Ask the Expert: What Is the Best Workout for Those With Bad Knees?

The Short Answer:

“Bad knees” is a broad term, but in general, the more you can work your knees without jarring them, the stronger they will become and the less pain you will feel. When it comes to your workouts, that usually means eliminating plyometric (i.e., jumping) exercises, and performing non-plyometric exercises with better form (e.g., sitting back into your squatinstead of pushing your knees forward).

Of course, that advice assumes that your knees aren’t too far gone. Before you continue to exercise, consult your doctor to make sure that your knees are healthy enough for vigorous physical activity. If he or she gives you rehab exercises, do them. If you’re referred to a physical therapist, work with that person. Then, when you’re ready, return to your regularly scheduled workouts, following the advice of your physical therapist. If that activity happens to be a Beachbody program, you’ll find additional advice below.

The Long Answer:

If your knees ache, you’re not alone. Knee pain affects around 18 percent of adults in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Here’s a five-step rehabilitation plan to help you banish it for good.

Step 1 – Talk to your doctor. Some doctors, whether through laziness or fear of liability, shell out advice akin to “if it hurts, don’t do it.” But oftentimes, if you don’t work through it, the situation not only gets worse, but also your progress toward your fitness goals can be derailed.

Regardless of your doc’s optimism, your rehabilitation begins with a diagnosis. That’s why you need a doctor. Whether your knee pain is debilitating or just nagging, it’s well worth your time to find out exactly what is going on. The alternative solution is trial and error—and that can make your knees worse.

Step 2 – Do your rehab. No matter what your problem is, your doctor will recommend some physical therapy (PT). Like doctors, some PTs are better than others, but do what they say regardless. Even archaic protocols shouldn’t hurt you. A good PT will just push you harder and take you further. Either way, you must do your PT before moving on. I know, it’s boring (everyone says this), but if you’re serious about fixing your knee issues, you need to take this step seriously. It’s the foundation for everything else!

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