When you exercise with a knee injury or any type of injury, it can be really problematic. It's important to consult your GP before performing any exercise. You don't want to make things any worse, after all. Knee injuries aren’t uncommon and can be caused by any number of things, including falling, over-exercising or having poor technique.


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  1. Upper body exercises
  2. Low impact cardio
  3. Consulting a doctor

Upper Body Exercises

Person performing bicep curls

When you have a knee injury, it doesn't necessarily mean that you can't train. In fact, there are some exercises that will help with the healing process, strengthening the muscles and ligaments around your knee.

But the first port of call for doing exercise with a knee injury are moves that don't involve them at all. If your knee injury is severe but you don't want to stop working out, focus on your arms and upper body for a while. A few ideas include seated bench press, tricep pushdowns, lat pulldowns and bicep curls. All of these are effective exercises that don't put any pressure on your knees.

Alternatively, you could use free weights including kettlebells, dumbbells and barbells to complete: hammer curls, overhead press, shoulder press and chest press. Of course, if at any point you feel discomfort or straining on your knee, you should stop and rest.

Low Impact Cardio

Person doing side leg raise

You're not just limited to weight training when you have a knee injury, of course. There are several ways to get some good cardio exercise. Of course, treadmills and running should be avoided until you're fully recovered. But you could try an elliptical cross trainer, rowing machine or an exercise bike, particularly a recumbent bike. These pieces of equipment will help to strengthen your core without putting pressure on your knees.

Some exercises that target the hamstrings and pelvic muscle group can strengthen your knees without asserting unnecessary stress. These include lying leg raises, where the leg is elevated vertically from a laying horizontal position. Hamstring curls can also help to support the knees.

Swimming is possibly one of the best exercises for a knee injury. It is low impact and full-body, helping to strengthen your core, arms and other leg muscles, too. Try out a variety of strokes, including breaststroke, butterfly, freestyle and backstroke. And don’t forget about treading water - this is a really easy and effective way to increase your heart rate and provides a great HIIT workout.

Consulting a Doctor

Person swimming

We've said it before and we'll say it again: if you have a knee injury, talk to your doctor. Don't run before you can walk, and make sure that you aren't causing even more damage than you've sustained already.

Once some progress has been made and time has passed, it may also be wise to perform some low impact, full body exercises to really ensure the knee is in a good position and can be targeted directly again.


man doing lunges

Before beginning any exercise or nutrition program, consult your physician, doctor or other professional. This is especially important for individuals over the age of 35 or persons with pre-existing health problems. Exercise.co.uk assumes no responsibility for personal injury or property damage sustained using our advice.

If you experience dizziness, nausea, chest pain, or any other abnormal symptoms, stop the workout at once and consult a physician or doctor immediately.