Bad Knees? Try This 10-Minute Low-Impact Workout

by Lauren Sesselmann

A while back, I suffered from a knee injury that kept me from doing a lot of my usual jumping and running, but I didn’t stop working out while I was recovering. Instead, I switched from high-impact exercises that tended to aggravate my knees to low-impact moves—these still gave me a great workout but were more forgiving on my joints.

Here is my favorite low-impact circuit. To get a great 10-minute workout, perform each of these 5 exercises for 30 seconds for a total of 4 sets (or do as many as you can with good form).

Front Kick with Backward Lunge

  • Start with your right knee in front of you at hip level.
  • Kick straight out in front of you.
  • As you bring your leg back, go straight into a reverse lunge. Perform for 30 seconds—15 seconds on each leg.
  • Try to do as many reps as you can.

Curtsy Lunge with Sidekick

  • Take your right leg and bring it behind your left leg, then squat into a curtsy lunge.
  • As you come out of the curtsy, perform a sidekick by extending your leg straight out to your side.
  • Do as many reps as you can in 15 seconds, then switch to the other side and repeat.

Plank Up-Downs

  • Start on your elbows in a plank position. Your body should make a straight line from head to toe.
  • Keeping your abs tight and trying not to sway your hips too much, go up on one arm at a time into a full plank (no bend in your elbows).
  • Then, one arm at a time, go back down onto your elbows. Perform this for as many reps as you can in 30 seconds.

Triceps Dip with Leg Extension

  • Sit on a mat with your feet out in front of you and shoulder-width apart, knees bent, hands behind you with fingers facing toward your back and elbows slightly bent.
  • Pick your hips up off the ground so you’re in a tabletop position.
  • While your left leg stays on the ground with the knee bent, extend your right leg out in front of you. This is where you start the exercise.
  • With your abs engaged, go down into a triceps dip while keeping your leg extended.
  • Perform as many dips as you can in 15 seconds, then switch your legs and perform for 15 more seconds.


  • Start by lying on your stomach with your legs and arms extended on the ground.
  • Using your arms, you will make the letters Y, T and W. Here’s how:
    • With your hands in the “thumbs up” position, slightly raise and squeeze your arms and legs off the ground while making the letter “Y” above your head. Bring your arms and legs back down.
    • Next, as you squeeze and raise your arms and legs, lift your arms out to the side at 90 degrees, making the letter “T.” Return to the start.
    • Finally, raise your arms and legs again while squeezing your shoulders and glutes. Make an upside-down “W,” with your arms raised in line with your hips.
    • Perform all 3 of these letters in a fluid motion for 30 seconds each.

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