Molly McNamee | How To Workout With Bad Knees
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How To Workout With Bad Knees

Over the past couple years, my ‘knee-friendly’ MFit workout videos have gotten extremely popular. Everyday I work with clients who complain about achy knees or a sharp pain in their kneecap. It’s becoming clearer to me that this is a big issue for many people.

If your knees are bothering you, exercise can be so uncomfortable. But it’s not impossible. In fact, exercising the right way can actually fix your knees!

A corrective exercise workout routine paired with low impact cardio will get your moving again. Follow these steps to create a safe and productive routine:

1. Stretching & Foam Rolling

These two things should be a daily event for you. If you are recovering from a knee injury or surgery, post physical therapy, I recommend doing active stretches to avoid putting too much strain on your knees. Things like leg swings and a traveling quad stretch would be great for you. If you just have knee pain and are not sure why, you need to stretch your quads and calves a lot. Tight quads (front of the thigh) and calves (back of the lower leg) are the number one creator of knee pain. Static stretches for these muscles groups are good to do, but foam rolling will be the game changer. Foam rolling and other self-myofascial release techniques will break apart the knots in your legs. When those knots in your legs are touching a nerve, knee pain happens. And that is a more common occurrence than you would think, so breaking apart these knots is very important. Take about five minutes to slowly roll out your muscles.

2. Low Impact Cardio

Many people are scared to do cardio when their knees are bothering them. Not all cardio is scary! I have dozens of low impact cardio routines on the MFit YouTube channel and the MFit Membership. These workouts can be done at home without hurting your knees. Alternatively you can try swimming, biking, or using the elliptical. Those three things eliminate any pounding on the joints that you may feel in other standard forms of cardio. It is important to continue to do cardio because gaining weight can cause more discomfort in the knees.

3. Weight Lifting

If you are fresh out of physical therapy from a knee injury, stick with upper body workouts. There is a lot you can do seated that will get your muscles working again but keep you off your feet until your doctor gives you the go-ahead. I have had clients with broken ankles workout before, so trust me, it is possible! If you suffer from knee pain without any injury, use weight lifting to improve your muscle imbalances. Most people I meet with knee pain simply need to stretch out their quads and calves, as I mentioned before, and strengthen their glutes and hamstrings. The MFit Peach Plan is the perfect program for this situation. The workouts teach you how to engage your butt muscles if you quads/knees tend to dominate your leg workouts.

4. Slow & Steady

Finally, I just want to mention that if you are recovering from a knee injury or struggling with knee pain, it is okay to slow down. Ease back into exercise with the tips above and don’t worry about making too much progress right now. Your focus should be on getting better and fixing your muscle imbalances. All other goals should take a back seat for the time being.