Top 5 Best Exercise Machines For Bad Knees In 2024

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Written By Kathy Brewer

I am a certified personal trainer, and I take pride in helping people achieve their fitness goals through strength training, cardio, and nutrition. 





We all know how difficult it can be to find a suitable exercise machine for our personal needs, especially if you have bad knees.

If you have sore knees, it may be easy to convince yourself not to exercise, especially if you don’t know what equipment to use or what movements to perform to avoid pain.

The best solution for those with bad knees or any other joint issue is to get an exercise machine that offers a wide range of motion, so you’re not putting unnecessary stress on your joints when doing daily activities.

This post will guide you to choose the best exercise equipment for knee pain.

But let’s first understand the factors you should consider while choosing an exercise machine for bad knees.

Factors To Consider While Choosing Exercise Equipment for Bad Knees

Regarding exercise machines, there is no one-size-fits-all answer for painful knees. Instead, you must focus on a few crucial considerations to identify the optimal alternative.

You should be able to discover workout equipment that works for you with some trial and error.

But let’s understand some obvious points that you should look for in your fitness journey 

1. Exercise Type

The type of exercise equipment you select will depend on your desired exercise.

If you are interested in cardiovascular exercise, elliptical and rowing machines may be a good option, as they give a low-impact workout for the complete body.

You may pick a machine with changeable resistance levels, such as a recumbent cycle to increase strength.

2. Knee Injury/ Pain Type

You must modify your workout according to the type of knee discomfort you experience. Consequently, it is crucial to evaluate the type of movement involved.

It is commonly claimed that up-down movements can place more stress on the knees, while circular movements are significantly friendlier on the joints.

For this reason, elliptical machines and recumbent cycles are frequently recommended for individuals with knee issues. It is claimed that these exercises offer a smooth, low-impact action that will not aggravate current knee pain.

This is not always true. The repetitive circular motion might worsen irritation.

In addition to walking, physical therapists typically recommend shallow bodyweight lunges and squats.

3. Padding

Any experienced gym-goer knows the importance of padding when exercising, but it is more important than dealing with delicate joints.

Therefore, when searching for workout equipment for bad knees, you should always choose those with ample padding.

Eventually, you don’t want to magnify your condition by overusing your joints.

Padding will reduce the impact of your workout, thereby protecting your knees while you remain active.

Consequently, select machines with ample padding to exercise without aggravating your pain. Your knees will appreciate it.

4. Flexibility

Flexibility is essential while searching for new knee-supporting exercise equipment. Different individuals have varying knee support needs, so what works for one person may not work for another.

By selecting an adjustable machine, you may modify the level of assistance to your needs, ensuring you always have the appropriate amount of assistance.

5. Grip

When it comes to exercising with bad knees, the grip can be crucial. Slips falls, and joint pain and inflammation can result from using the incorrect type of grip.

However, with the proper gym equipment, you can remain secure and comfortable while increasing strength and enhancing your conditioning.

You should look for machines that are not slippery and have a firm surface that is easy on the joints.

A good grip will help you maintain your balance and form when exercising and give the stability necessary to prevent future knee injuries.

5 Best Exercise Equipment That Can Be Used For Bad Knees 2024

1. Elliptical Machine

The elliptical is a dream come true for certain knee pain sufferers, particularly those recovering from knee injuries. This cardio machine with low impact gives good exercise with less joint stress.

Unless you have a terrible inflammation, the circular motion is pleasant on the knees, and the handles provide support and stability.

Niceday Elliptical Machine

In addition, elliptical machines often provide variable resistance settings, allowing you to tailor your workout to your fitness level.

The motion combines cycling and walking or running, with most thrust coming from the legs.

This training equipment is knee-friendly and provides a workout for your arms, which are the secondary benefit and support the major force of the action: the legs.

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2. Rowing Machine

The rower is another low-impact exercise equipment that offers cardio exercise and strength-building benefits.

Like the elliptical, this machine stimulates the lower and upper body without placing additional stress on the knees. The resistance on the machine may be adjusted to increase the difficulty for your strength and endurance.

