Knee Exercises for Pain Free Leg Workouts (NO MORE PAIN!)

  • Published: 18 October 2015
  • Build ripped, athletic legs without knee pain with this workout…

    Performing leg workouts and leg exercises can be difficult when dealing with knee pain. In this video, I show you two very big reasons why this happens, and most importantly, what leg exercises you should start doing to eliminate the knee pain and build stronger legs. I put on my physical therapist hat for you to explain the nuances of each exercise and what it means for you depending on your particular source of knee pain.

    To start, you have to consider the type of knee pain you are dealing with. There are 4 very common sources of knee pain when working out. The first comes from the common osteoarthritis. This is the degeneration of the surfaces of the cartilage in the knee joint that often results in the bone on bone condition that can be painful during knee exercises and leg workouts. In general, exercise that cause you to drop down too low can be a problem for those that have this condition.

    The second common source of knee pain is patellar tendonitis or patellofemoral syndrome. This particular type of pain will cause knee dominant exercises that displace the tibia forward as you perform the movement to be very problematic. With this type of knee pain, you need to fill your leg workouts with exercises that keep your shin more vertical as you perform them.

    Likewise, having a torn ACL that has not been repaired successfully or not at all, will cause your knee to be unstable and susceptible to pain when performing certain leg exercises. When the ACL is not intact, your tibia will translate forward on your femur causing the knee to be unstable during leg exercises that cause the shin to tilt when performing them. As you’ll see in the video, this includes exercises like ass to grass squats and forward lunges.

    Finally, if your knee pain is coming from a torn meniscus, you will also want to be sure to control the depth of your leg exercises. Causing too much flexion at the knee (particularly under load) will cause a meniscus to become much more susceptible to being pinched and painful. You must select exercises that control the depth of your knee bend if you want to keep your leg workouts pain free. You can select from exercises such as reverse lunges, step ups or the bulgarian split squat as long as you step out far enough when setting up to perform it.

    Knee pain is a very common problem for those that work out. It becomes especially problematic when the pain you have in your knees prevents you from being able to do your leg workouts in the first place. This just leads to more weakness in your legs and knees which leads to more problems down the road. If you want to get back to having strong legs you need to do knee exercises that are correct for the problem you have.

    The ATHLEAN-X Training System is a complete program used by today’s top professional athletes to not just get ripped and build strong athletic bodies…but fortify their joints as well. If you want to follow the same exact workout that the pros use, head to and get the step by step plan for building a strong, injury proof body.

    For more knee exercises for bigger legs or leg workouts you can do at home or at the gym, be sure to subscribe to our channel here on RUclip at
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Comments • 877

  • Big King
    Big King  15 hours back

    Thanks JC!

    • Rocky Balboa
      Rocky Balboa  3 days back

      Thanks Jeff. I have meniscus tear. I will make sure my knee bend doesn't go further than 90 degrees. I've been using the stationary bike because it puts no pressure on the knee. Would a Sumo squat be okay for meniscus tear?

      • Storm State
        Storm State  4 days back

        Excellent vid, thank you!

        • David Campos
          David Campos  5 days back


          • Frederic Baraness
            Frederic Baraness  1 weeks back

            Jeff you are the best , training body using the brain .. never seen that in Europe Thanks Fred from France

            • 2 1
              2 1  2 weeks back

              The very best channel...

              • Jakob W
                Jakob W  2 weeks back

                Are you saying that if you have OSTEO-ARTHRITIS, you should exercise keeping your shin vertical?

                • Helena Constantinou
                  Helena Constantinou  3 weeks back

                  Dear, PLEASE some exercises for knee pain the "bone on bone" pain. I also have Baker cyst in the left knee. I am dead of pain after my Bodycombat classes.. I need to FIX this as I LOOOOOVE my BodyCombat and I dont want to stop teaching it. Also I teach Zumba and Bodypump. I cant keep my knees bent fully,, squatting down to the floor to eg. pick something up or what ever, hurts like a bitch to get back up. My physio says my meniscus seems ok and mri has shown degenerative signs of cartilage... I NEED TO FIX myself please help!!! (ps: I am 44 years old)

                  • cerebro7
                    cerebro7  3 weeks back

                    thanks a million. thank you thank you

                    • Say my name
                      Say my name  3 weeks back

                      I am a 15 year old boy who has problem with my knees... I was told to look you up, so I did. I just startet Training my knees, I really hope the training from you visdom can help me get no pain.
                      You sound like you got it under control so I trust you!
                      God bless u all

                      • John Broughton
                        John Broughton  4 weeks back

                        Will try this looks good, I have arthritis in my right knee,

                        • Off Grid Madman
                          Off Grid Madman  4 weeks back

                          I'v had a patellofemoral replacement and the deep squats are good for it. I'd just get stiff otherwise, even such an injury and surgery shouldn't stop you going for full ROM. Deep squats are good for many knee injuries as long as you work up to them and there is no pain. Discomfort is ok, pain is not.

