Is knee pain disrupting your exercise routine or blocking you from returning to fitness? While workouts like CrossFit or bootcamp are excellent ways to burn fat and increase muscular endurance and strength, they also put increased pressure on the knees. The long-term effects of this added pressure can lead to worn out cartilage, overuse injuries and even knee replacements down the road. Here are three common strengthening exercises that can help people with knee trouble perform exercises without pain.

Try a low-impact approach to your cardio routine such as static cardio (walking) or low-impact circuit intervals.  Before exercise, roll out muscles (with foam roller) for at least 30 seconds, specifically the feet, calves, quadriceps, hamstrings and iliotobial band (a tendon running along the outer hip and leg).

1) Hip Bridge

Squats can cause discomfort in the knee joint.  Instead of squats, try a hip bridge.

Lie on your back, bend your knees, feet flat on the floor and hip-width apart. Put your weight in your heels and exhale as you send your hips up, squeezing your glutes. Slowly lower your hips and repeat.

*Add a yoga block in between the knees to focus on proper knee tracking. This exercise builds muscle, increases flexibility and can be incorporated into any routine.

2) Clamshells

Forward lunges may cause the knee to shift out of alignment if you have instability in the muscles that surround it. An alternative exercise is Clamshells. These can reduce low back pain by strengthening the core and lower back muscles.

Lying on one side, hips stacked, with bent knees. Rotate the top leg open without letting the hip fall back, slowly close the leg and repeat

3) Plank Jacks

Instead of jumping jacks, try plank jacks, which offer the added benefit of helping to strengthen your core and lower back.

Start in a plank position on the hands or the elbows. Jump the feet out as wide as possible, being sure to keep the core stable, and then jump the feet in.

An added bonus is that these exercises serve as a great body-toning workout, which can be done just about anywhere. Start incorporating these alternative exercises to help you get the RESULTS you want.

Robyn provides in home customized personal training and nutrition counseling services in the Center City, Philadelphia area. She specializes in weight loss/gain, body sculpting, injury prevention, sports specific training ,overall conditioning and lifestyle improvement.  For more information, questions or comments please visit

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