The Best Workout for Weight Loss with Bad Knees

For anyone suffering from bad knees and looking to lose weight, exercise might seem like an impossible task. You don’t need to worry anymore! This article will provide you with the best exercises for weight loss with bad knees.

Quick facts: Best Workout For Weight Loss With Bad Knees

  • ✅ Resistance Training Can Help Build Strength Around Knee Joints For Weight Loss With Bad Knees – Harvard Health
  • ✅ Swimming is the Best Type of Exercise for People With Knee Osteoarthritis – Arthritis Foundation
  • ✅ Low-Impact Cardio Exercises for Weight Loss – Verywell Fit
  • ✅ Pilates Can Help Strengthen Knee Muscles and Reduce Pain – Verywell Fit
  • ✅ Yoga Can Improve Strength and Balance Around the Knee – American Osteopathic Association

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Warming up your muscles before any exercise is essential, especially when you have bad knees. A good warm-up should be at least five minutes, and can include stretching, light cardio, and dynamic movements. Warming up also helps to reduce any stiffness in the muscles and joints, and can also reduce the risk of injury when you start to exercise.

Let’s take a look at the best warm-up exercises for someone with bad knees:

Dynamic stretches

Dynamic stretches are a type of warm-up that involve small, deliberate and controlled movements to stretch the muscles used during exercise. Dynamic stretching requires coordination and can mimic movements used in activities such as running, biking, swimming and other sports. These stretches can help improve flexibility in your knee joints.

Dynamic stretching not only increases flexibility but also prepares the body for physical activity by getting your heart rate up, activating and stretching the muscles used during exercise. Additionally, dynamic stretches may help reduce the chance of injury by increasing blood flow to muscles and lubricating joint surfaces.

Examples of dynamic stretch exercises include:

  • Leg swings
  • Walking lunges
  • High knees
  • Butt kicks

Foam rolling

Foam rolling is an exercise that helps to improve flexibility and mobility, as well as reduce pain and soreness. It involves rolling a soft foam cylinder over parts of the body in order to massage tight or painful muscles. Foam rolling can be useful for those who have bad knees because it can make movement easier by reducing discomfort due to tight muscles around the knee joint.

Foam rolling helps to increase circulation, which releases muscle tension and reduces joint pain. It also helps to break down scar tissue (adhesions) by increasing blood flow in the area being rolled. Foam rolling can be done with any type of foam roller, from a small hand roller to an large cylindrical foam roller used for bigger muscle groups. Before performing more intense exercises such as running or jumping, it is important that you warm up your body by foam rolling.


Cardio is one of the best ways to lose weight and improve your overall health. The great thing about cardio is that it can be done without putting too much strain on your knees. There are many different types of cardio that can be tailored to your knee health and still provide an effective workout.

Let’s look at some of the best options:

Low-impact exercises

Low-impact exercises are an excellent way to burn calories and still protect sensitive joints, such as bad knees. A few examples of low-impact cardio exercise include:

  • Walking
  • Swimming – one of the best forms of low-impact exercise since it puts virtually no stress on the joints
  • Biking
  • Using a stationary elliptical machine

The buoyancy of the water can help reduce or even eliminate knee pain while still providing a challenging workout. Using a stationary bike at home or at the gym can also provide an effective form of low-impact cardio, depending on how much resistance is placed on the pedals. For those who need to keep their feet firmly planted on the ground, even walking can be great for reducing knee strain and providing some positive cardiovascular health benefits.

All three exercises should be performed in intervals with short bursts to elevate the heart rate for short periods of time followed by slow recoveries.


Swimming is an excellent cardio exercise for those who have bad knees. As a low impact workout, swimming helps to strengthen the muscles around your knees without putting too much stress on them. Swimming also works your entire body, with each stroke helping to tone and shape the arms, legs, chest and abs. This type of exercise is great for burning calories and fat quickly, making it an effective exercise for weight loss. It is also a very flexible form of exercise as you can adjust the intensity according to your individual fitness level and goals.

Swimming can be done anywhere with a pool or body of water available, and it’s also one of the safest forms of physical activity in terms of avoiding injury as there’s very little risk of falling or jarring your body while you work out.


The Elliptical is a great piece of equipment to utilize if you have bad knees and are looking for the best workout for weight loss. It is low impact, meaning it reduces the amount of stress on your joints compared to other types of workout equipment. This makes it ideal for those who may suffer from knee problems because it does not require the same degree of motion that running does. Additionally, you can adjust the level of intensity on most machines so that you are pushing yourself while still remaining comfortable.

The elliptical also engages multiple muscles and other body parts at once, helping to increase heart rate and calorie burn without wearing out your joints or adding too much strain on your body. It also allows users to control their speed and motion, meaning they can adjust their intensity levels based on how hard they want to push themselves during their workout. In this way, people with bad knees can still experience a challenging yet safe weight-loss program when using an elliptical machine.

Strength Training

Strength training is a great way to build muscle, increase bone density, and lose weight, even when you have bad knees. It is important to understand how to limit the impact on your knees while still providing a challenging workout for your entire body.

Let’s explore the best exercises for weight loss with bad knees:

Bodyweight exercises

Bodyweight exercises are any exercise that does not require weights or machines to complete. This includes exercises such as squats, push-ups, lunges, planks and variations of these exercises. Bodyweight exercises are great for those with bad knees because they allow you to control the intensity and range of motion. Plus, they can be done anywhere without needing access to any equipment.

It is important to practice proper form when completing bodyweight exercises in order to get the most out of them and protect your joints. Make sure you keep your core tight throughout the exercise and make sure you don’t put too much pressure on your knees by avoiding full range of motion or excessive repetitions. Bodyweight exercises are a great way to build strength but may not provide enough resistance for weight loss goals. To maximize weight loss results, consider combining bodyweight moves with strength training using free weights or resistance bands.