                          • Thomas Eser
                            Thomas Eser  4 weeks back

                            I perform bulgarian split squats with the standing leg on a rubber pillow .
                            This hits the small stabilizing muscels very fine.

                            • The Goblin
                              The Goblin  1 months back

                              I want to keep liking this video even though it's old.

                              • Simu Singh
                                Simu Singh  1 months back

                                I had dislocated my left knee thrice, its 4 been 4 years since last dislocation. The knee is quite week and there is always some cranky sound when i do any sort of movement, although there is no pain. Wat exercises can u suggest?

                                • Sonya Delaney
                                  Sonya Delaney  1 months back

                                  I’m confused. I thought the front knee was to never over extend the toes in a lunge. ??

                                  • Sonya Delaney
                                    Sonya Delaney  1 months back

                                    @Kevin Copson Sounds like the bulgarian split squat is the best bet then. No overextending and no forward motion. Not to mention they're much (for me anyway) much more effective!

                                  • Kevin Copson
                                    Kevin Copson  1 months back

                                    I've heard that too, but from what I've read the forward motion will still put a pressure on the knee in a way that could irritate it even if your shin is in a 12 to 6 position.

                                • Denis L
                                  Denis L  1 months back

                                  Thanks Jeff

                                  • Anees Kara
                                    Anees Kara  1 months back

                                    Thanks Jeff

                                    • F Sanyshyn
                                      F Sanyshyn  1 months back

                                      Best channel for fitness bar none. Amazing!

                                      • CierraB04
                                        CierraB04  2 months back

                                        Amazing video! Just got diagnosed with arthritis and this has restored faith that I’ll be okay. Thank you!

                                        • Jen
                                          Jen  2 months back

                                          Sorry but lunges are not good for those with knee pain.

                                          • Darrell Sheridan
                                            Darrell Sheridan  2 months back

                                            Jeff you are the best, I have been able to work around arthritis pain. Your instructions are clear and concise. Keep up the great work.

                                            • E10Skillz
                                              E10Skillz  2 months back

                                              Im 6 months after acl and my knee still fucking hurts fam.

                                              • sjkeclipse
                                                sjkeclipse  2 months back

                                                Ok so I’m 45 yrs old I’ve worked out all my life but never have done squats cuz of back and neck issues, until recently I’ve been using the power squat machine, now my knees are sooooo tight it’s hard for me to kneel down I can’t touch my heels with my ass then getting up o man struggle, can you suggest ways to loosen them up, thanks

                                                • Todd Workman
                                                  Todd Workman  2 months back

                                                  Finally a coach who can talk the talk and walk the walk.

                                                  • רועי קסצוב
                                                    רועי קסצוב  2 months back

                                                    Hey Jeff, thanks for all the priceless content! Could you maybe refer to 'kissing patellas' on one of your next leg workout video?

                                                    • Noel Thomas
                                                      Noel Thomas  2 months back

                                                      Hey Jeff. Just want to say thank you for all the informational videos you put out there. You have really inspired me and I just recently brought the AX1 program and am loving it. Love your educational approach and the science truly makes the work outs more meaningful. I'm dealing with a lateral and medial meniscus tear on my knee and just went over the MRI results with the ortho surgeon who stated it looks pretty small but he'd still recommend an arthroscopy. When asked about a conservative approach and physical therapy, the MD said it'd be a total waste of time. In your professional and personal experience as a PT, what would be some factors to take into consideration to help determine when physical therapy would be appropriate and when it's not going to help much.

                                                      • nystateofmind53
                                                        nystateofmind53  2 months back

                                                        I LUV DIS CHANNEL god damn JEFF U MY DAWG MAN

                                                        • R.J.
                                                          R.J.  3 months back

                                                          Thanks for the Reverse Leg Lunge. No pain. Not sure why my legs have always felt so brittle with no stabilization, but leg exercises like this is a start.

