball.

Exercise Exercise “around the world” with exercise balls

5. Knee lift using medicine ball

If you have knee pain when exercising, then with this exercise, a medicine ball of about 2-4kg is suitable for you.

  • Hold the ball with both hands. Raise your right knee and touch the ball to the knee.
  • Lower and repeat with left knee. Perform 2 alternating sides for about 60 seconds.
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  • Keep the ball at chest level as you walk steadily
  • Speed ​​up workouts for more intensity

Knee lift using medicine ballKnee lift using medicine ball

6. Kick straight with medicine ball

  • Bring the ball straight up while your right foot steps back. The front knee is slightly bent. From this position, kick your right foot forward while bringing the ball down toward your foot. (Right leg should try to be parallel to floor)
  • Repeat for 30 seconds and switch to the other leg.


  • If bending your knees bothers you, keep your legs straight.
  • Hold the ball at chest level for less intensity
  • Bring your knees up instead of keeping your legs straight

Straight kick with medicine ballStraight kick with medicine ball

7. Chest compressions using medicine balls

If you are suffering from knee pain when working out in the gym but still want to work out, the chest press exercise with the ball is worth a try.

  • Stand up straight and keep the ball at chest level. Squeeze the ball with the palm of your hand, you will feel the chest muscles contract.
  • Still squeezing the ball, slowly push it out in front of you (keeping it at chest level) until the elbows are almost straight.
  • Bend your elbows and slowly pull the ball back to your chest, continuing to squeeze the ball with your hands.
  • Repeat about 16 times.


  • Sit in a chair (back straight, feet flat on the floor) to rest your legs instead of standing.

8. Lift the knee using an elastic band

Knee pain when working out prevents you from performing leg exercises? Try the exercise below to know the answer. If you don’t have an elastic band, you can use a towel.

  • Fold the elastic band in half and grab one end in each hand. Shift your weight to your left leg and straighten your arms, pulling them apart to activate your upper body.
  • Lift right knee up, squeeze waist to bring right knee up and to the side while bringing right elbow to knee.
  • Lower your legs and straighten them. Do the same with the other leg.
  • Continue for 30 seconds, incorporating bending the knee and straightening the other leg. Then switch sides.


  • Perform moves without elastic bands to reduce intensity
  • Add speed to exercises to increase intensity

9. Hamstring flexion

Stand behind a chair and keep your back balanced. Bend your right knee, bringing your foot back (like you’re kicking your butt). This strengthens your glutes and hamstrings and helps heal your gym-related knee pain.

Slowly lower your legs to the floor and repeat 10 times. Switch legs and complete 1-3 sets of each leg.


  • Increase the intensity by wrapping the elastic around your ankle.

10. Side leg lift

  • Stand next to a chair or wall for support. Lift left leg to the side, foot flexed. Keep hips, knees, and feet straight and aligned.
  • Try to raise your legs without leaning over.
  • Lower and repeat 10 times. Do 1-3 sets on each leg.


  • Add an elastic band around the ankle.

Raise your leg to the sideSide leg lift

11. Lift the knee and punch

  • Start moving by facing the right corner of the room. Step right foot back while punching right hand.
  • Pull your right elbow back and punch out with your left hand while pulling your right knee in. Continue to raise the knee and punch the other leg for 30 seconds, then switch sides.
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  • Just punch out and back with your right arm if the move is confusing at first.
  • Add speed or keep the weight very light for more intensity.

12. Punch – punch and lift the knee

If you love kickboxing and suffer from knee pain when working out, this exercise is for you.

  • Extend your feet and bring your right knee up, punching around with your left hand
  • Lower the knee and perform the sequence: right punch, left punch, right punch. Last punch, bring your left knee up. It’s like punching – punching – punching and lifting the knee. Continue for 60 seconds.

Finish with foam roller

Use the foam roller for self-massage, paying special attention to the calf muscles and tight spots.

Swimming – A sport for people with knee pain when exercising

Swimming is one of the best options if you suffer from knee pain during the gym. Water keeps your body afloat, reducing the impact on the rest of your body while you do a good cardio workout and strengthen the muscles that support your knees.

Swimming does not have much impact on the knee jointSwimming does not have much impact on the knee joint

The best moves are the freestyle and backstroke. However, you can do other exercises.

  • Backward kick: Wrap your arms around a board, flip your back, and kick your feet. Bring your knees up with each kick. It’s almost like you’re marching.
  • Walk: If you don’t mind your knees, you can put on a flotation device and walk across the pool. The resistance of walking in the water will help you get your heart rate up but not impact the knees and help strengthen the knee joint.
  • Water aerobics: Group workouts are fun and doing them in the pool is sure to be a great cardio workout without any impact on your joints. In addition, underwater movements also limit the phenomenon of joint locking and reduce pressure on the joints.

Workout at home with a trainer

Working out at home in your free time will probably make you most comfortable instead of spending time commuting to the gym. However, have you ever thought of exercising at home and still being guided by a professional coach? If you are a busy person and want to exercise or simply want to practice anywhere you like with the coach of your choice, will be the 4.0 solution for you.

Reference source

Best Cardio Workouts and Exercises for Bad Knees https://www.verywell Accessed: March 18, 2020

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