You must sit on the movable seat and secure your feet to the pedals to use a rowing machine. The next step is to grab the handlebar at your feet.

Put your weight into your heels to elongate your legs, and at the same time, lengthen your arms and softly recline your chest.

As your legs begin to straighten, lean your torso back while you contract your abdominal muscles. Finish the arm exercise by drawing the row bar to your chest (base of the sternum).

To complete the activity, extend your arms while leaning forward slightly to let the bar cross over your knees, and then bend your knees to slide forward.

3. Stationary Bike

The stationary cycle is one of the ideal knee exercise machines for folks with a history of knee injuries and issues. In the majority of gyms, both recumbent and upright bicycles are available.

However, the recumbent bike is preferable for those who continue to have knee pain or discomfort (provided you have your doctor’s approval).

Both provide an excellent aerobic workout, but the upright stationary bike provides core-building advantages as it helps maintain body stability while pedaling.

exercise-Stationary Bike

The recumbent bike is the superior alternative for seeking a low-intensity workout.

Here are some of the reasons why you should opt for a recumbent cycle rather than the conventional cycle–

On a recumbent bicycle, the seat is spacious and well-cushioned, so you don’t have to worry about your knees taking a battering.

On a recumbent bike, the pedals are closer to the ground than a conventional cycle, making pedaling easier on the knees. You can alter the resistance level on a recumbent bike to tailor your workout to your body’s current capabilities.

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4. Stair Climber

The stair stepper is a blessing for those of us with knees.

Unlike other cardio equipment, the stair climber relies on a low-impact activity that is comfortable for the joints. And because the activity level can be adjusted, it’s a terrific method to exercise without placing too much strain on your knees.

Using a stair stepper is similar to performing a short lunge but without the added stress and balance problems.

Moreover, the stair stepper is a fantastic method for enhancing mobility and range of motion. By moving your legs in a variety of ways, you will keep your joints lubricated and flexible.

5. Vibration Plates

Vibration plates are gaining popularity, particularly among individuals with mobility difficulties. The vibrations in these gadgets are believed to promote blood flow and improve joint function.

All muscle groups benefit from using vibration plates.

vibration plates

The vibrations assist in muscle activation, resulting in a more intensive workout. Essentially, you may keep your muscles active without engaging in intense resistance training or cardiovascular exercise.

Therefore, vibration plates offer a low-impact exercise to aid those with knee problems.

The vibrations can assist in reducing inflammation and pain. Therefore, if your physician permits you, use yours to massage your hurting knees.

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What type of exercise equipment is ideal for knee pain?

Cardiovascular machines, such as exercise cycles, elliptical, and rowing machines, are beneficial for exercising with poor knees. In addition to resistance bands and free weights, resistance bands and weights also provide excellent exercises.

Which Is Better For Bad Knees: Treadmill Or Elliptical?

It is not necessarily true that one piece of equipment is better than another. It is more of personal preference and tolerances; whichever piece of equipment gives you the best workout with the least discomfort is ideal. If you absolutely must avoid impact exercise, elliptical trainers are preferable.

What Exercises Can I Perform If I have bad knees?

Low-impact exercise often best treats knee discomfort, injuries, or diseases. Walking, swimming, and light resistance training are excellent methods for strengthening the knee joint’s muscles, ligaments, and tendons.

Consult a qualified healthcare professional about your knee discomfort to identify the safe and good activity for you.

Which Exercises Should I Avoid If My Knees Are Ailing?

It is advised to avoid high-impact activities, such as plyometric workouts, leaping, and running, until your doctor gives you the all-clear.

Is Walking Good For Bad Knees?

Walking is a fantastic, low-impact activity for everyone, and it can be an excellent method to get moving if you have knee problems. However, you should consult your physician to ensure that walking for exercise is safe.

Final Words

Exercise is critical to knee pain management, but selecting the appropriate practices is crucial.

The elliptical, recumbent bike and stair climber are the best cardio devices for individuals with bad knees. In addition, vibration plates provide a low-impact exercise that can benefit individuals with knee pain.

Try these machines to remain active without aggravating your knee discomfort. And consult your doctor before commencing any new fitness regimen!

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