If you’ve ever dealt with knee pain, you know how frustrating it can be. You have to plan your workouts around what moves make it flare up (spoiler alert: a lot of them) and tread lightly (literally) when it comes to high-impact exercise. It’s stubborn, annoying, and painful, which is why we’re bringing you this low-impact workout created by Wendy Cao Noakes, DPT, a physical therapist, NSCA-certified strength and conditioning coach, and founder of GetFitt.Ed.

The 20-minute routine is designed to mitigate knee pain by strengthening three key areas: core, hamstrings, and glutes. “These muscles help you maintain proper alignment in your pelvis, hips, and knees, which will decrease abnormal stresses to the knee,” Dr. Noakes explained. Essentially, strengthening these muscles helps prevent your knee from excessively rotating and moving from side to side, movements that aren’t as comfortable for the joint. “The muscles are also used to absorb shock with every step you take,” Dr. Noakes added.

Before you get started: there are squats involved, but don’t let them scare you off. “People usually avoid squats when they have knee pain, but if you do them with the right form and proper modification, they should not hurt,” Dr. Noakes said. “Avoiding squats will just make you weaker and actually cause more knee pain.”

The routine ahead is an EMOM workout, which stands for “every minute on the minute,” meaning that you’re trying to complete the designated reps for each exercise in 60 seconds or less. (If you finish early, you get to rest!) Remember to maintain proper form the whole time. If you’re ready, let’s get started!

20-Minute EMOM Workout For Bad Knees

Equipment needed: Mini resistance band, medium weight (dumbbell, kettlebell, or weight substitutes), and a chair or bench

Directions: Start with these dynamic bodyweight moves to warm up. (Do high knees, butt kicks, and skips at a walking pace.) Then, set a timer to go off every minute for 20 minutes and start the workout. Complete the designated reps for each exercise, moving on to the next exercise when the timer goes off. If you finish the reps before the minute ends, use the time to rest. If you need additional rest, feel free to take it. When you finish the last exercise, go back to the start of the circuit and repeat. Do as many rounds as you can in 20 minutes, maintaining proper form. Cool down with a short walk and foam rolling the piriformis muscle in each glute, which runs laterally from the back of your pelvis to your upper thigh.

Exercise Reps
Clamshell with resistance band 16 reps on each side
Deadlift 10 reps
Dead bug 16 reps
Sit squat 10 reps





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