                                                          • Chi Nhan
                                                            Chi Nhan  3 months back

                                                            You are a blessing.

                                                            • John Clinton
                                                              John Clinton  3 months back

                                                              I love this channel.

                                                              • Jerry Seinfeld
                                                                Jerry Seinfeld  3 months back

                                                                If I don't have problems with my knees now is it possible I will develop them with a back squat ass to grass?

                                                                • Crystal Graham
                                                                  Crystal Graham  3 months back

                                                                  I needed this!

                                                                  • Biker Saif
                                                                    Biker Saif  3 months back

                                                                    Can i do all these exercises after partial menisectomy surgery?

                                                                    • Kasandra
                                                                      Kasandra  3 months back

                                                                      I believe I might have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome or something similar, most of my joints often sublux.. my joints are also often noisy.. I'm not sure if my ligaments are too tight or too loose.. I know that some people with EDS do have visual results from doing weights for example and some never seem to have visual results.. EDS is something to do with the connective tissues and there's more than one type.
                                                                      I want to be strong legitimately (not put weight on already compromised back).. ppl think I'm strong but my arms are actually weak however I don't wanna get my hopes up about looking sculpted if it's not possible however I do need to strengthen for everyday function and to help with getting and keeping fat down considering I can't do much in terms of cardio because of a condition that affects my heart, circulation what's possibly adrenal fatigue.. I'm deconditioned anyway and can't dance or run and jump around however even as a kid was short of breath and good with sprints by terrible with cross country.. I don't have full asthma thought I had exercise induced asthma but I think it's possibly never been that.

                                                                      Another thing is, is a degenerative lumbar disc connected to chronically tight hamstrings? I've noticed a disc problem from childhood although couldn't articulate it at the time.

                                                                      • Kerem Tuna
                                                                        Kerem Tuna  3 months back

                                                                        Your videos are life saver. I had it band syndrome and bone marrow edema on my knee and your videos helped me to get pain free. I felt pain 6 months and my pain goes down from 10 to 3.

                                                                        • Kay Brown
                                                                          Kay Brown  3 months back

                                                                          @ 5:55. I've tried that with no weight, then fell over because it killed my knees. I don't know why so many people recommend this move when it's obviously bad for your already hurting knees. :-(

                                                                          • Tyrone Tripod
                                                                            Tyrone Tripod  3 months back

                                                                            Why does my left knee hurt alot near the top let corner of left kneecap especially during split squats on smith press machine, with that left leg behind me and right leg doing the work?
                                                                            it seems to be suraface pain rather than deep miniscus or acl
                                                                            I only feel maybe 1/10 as much as when doing s dumbell bulgarian split squats.
                                                                            Its most instense in the smith rack doing 1 legged squats with that left leg going back and most of the load on the right leg.

                                                                            • Jim Mason
                                                                              Jim Mason  4 months back

                                                                              Split squats..shudder...they kill man, but they're sooo good.

                                                                              • Dominik Wilson
                                                                                Dominik Wilson  4 months back

                                                                                This is one of the most helpful videos I have ever seen in the fitness industry.

                                                                                • Helen McCormick
                                                                                  Helen McCormick  4 months back

                                                                                  Thank you! Super helpful!

                                                                                  • Doom Muffinz
                                                                                    Doom Muffinz  4 months back

                                                                                    Why are knees so sh*tty?

                                                                                    • Doom Muffinz
                                                                                      Doom Muffinz  4 months back

                                                                                      *wobbles, wobbles, falls*

                                                                                      • Josh Mee
                                                                                        Josh Mee  4 months back

                                                                                        I'm 21 and have osteoarthritis in both knees, this helped a lot

                                                                                        • Kevin Cruikshank
                                                                                          Kevin Cruikshank  4 months back

                                                                                          Solid! Jeff covers this simply and sensibly!

                                                                                          • Jenny Penny
                                                                                            Jenny Penny  4 months back

                                                                                            Do you have your athletes perform box jumps as a form of cardio? If so, can you show us some of the workouts? Thanks

                                                                                            • Natasha Petersen
                                                                                              Natasha Petersen  4 months back

                                                                                              Jeff is the best!!!

                                                                                              • Ottobot
                                                                                                Ottobot  4 months back

                                                                                                Jeff is the shit