Resistance bands

Resistance bands are an effective and low-impact way to strength train when you have bad knees. Resistance bands provide the same tension as traditional weights, but don’t require additional range of motion from your joint. This makes them a good choice for people with bad knees who don’t want to strain their joints further when exercising.

You can easily use resistance bands for almost any type of exercise – squats, rows, presses, bicep curls – that you can do with dumbbells or barbells. This makes them a great tool in your workout routine if you need to replace weights due to knee issues. They also come in a wide range of resistances so you can customize your workouts depending on your fitness level or end goal!

Resistance bands are relatively inexpensive and come in handy when traveling so they’re always a great addition to your home gym setup!

Free weights

Free weights are a form of strength training that involves the use of weights, such as dumbbells and barbells, instead of machines. This type of strength training is often used to develop muscle size and strength. Unlike machines, free weights allow for a greater range of motion and more balanced muscular development because they mimic the natural motion patterns used in daily activities.

Also, when done properly, free weights can help reduce joint pain caused by arthritis or injury. Strengthening muscles around a joint can reduce the tension on that joint, which can lead to less pain or stiffness. Since free weights are typically used in an unbalanced way, they naturally work deep stabilizing muscles to reduce knee pain and increase agility.

Finally, using free weights instead of machines allows you to target specific muscles with each movement for better results.

Core Work

Core work is a great way to lose weight and improve your overall health, even if you have bad knees. Core exercises will strengthen your abdominals and back muscles, which can help you to maintain good posture and protect your joints from further injury. Plus, core exercises don’t require a lot of movement, which makes them ideal for anyone with bad knees.

Let’s explore some of the best core exercises for weight loss with bad knees:


Planks are a great low-impact exercise for those suffering from bad knees. This type of core workout challenges your abdominal muscles and can help improve your core strength, which can be beneficial in weight loss.

To do a plank, get into the position that looks similar to a push up but with arms extended and elbows bent perpendicular to the ground. Engage your abdominals and try to keep the body in this form for 30 seconds to 1 minute or longer. You can also adjust the intensity level by stretching out your arms or legs further apart and bringing your body closer to the ground.

To make it even more challenging, add on weights such as dumbbells or short chains wrapped around the wrists for an added benefit of resistance training!


Bridges (also known as hip thrusts) are a great exercise for strengthening the posterior chain (glutes, hips, and hamstrings) while also firing up the core. Bridges are an isometric exercise so they do not involve any movement of the legs which makes them great for those with knee issues who are looking to build strength.

To perform bridges, begin by laying flat on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. With your arms extended out towards your sides, press firmly in to your feet and lift your hips up off the ground until you create a straight line from shoulders to knees. Hold here for a few seconds before slowly returning to starting position. Make sure to keep tension in the glutes throughout this whole motion—squeezing them during both phases will give maximum benefit!

Bird Dogs

Bird Dogs are a classic core exercise that is often used in the fitness world to help build strength in the lower back and abdominal muscles. This exercise is also beneficial for people with bad knees as it doesn’t put too much pressure on them.

This exercise involves balancing on your hands and knees and lifting one arm and the opposite leg off the ground while keeping your spine straight, then repeating this with the other arm and leg. It is important to note that this should be done slowly, preferably for no more than two minutes at a time in order to avoid straining your muscles or injuring your knees.

Bird Dogs are an effective way to work out your core and practice balance, which can help you reach weight loss goals without putting too much stress on your body.


Cool-down exercises are an important part of any workout, especially if you have bad knees. Cool-down exercises help your body recover from an intense workout and can help to reduce any risk of injury.

Let’s explore the best cool-down exercises for those with bad knees and how they can help you with your weight loss goals.

Static stretches

Static stretching involves holding the stretch for a period of time and helps to increase flexibility. This type of stretching is ideal for people with bad knees, because it does not involve any bouncing or jerky motion. Static stretches also help to improve range of motion and reduce the risk for injury, as well as decrease muscle soreness after a workout.

For best results, you should hold each static stretch for at least ten seconds and no longer than 1 minute. Examples of static stretches include:

  • Calf stretches
  • Hamstring stretches
  • Shoulder rotations
  • Quadriceps stretches

If your knee pain persists after stretching, it is important to talk to a doctor before returning to physical activity in order to determine the cause of your pain.

Foam rolling

Foam rolling is an essential form of cool-down for people with bad knees when it comes to weight loss. This simple technique can help the body’s muscles relax and reduce any tension. It is an incredibly cheap, easy and safe way to massage the muscles and improve flexibility.

Foam rolling allows for increased circulation, bringing oxygenated blood to sore areas which can reduce pain or strain in just a short amount of time. Additionally, it helps prevent injury and aids in recovery as it moves lactic acid from the body’s muscles at a much faster rate than traditional stretching. As an added bonus, foam rolling helps improve postural awareness and core stability making it beneficial even during workouts that don’t involve weight loss or bad knees specifically.

FAQs about: Best Workout For Weight Loss With Bad Knees

Q1: What is the best workout for weight loss with bad knees?

A1: Low-impact exercises such as swimming, Pilates, and yoga are ideal for those with bad knees who want to lose weight. These exercises involve minimal stress on the joints, while still providing a great full-body workout.

Q2: Are there any exercises I should avoid with bad knees?

A2: Running, jumping, and high-impact sports may be too stressful for those with bad knees. It’s best to speak to a doctor or physical therapist to determine what exercises are best for you.

Q3: What other tips can I follow to help with weight loss and bad knees?

A3: Eating a healthy, balanced diet and getting enough sleep can help with weight loss. Additionally, using a knee brace to provide extra support while exercising can help minimize strain on the knees.

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