Don’t let tender joints get in the way of a great workout. It’s easy to eschew any physical activity when you have knee pain, especially when certain exercises can potentially aggravate the area.
We wouldn’t recommend you to push through any pain in order to exercise – you should always listen to what your body’s telling you – but there’s usually no reason to cut it out completely.
Whether you’re dealing with a cartilage or ligament tear or osteoarthritic knees, the idea that aching joints equals no exercise is a total myth. Keep knee pain to a minimum with these knee-strengthening functional moves.
3 FUNCTIONAL EXERCISES FOR KNEE PAIN
1. Glute bridge
Sitting down all day can switch muscles off. Glute bridges are a great way to activate them again – and they’re also a brilliant exercise to reduce knee pain, thanks to the lower impact nature on your joints. Grab a mat and do three sets of 10:
- Lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor, knees bent and pointing to the ceiling. Pop a towel or small pillow under your head for extra support and comfort.
- With your hips, knees and feet in a straight line and your arms relaxed by your side, activate your glute (butt) muscles and slowly raise your hips towards the ceiling.
- Lift your hips as high as you can without forcing – you shouldn’t feel any back pain.
- Pause before lowering your hips back to the starting position with control.
2. Squat on a bosu
Squats are often the first move abandoned when knees begin to twinge. But practicing the move with proper form can build strength, stability and mobility in your joints. Try, for example, slow, controlled squats on a bosu. Here’s how to perform them correctly and safely:
- Carefully step on the bosu and place your fee hip-width apart.
- Find balance and focus on a point somewhere in front of you on the height of your eyesight.
- Keep your body tight with your arms straight out in front of you.
- Focus on the point in front of you, breathe in and slowly bend at your hips as you push your butt back. Your knees should bend just after your hips go back.
- With your chest and shoulders raised, squat down.
- Once you reach the squat position, drive through your heels and breathe out, pushing through your knees and glutes to make your way back to the starting position.
3. Sideways hip abduction
As well as boosting the strength and mobility in our often-forgotten leg muscles (not to mention sculpting the butt), hip abduction exercises can help prevent and even treat knee pain. Thanks to its functional, no-equipment nature, you can perform this exercise anywhere. This is how to do it:
- Lie on your right side and bent your right (bottom) knee to provide balance. Prop a towel or cushion under you head for support.
- Straighten your left (upper) knee by activating the muscles in the top of your thigh.
- Flex your left foot, with your toes facing forward and slowly raise your leg towards the ceiling. Don’t lift it higher than the line of your body.
- Pause before lowering your left leg back down with control.
- Do 10 reps before switching sides and repeating the set.
If you’re struggling with enhancing your strength and endurance due to knee pain, our expert personal trainers can work with you to create a customized fitness program to help prevent and manage injuries. Read more about our focused training approach and sign up for a free trial to see how we can help you develop your fitness naturally and without pain.