Fitness / HIIT

3 Quick HIIT Workouts for Bad Knees

Reap the benefits of HIIT despite those sore knees.

By now we know high intensity interval training (HIIT) is an essential ingredient to any good performance and fitness program. And it usually comes in the form of lower body centric movements, such as sprinting and explosive jumping. So, if you’re someone with bad knees, you’re probably skipping those jump squats.

Everyone should experience the crazy good benefits of HIIT, though. We tapped New York City-based personal trainer Annie Tran to break down workouts and exercises suitable for bad knees.

Here are three sample HIIT workouts that can serve to boost your metabolic performance while sparing your knees in the process.

Workout #1: Upper Body Focus

Always start with a 10 to 15 minute warm up. Do each exercise for 20 seconds and don’t rest until you complete the round. After each round rest for 45 seconds maximum and start again. Complete four to seven rounds!

-Medicine Ball Slam: Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Raise the med ball above your head and forcibly slam it to the floor directly in front of your feet by spiking your hips back and chopping down with your upper body. Catch the ball on the rebound and raise it up again!

-Push ups: Lie face down with your hands spread just outside of your shoulders at chest level. Lock out your knees, squeeze your glutes and push your entire body off the floor until your elbows are locked out and stable. If this is too much right now, drop down to your knees and push from there.

-Renegade Rows: Face the floor and come up on just your hands and feet. One hand should have a weight. Once ready, pull that weight up by bending your elbow and pulling your shoulder blade back towards the spine. The weight should just barely touch your rib cage. Place it down and then repeat.

-Russian Twists: Sit on the floor and lean back until your abs start activating. Maintain that pose and keep your heels on the floor. Now, press your hands together as in prayer then rotate to one side until you feel resistance in your abs. Switch directions and repeat.

-Modified or Full Pull up: Grab the pull up bar at roughly outside of shoulder width. Before pulling your body weight up, be sure to depress your shoulder blades downwards on the back. Once they are stable, start pulling from that position until your triceps reach your rib cage. Release and then repeat that process.

Looking to tone your upper body using HIIT workouts? Check out Aaptiv’s workouts today.

Workout #2: Lower Body and Core Focus

Lower body work is essential to keep your strength and function, particularly if you suffer from bad knees. Again, complete four to seven rounds of 20 seconds per exercise with 45 seconds maximum rest between each round.

-Glute Bridges: Lie flat on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Then press your hips towards to the ceiling until your torso forms a straight line from your head down to your knees. Repeat.

-Push Up Plank w/ Alternating Leg Raise: Position yourself in the top phase of a push up. Now, while stabilizing your upper body, raise one leg only enough to feel the effort in your butt, place it down and switch legs.

-Side Lying Leg Raise: Lying on your side with legs extended and stacked with toes flexed towards your face. Simply raise the top leg up until you feel your hips starting to move. Pause at the top for 1 second and lower back down, tap and repeat without resting.

-Side Plank Dips: Begin in a side elbow plank on your right side with straight legs and your feet stacked. Inhale and lower your pelvis to the floor, so your right hip hovers just off the floor. Exhale and press up through your right waist to lift your pelvis and return to side plank. Pull your right shoulder blade down your back to stabilize your shoulder.

-Standing High Knee Raise: Stand tall with your back straight, abs engaged, shoulders relaxed, and hands on your hips. Breathe deeply as you march in place with high knees, driving your knee up toward the ceiling with each step. Keep your hands on your hips as your march.

Aaptiv has a wide variety of lower body workouts you can do. Check out a few sample workouts here.

Workout #3: Full Body

Same format as the previous two. Go hard!

-Bear Crawls: Crouch down with hands in front of you shoulder width apart and feet behind you with hips up in the air and eyes forward. Crawl forward starting with your right hand with your left foot following. Now bring crawl further with your left hand forward followed by your right foot. Take four steps or more depending on space, then turn around and bear walk back.

-Side Plank w/Cable Row: You will need to face a cable pulley apparatus for this. Stabilize yourself into a side plank with only your forearm, elbow bottom foot in contact with the floor. Grab the cable with your top hand and perform a row by initially pulling your shoulder back towards your spine and then bending the elbow to complete the move.

-Overhead Press: Stand with your entire body tight and rigid. Hold a barbell or dumbbells just above your upper chest, hands slightly wider than shoulder width. Now think of an imaginary straight line drawn from the elbows through the wrists and hands and into the ceiling. Press the bar up along this path as the elbows extend, taking the same path back down to the starting position.

-Glute Bridges: Lie flat on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Then press your hips towards to the ceiling until your torso forms a straight line from your head down to your knees. Repeat.

-Mountain Climbers: Start in a plank position with arms and legs long. Keep your abs pulled in and your body straight. Squeeze your glutes and pull your shoulders away from your ears. Pull your right knee into your chest. As the knee draws to the chest, pull your abs in even tighter. Quickly switch and pull the left knee in. At the same time you push your right leg back, pull your left knee into the chest using the same form. Continue to switch knees. Pull the knees in right, left, right, left—always switching simultaneously so that you are using a “running” motion.

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