A 15-Minute Lower-Body Workout for Bad Knees

By , Jessica Smith, Certified Personal Trainer
Squats and lunges are two of my favorite classic moves to incorporate into lower-body workouts because they really work! However,as effective as they are, these particular moves can cause knee pain for a lot of people. The good news is that you can still effectively target the lower body with these alternative exercises that won’t strain your joints. This full-length, low-impact workout doesn’t include a single squat or lunge and is designed to be gentle on the joints but tough on your hips, thighs and glutes! 
All you’ll need is a sturdy chair for this routine, and--if you’d like to add more intensity--a set of light dumbbells.
Please note: If you are working with a specific knee injury, be sure to get your doctor and/or physical therapist's approval before attempting this workout. If you suffer from regular knee, hip or other joint pain, be sure to consult a professional for an expert diagnosis.

Like this workout? Be sure to check out our knee-friendly "Walk On" 3-DVD set, available now on DVD.
Leave me a comment below and let me know which move you felt the most!
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About the Author
As someone who struggled to lose weight for years, Jessica found that the key to her own 40-pound weight loss was making small, healthy lifestyle changes that led to big, lasting results. Now, as a certified wellcoach, fitness instructor and personal trainer, she has spent the last 15 years helping students and clients reach their goals in New York City, Los Angeles and Miami, and now reaches millions online through her YouTube Channel and home exercise DVD series. Please visit jessicasmithtv.com/shop to learn more about her fun, results driven programs for all levels of exercisers.

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ALABAMASUSAN17 10/14/2017
I need this! Thank you! Report
JUNETTA2002 7/20/2017
Good information for someone with minor bad knee but mine really hurts to do things like this Report
DJ4HEALTH 6/9/2017
This is only good if you don't do it so long, with bad knees you have to do it real slowly or it will hurt bad. Report
_LINDA 6/4/2017
Love Jessica Smith's workouts!! Report
KATHYJO56 3/28/2017
I have bad knees and this exercise does help Report
SHAUNAI1 3/21/2017
What an excellent workout. My knees are a problem with lunges. This looks like a great alternative. Thank you. Report
Another great Jessica Smith workout! Report
Good workout, though I needed to modify some moves (body weight on flat hands hurts wrists, so I do it on fists), and I added several minutes of stretching for hamstrings, glutes, quads, inner thigh, abs. And I pause to drink water during the workouts. Report
How do I log this workout on my fitness tracker? Report
Love the little Frenchie doing yoga stretches at the beginning. :-) Even the dog exercises!
Thank you Jessica!! This is the workout I've been looking for.
Wow, great workout. Wish I'd found it earlier. Report
This seems a lot easier than the squats and lunges that almost make me cry when I do them. Report
Doctor just told me that due to the bone structure of my hips/pelvis, I will probably never be able to do squats...I can do some mean leg lifts though! So I am glad to have found a nice alternative - great workout. Report
I am an adult ice skater who recently strained my knee. I am looking for alternatives to squats and lunges to help with my rehabilitation. This workout is a perfect fit and I will be using it regularly! Report
When you have had a knee replacement like I have had getting up and down off of the floor is a feet in itself. I have learned to do a wide range of exercising without using the floor. Report
I workout with Jessica Smith every week on her YT channel. All of her workouts are awesome. She sometimes makes workouts by viewers suggestion and such. All of her walking videos are fun. Her fusion workouts are the best. Report
I have some knee troubles and am always looking for a workout that will cause no damage. This one left me feeling more loose without hurting. Thank you! Report
"Bad knees" covers a pretty broad range of conditions. I have difficulty with lunges and squats, but I can still run. Report
I think this is a great workout-I'm due for a knee replacement on one side and I know I need to build my quads and any other surrounding muscles as best I can prior to surgery. No matter what you do, it hurts a bit, but all the research I've done, states that even with arthritis, exercising is key and can't hurt anything more than it already is. That being said, I'd definitely use a chair for balance with a bad knee. Report
I'm sorry but she has no idea what it is like to have bad knees. Standing, walking in place, and any repetitive motion hurts. This is not a workout for a person with bad knees. Report
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