The best leg exercises you should do when you have bad knees

5. Stiff-legged deadlift


The exercises we’ve mentioned so far mostly target the quads. In order to fully stimulate our legs, we want to make sure that we engage all leg muscles with different movements. One such movement is the stiff-legged barbell deadlift which directly targets your hamstrings. Compared to the conventional deadlift, the stiff-legged version requires your legs to be as straight as possible and therefore trains the hamstrings more, instead of the lower back.

Place the barbell on the floor in front of your feet, then grab it with a grip which is slightly wider than your shoulders. Take a deep breath and with your lower back and torso rigid, lift the barbell up. In a standing position, the bar should rest on your hips. Lower the bar down with the slightest possible bend in your knees, while keeping your back straight and pushing the hips backward to maintain stability.

Go as low as you can and then return to the standing position. When doing this exercise you should really feel it in your hamstrings. If you don’t feel your hamstrings engaged, that’s because either the weight that you used was too light or your execution form was not correct. If you really want to get the full benefits from this exercise you need to go heavy. You can try out different barbell positions when you descend, for example, some people feel the hamstrings better when the bar is moved tightly along the legs, while others have to keep it a bit further away towards their feet.

As previously mentioned, you need to go relatively heavy on this exercise if you want to fully target your hamstrings. Go for 4-5 sets of 6-8 reps, with a rest time of 2 minutes.

6. Hip Thrusts


The last entry on our list of exercises is the barbell hip thrusts. For some people, this can be the hardest and most uncomfortable exercises to do. However, if it were easy it wouldn’t be worth doing it.

The way you do this exercise is by sitting down on the ground with a bench placed right behind you. Get a barbell, put some weights on it and get underneath it by rolling it directly above the hips. You will most probably need some kind of a pad or a towel wrapped around the barbell so that it feels more comfortable.

Next, lean back on the bench with your upper back on it. Start pushing with your hips upwards and raise the bar with them as far as you possibly can. Then when you get to the top, reverse the movement and return to the starting point on the floor.

You can go heavy on this movement. Your gluteus muscles can handle a lot of training volume and will eventually thank you for this. Do 4-5 sets of 6-8 reps with 2-minute rest time.


At first, it may seem that sustaining a knee injury can derail your goals of building big muscular legs for the rest of your life, however that is simply not the case. The exercises listed in this article are just a few proposals. So even though they may be easier on the knee, each knee injury is different.

Some people can squat with no problem at all, but experience pain on the leg press. Others can perform leg extensions, but can’t perform leg curls. So you through trial and error you should be able to discern very quickly which exercises will be best suited to you.

To further secure and stabilize the knee you can use straps for your knees, especially when doing squats. Depending on the type of injury, try either straps or bandages. Generally, bandages are better for the joints, however, if you have problems with your bones, straps are a better option. To get the full benefit from them, make sure that you wrap them around very tight.

We hope these tips can help you to get over any injuries, pain or any type of issues you may be facing and build some well-sculpted, muscular legs.

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