Finding time to exercise can sometimes feel as challenging as the routines themselves. That's why some people look for workouts that offer the most bang for their buck. Full-body routines such as burpees and leg moves such as squats and lunges help you burn maximum calories while working out those muscles.
But doing those types of exercises when your knees are not in the best condition is simply not wise. You can do further damage to a pre-existing injury. While it's true that burpees, squats and lunges aren't meant to feel like a walk in the park, there's a difference between "I am going to be so freaking sore tomorrow," and "this is making my knees feel like someone's trying to pry them off with a crowbar."
The answer isn't to avoid knee exercises, however. According to WebMD, strengthening the muscles that support your knee and keeping them flexible is the best way to prevent additional injuries. There are some exercises you can do to get your knees ready for more challenging moves. The key is to start slowly and build up your strength over time.
Here are a few knee exercises that WebMD recommends. As with any exercise routine, talk to your doctor first to determine whether they work for you. And if you feel any sharp pain, stop immediately and call that doc again. No exercise, regardless of how easy or difficult, should cause pain or make it worse.
When your knees are not in the best physical condition, WebMD recommends starting with an easy strengthening exercise for your quadriceps — the muscles in the front of the thigh. This move puts little to no strain on the knee. Lie on your back on mat. Bend one knee and place your foot flat on the floor. Keep the other leg straight and raise it to the height of the opposite knee. Repeat 10 to 15 times for three sets. Don't forget to do the other leg!
Your hamstrings are the muscles along the back of your thigh and when they tighten up they can make even walking briskly feel like agony. Lie flat on your stomach. Slowly bring your heels as close to your buttocks as you can, and hold that position. Don't fret if you can't press your heel to your butt! You should not feel pain when doing this exercise. In fact, it may be easier to do this exercise standing while holding onto a chair. Do three sets of 15.
WebMD explains that wall squats are “closed chain” exercises — advanced strengthening moves that keep your feet on the floor. Stand with your back against a wall, your feet about shoulder-width apart. Slowly bend your knees, keeping your back and pelvis against the wall. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds. Don’t bend too deeply or you could injure your knee. If you feel pressure or discomfort in your knees, adjust your position. Repeat the exercise, and try to hold the sit position a few seconds longer each time.
Stand facing the back of a sturdy chair. Slowly raise your heels as high as you can, then lower. Do three sets of 10 to 15.
Click here for all the knee exercises in WebMD's slideshow.