Working out is a great way to lose weight, tone your body, and feel energetic. Unfortunately, some people may not be able to follow a full cardio exercise program because of their bad knees or hips, which make it harder for them to follow exercises like squats or deep lunging. In today’s article, we’ll list great squat alternatives for those with bad knees or hips. Some of these exercises are cardio ones that can be done at home while others need machines and can be done at the gym. If you suffer from knee or hip pain and still want to work out, keep on reading.

First things first, you need to understand how squats benefit your body and muscles. Squats strengthen your lower body since they target your glutes and quadriceps. Moreover, they engage your core muscles, making them stronger. Your hip muscles, calves, hamstrings, and obliques benefit a lot from squats too. They’re also great calorie burners and can help you lose weight.

Now that you know what squats do, let’s check some alternatives that have the same effect on your body.

Low-Impact Workouts

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A low-impact workout is a workout that doesn’t put too much stress on your joints. Low-impact exercises include cycling, walking, and swimming, while low-impact strength workouts include the use of resistance bands and staying away from heavy weights that may harm your joints.

Stability Ball Wall Squats

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Instead of doing the traditional squat, use a stability ball. Start by placing it between the wall and your mid-back. These squats will still work your lower body without putting pressure on your knees. To do this exercise correctly, lean back against the ball slightly with your feet shoulder-width apart in front of you and start your squat. This exercise will not only take some pressure off your joints, but will also enable you to adjust the move to suit your own strengths and weaknesses.

Reverse Lunges

Don’t worry; we haven’t forgotten about how regular lunges can hurt your bad knees or hips. However, these reverse lunges are different. Since the forward lunges tend to hit your knees the hardest, opt for reverse lunges. Instead of bending your legs forward, do it backward. This will still strengthen your leg muscles and fire up your glutes.


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If you want to give shape to your booty but your knees are killing you, deadlifts are for you. Deadlifts are one of the best strength exercises you can perform because not only do they target your glutes and hamstrings, but they also work on your lower back, middle back, calves, traps, forearms, and core. The whole move revolves around your center and works on the entire back side of your body. Keep your knees slightly bent so you don’t aggravate sore knees. Since many muscles are recruited in this exercise, you can use barbells or dumbbells.

Glute Bridges

Glute bridges strengthen the glutes, core, hamstrings, lower back, and hip muscles, keeping your body strong. Performing glute bridges will give you great results for lifting the backside, without hurting your joints. All you need to do is to lie on your back, bend your knees, and keep your arms at your side with your palms facing up or down. Lift your hips off the ground until your knees, hips, and shoulders make a straight line. Hold this position for a couple of seconds before easing down to the floor.

A Stability Hamstring Roll-in

Your hamstrings are naturally very weak. In fact, they’re one of the hardest muscles to work on. However, this move will work on your hamstrings, core, and glutes. Lie on your back, arms by your side and feet on top of the stability ball. Squeeze your glutes and abs and lift your body up so you are in a straight line, keeping your shoulders and head relaxed on the mat. Pull your heels toward your glutes, rolling the ball in, and then push the ball back out. Keep doing this until your exercise is over then slowly lower your body back to the mat.

Leg Press Machine

A leg press machine can help you attain the same results as squatting. Leg presses can hit the same muscle groups as regular squats since they work on the same muscle groups but with less pressure. You can mimic the traditional squats without doing one when you slightly change the height of your legs.

Using Elastic Resistance Bands

Elastic resistance bands can help you a great deal in maintaining good posture while relieving stress on your knees when you’re doing squats. Adding an elastic band, placing it below or above your knee level, can encourage more activation from your glute muscles while squatting. This will also take so much pressure off your knees.

Get Support from Your Arms

If you think that your arms aren’t important while squatting, you're wrong! Your arms can help you squat without worrying about knee pain or stress. When you hold onto a wall or a bar, you can take the strain off your knees during a squat, which can help you complete your exercise safely.

No-Impact Squat Machine

No-impact squat machines help shift your body weight into your glutes while squatting. This machine has been hailed among athletic people for its glute-strengthening abilities that only take a few minutes of exercise every day. Moreover, no-impact squat machines can help anyone suffering from knee pain to strengthen their glutes without stressing their knees and spine.

Finally, we want to remind you to take it nice and slow. Don’t stress too much about toning your body or achieving a specific target when your body is in pain. It is best to seek the guidance of a professional trainer who can assist you through your workout and help you perform your exercises correctly.

Main image credits: @carlyrowena