What Exercises Are Good for People with Bad Knees?
First, realize how often “bad knees” are indicative of a problem elsewhere. Picture a factory with three employees who need to perform different tasks in order for the factory to run efficiently. If two of the employees neglect their job duties, the remaining employee has to perform tasks that aren’t in the original job description. This means the factory would not run as efficiently as possible and, eventually, the overworked employee would complain to management. If only the other two employees would buckle down, the problem would be solved.
In the factory of the human musculoskeletal system, the employees can be considered the hip, knee and ankle. In the case of bad knees, the hips and ankles may lack strength and mobility. The muscles in the feet and core may also not be functioning properly. If any element in that chain is off, your knees may suffer. So do these two exercises to put everybody to work.
Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift
Stand on your left foot with the left knee slightly bent. Keeping your hips level, bend forward as far as you can while maintaining a straight line from head to your heel. Do as many repetitions as possible without letting your knee cave inward, then switch sides. Do two to three sets.
Stand on the edge of a step, your weight in the ball of one foot. Let your heel sink down and pause for a second straight-legged. Then, keeping your heel down and making sure your knee doesn’t cave inward, do a mini squat by bending your knee and pushing your hips back. Repeat on the other side for 12 to 20 reps for two to three sets.
About the Expert
Scott Lynn, PhD, associate professor of kinesiology at California State University in Fullerton, Calif.