What’s The Best Exercise Equipment For Bad Knees?

If you’re suffering from bad knees, you are probably well aware of the pain associated with high-impact activities. Whether you have an old knee injury, arthritis, and/or are recovering from knee surgery, participating in activities like jumping and running can be counterproductive or even cause more damage to the knee joint.

Luckily, there are tons of low-impact options for keeping you active and strong without sacrificing your knees. Today, we will dive into the best exercise equipment for arthritis or bad knees.

Here are some of the best low-impact options for anyone suffering from bad knees or wanting to prevent injury to the knee joints.

Rowing Machine

There is a wide range of technology available these days for rowing. Yet, the basics still apply. You get set-up by sitting on a bench seat and placing your feet in straps in front of you. Then, you grab the rowing bar or handles in front of you. Now, you’re ready to begin the rhythmic motion of bending the knees and then pulling back with the arms as you push through the feet. Older machines will require that you manually set the resistance, while newer ones are programmable.

Rowing is considered low-impact on the joints and has excellent cardiovascular benefits. Plus, it’s safe for anyone with balance issues, and it works muscles in the mid-back that aren’t traditionally targeted with other cardio machines. It is a fantastic option for bad knees as long as you can tolerate repetitive bending of the knees.


An elliptical machine is a good alternative to running or walking on a treadmill while still exercising in an upright position. The rhythmic motion of an elliptical is low-impact on the entire body while still providing an excellent strength and cardio workout. However, your knee will still need to be able to tolerate full weight-bearing loads.

Most people consider the motion required on an elliptical a cross between biking and running that is knee-friendly. Most ellipticals allow you to choose a pre-programmed workout that fits your fitness needs.

Exercise Bike

A stationary bike is an excellent low-impact option. Plus, different options can be utilized depending on your preferences. A recumbent bike that you use sitting in a comfortable reclined position is a great bike for beginners that need extra core or balance support. Alternatively, an upright bike looks more like a traditional road or mountain bike. The position you are in on this type of bike requires the core and upper body to be more involved. Both put minimal stress on the joints of the lower body.

If you have limited knee flexibility or are recovering from surgery, you may be surprised to find that the upright bike is more comfortable to ride than the recumbent bike. Most bikes on the market and at gyms will allow you to choose a workout program for an allotted amount of time. Ultimately, select the option that feels best to you.

Weight Training

Keeping the muscles around the knees strong is essential for optimal knee health and preventing unnecessary knee damage progression. Additionally, it has been found that a strong core and hips can also boost overall knee health. Thus, a regular low impact weight training regime that focuses on high repetitions and low weight is ideal. Generally, a well-balanced routine might include options like the leg press, leg curls, mini-squats, standing hip abduction, hip adduction, and your favorite core exercises.

The key to choosing the best exercise equipment for bad knees is using your symptoms as a gauge. If a particular exercise causes increased pain, feels unstable, or just off–it’s best to try other options that keep your knees comfortable. T

There is no need to force any type of exercise that doesn’t feel right. The four options above are all great ones to try for both your general health and knee health. Ideally, it’s best to mix it up to keep it exciting and engaging while working toward your fitness goals.

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