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Leg Workout: Try These Lower Body Modifications for Knee Pain

Trainer Janine George demonstrates three leg exercise modifications if you suffer from knee pain.


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a person stretching their legs while holding weights

Hands up if lockdown running has unleashed wrath upon your knees these past couple of years? When we run, up to six times of our body weight is carried through our joints, so it’s not a huge surprise that your joints are a little sore. This strain on knees can also result in pain when performing other exercises, such as squats and lunges, so it’s time to take your aches seriously. 

Luckily, there are modifications you can do to make life easier for your joints, according to fitness trainer Janine George. “It’s important to build strength in the supporting muscles and increase stability through the joint itself. You can do this by performing functional exercises,” she says. However, form is key. Here, Janine demonstrates how to maintain proper alignment while performing three low-impact moves that will strengthen your lower body – so you can say au revoir to aches and pains. 


a person stretching their legs while holding weights
  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold a dumbbell in each hand. 
  2. Raise your right knee so that it comes as close to your chest as possible. Keep your right foot flexed so that your toes are pointing upwards. 
  3. Keep your chest lifted and shoulders back while grounding through your left foot. 
  4. Replace your right foot back to the ground and repeat on the left side as though you are marching.  


a person stretching their legs while holding weights
  1. Take your left leg behind you with your toes pointing forward. If you have weights, hold them in either hand.
  2. Bend both legs so that your left knee touches the floor (or as close to the ground as possible) and your right knee comes to a right angle position. Make sure that your right knee stays behind your right foot’s toes.
  3. Keep your chest open and hips facing forward so you aren’t twisting through the pelvis. 


a person stretching their legs while holding weights
  1. Take your legs into a wide sumo position with your toes slightly turned out. 
  2. If you have one dumbbell, hold it in both hands at chest height. 
  3. Bend your knees slightly so that you lower down into a shallow squat. Don’t lower down too far in order to protect you knees. 
  4. Push through your heels to return to the standing position. 

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This post originally appeared on Stylist and was published January 22, 2021. This article is republished here with permission.

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