5 Best Knee-Friendly Exercises to Boost Metabolism and Burn Fat

Knee-friendly exercises put less pressure on the joints. (Photo via Pexels/Pavel Danilyuk)
Knee-friendly exercises put less pressure on the joints. (Photo via Pexels/Pavel Danilyuk)

Burning fat and losing weight can be quite challenging if you suffer from knee pain or stiffness. That can keep you away from being active and also make it difficult to do everyday chores. Studies suggest that carrying extra pounds can create additional pressure on the joints and bones, causing further stress to the knees, which may decrease your exercise level.

However, burning calories with weak knees is not impossible. You just have to choose the right exercises, and fortunately, there are several knee-friendly exercises that can help you shed kilos without impacting the knees.

Whether you suffer from regular knee pain or are recovering from injury, the following knee-friendly low-impact exercises can help you lose weight, boost your metabolism, and put less pressure on the knees.

Knee-friendly Exercises to Burn Fat

The knees are one of the most used joints in the body - walking, sitting, running, and standing - all depend on your knees. Therefore, it's important to take good care of them. The following five knee-friendly exercises can not only help you lose weight but also relieve knee pain, stiffness, and discomfort.

Practice these exercises regularly to eliminate fat, and strengthen your knees at the same time. Let's get started:

1) Straight Leg Raise

Not only does this exercise puts less pressure on the knees, but it also works great to strengthen the core and remove abdominal fat.

To do this knee-friendly exercise:

  • On a mat or floor, lie straight on your back, with your legs extended out comfortably and hips square.
  • Bend your left knee at a 90-degree angle, and plant your foot flat on the floor. Engage your right leg muscles by contracting your quads, and slowly lift your right leg at least ten inches off the floor.
  • Hold the posture for a few seconds, and lower your foot to the floor. Keep breathing easily as you do that.
  • Relax for a few seconds, and repeat ten times.
  • Change legs, and do the same with your opposite leg.

2) Half Squat

Unlike full squats, which can be hard on the knees at times, half squats are knee-friendly exercises that put less pressure on the joints and also help strengthen the hamstrings, glutes, and quads. Moreover, they also help remove lower body fat.

To do this exercise:

  • Take a standing position, with your feet at shoulder distance. Place your hands in the front or on the waist for balance.
  • Bending your legs together, push your hips back to a 45-degree angle, but do not go into a full squat position.
  • Keep your hands straight in the front and neck stable as you perform a half squat.
  • Lift your body back up to the starting position by pushing through your heels, and repeat ten times.

3) Wall Sit

Wall sits are another very effective and knee-friendly exercise for burning calories. They strengthen the knees and core, and also work on other lower body muscles, including the calves, quads, and glutes.

To do this exercise:

  • Stand straight with your back against a wall and feet at shoulder-width distance. Make sure your feet are about two feet from the wall.
  • Engaging your core muscles, slowly slide down the wall till your thighs are parallel to the floor. As you slide, make sure your knees are directly above your ankles and not your toes.
  • Keeping your back flat and straight against the wall, try holding the position for as long as you can.
  • Slide back up to the starting position; rest for a few seconds, and repeat the exercise at least two more times.

4) Step-up

Step-ups are an effective weight loss exercise that also works on the hamstrings, hip flexors, quads and glutes.

To do this knee-friendly exercise:

  • Stand in front of a sturdy box, stool or any other platform that’s not taller than five inches.
  • Step up on the box with your left foot, and allow your right foot to follow behind.
  • Once both feet are on the box, lower them down one at a time while keeping your hands on your sides or in the front for support.
  • Lower your right foot followed by your left, and repeat the exercise 15 times.

5) Prone Straight Leg Raise

This exercise helps with knee pain and also works on the glutes and the muscles in the lower back.

To do this exercise:

  • Lie face down on your stomach on the floor or mat. Keep your legs straight out, with your head comfortably resting on your arms.
  • Engage your hamstring and glute in your right leg, and slowly lift your leg as high as you can without causing pain. Make sure you do not move your pelvis as you lift your leg.
  • Hold your right leg in this lifted position for a few seconds, and slowly lower it down to the start.
  • Repeat the same with your left leg, and continue the exercise a few more times.


For each of the aforementioned knee-friendly exercises, go slow without jerking or bouncing your body. Focus on your form, and stop immediately if you experience any pain or discomfort in your muscles. If you’ve recently had a knee injury or surgery, consult your physical therapist before starting these exercises.

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Edited by Bhargav
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