The knees are a joint that are easily (and often) beat-up. Whether it is just from life’s wear and tear, or a number of small injuries that have left you hobbling.

One bad injury can have you unable to use your legs in any impact type exercise. The question becomes…

How do I get my cardio on?

Depending on the knee injury, exercises like Squats, Deadlifts, Sprint, and Running are most likely out of the picture.

That does not leave us with a whole lot of exercises to deal with, said not me. You may be limited, but there are still a number of ways to get in your cardio.

Knee friendly aerobic cardio

Here are some good alternatives for the person that likes to go for long runs, or someone that is a long distance athlete.

1. Stationary Bike/Road Bike

The name of the game when working around knee injuries is sticking to exercises that are low impact and don’t place a lot of shear force on the knee. One great exercise that is low impact/no impact and creates very little shear force is biking.

For most looking to get their cardio fix in, biking will scratch that itch.

2. Treadmill Walking/ Walking

Walking is also a low impact exercise with very little stress placed on the knees. The best place to walk is a place that has slight changes in elevation.

Too great of a decline or incline can lead to you putting a lot of shear force on the knee.

The Treadmill is an OK option (I say OK because who really wants to be stuck inside walking on the rubber road to nowhere). The great thing with the Treadmill is you can control the grade of the terrain you are walking on by just the press of a button.

3. Swimming

cardio for people with knee injuries_4If you are looking for an exercise that has no impact and no forces placed on the knee, then find yourself the closest body of water and make friends, for you might find this cool drink of water to be a perfect match.

4. Knee friendly anaerobic cardio

These exercises will be a great option if you are looking to lose weight or you enjoy the high intensity training over conventional slow pace cardio.

Ropes and Med ball circuits

If your gym has heavy ropes and/or Med Balls available for use, then this is a great way to get in your high intensity anaerobic exercise.

There are a few ways you can use ropes and Med Balls.

One option is to work in a timed fashion. For example, you will do rope/Med Ball Slams for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds. You can make is easier by increasing rest time or harder by decreasing rest time or increasing the work time.


Beginner: Med Ball Slams 20 second on 20 seconds off for 4-6 rounds

Intermediate: Rope Slam 20 seconds on 10 seonds off for 5-7 minutes

Advanced: Med Ball Slams 30 seconds on 10 seconds off for 8-10 rounds

Chin Up and Push Up circuit

The Chin Up and Push Up circuit is a great way to work the upper body while getting your cardio in at the same time.

Here is how it works:

You will do 10 reps of Chin Ups and then 10 reps of Push Ups for 10 minutes. The kicker is, you have to get 10 reps of each before moving on to the next exercise.

So that may look like:

Round 1: 10 Chin Ups, 10 Push Ups
Round 2: 8 Chin Ups, rest, 2 more Chin Ups, 10 Push Ups
Round 3: 6 Chin Ups, rest, 2 Chin Ups, rest, 2 more Chin Ups, 8 Push Ups, rest, 2 more Push Ups

And etcetera.

If you can’t do a Chin Up that is fine; do them band-assisted or ring-assisted – any way you can complete it is fine. Same goes with the Push Ups.

Now that you  no more excuses to get in your cardio, you just have to get out there and do it. I’d love to hear your feedback!

Connect with Expert Joshua Williams

WatchFit Experts change lives!

And they can do the same for you.


Pollyanna Hale Health and Lifestyle coaches
Lost 13 Kg in Total
Mel, 32y Location: London, United Kingdom Working with Pollyanna changed everything. I lost 13kg, got toned and have more energy than ever! Get same results!


Chriz Zaremba Fitness Consultant
Lost 45 Kg in Total
Chris, 50y Location: London, United Kingdom Lost 45kg after the age of 50 and now competes and wins physique competitions and runs marathons Check our weight loss plans