6 Best Cardio Exercise Equipment for Bad Knees

If you experience knee pains or suffer from bad knees, you know how frustrating it can be. It holds you back from doing the things you love the most.

If you are bending down, climbing stairs, or just walking around, you’ve probably experienced a sudden excruciating pain.

The best thing we can tell you is that several exercise equipment for bad knees exists.

However, with tons of machines available online, another problem arises: what are the best machines you can use to reduce the pain?

If you are in a hurry to pick up some equipment to help you with knee pain, I tested these machines and found these three products to be the best exercise equipment for bad knees.

Image
Best Treadmill
ProForm 505 CST Treadmill – 2016 model
Best Recumbent Bike
Marcy Recumbent Exercise Bike with Resistance ME-709
Best Elliptical
Niceday Elliptical Machine, Cross Trainer with Hyper-Quiet Magnetic Driving System, 16 Resistance Levels, 400LB Weight Limit …
Product Name
ProForm 505 CST Treadmill
Marcy Recumbent Bike
Niceday Elliptical Machine
Major Benefits
  • Help you recover from bad knees with low-impact workouts.
  • Padded shock absorption to protects your knee joints.
  • Safe support system with the handlebars
  • Helps with pain after walking for extended periods.
  • Great for newbies to exercise machines.
  • Helps people recovering from an injury, lower back, or joint pain.
  • Low-impact and knee-friendly cardio workouts
  • Great to use during the healing process.
  • Workout your entire body at the same time.
Stage of Knee Injury
Safe For All Stages
Safe For All Stages
Healing Stage
Best Treadmill
Image
ProForm 505 CST Treadmill – 2016 model
Product Name
ProForm 505 CST Treadmill
Major Benefits
  • Help you recover from bad knees with low-impact workouts.
  • Padded shock absorption to protects your knee joints.
  • Safe support system with the handlebars
Stage of Knee Injury
Safe For All Stages
Ready to Buy?
Best Recumbent Bike
Image
Marcy Recumbent Exercise Bike with Resistance ME-709
Product Name
Marcy Recumbent Bike
Major Benefits
  • Helps with pain after walking for extended periods.
  • Great for newbies to exercise machines.
  • Helps people recovering from an injury, lower back, or joint pain.
Stage of Knee Injury
Safe For All Stages
Ready to Buy?
Best Elliptical
Image
Niceday Elliptical Machine, Cross Trainer with Hyper-Quiet Magnetic Driving System, 16 Resistance Levels, 400LB Weight Limit …
Product Name
Niceday Elliptical Machine
Major Benefits
  • Low-impact and knee-friendly cardio workouts
  • Great to use during the healing process.
  • Workout your entire body at the same time.
Stage of Knee Injury
Healing Stage
Ready to Buy?

According to this journal article, therapeutic exercises are effective pain-relieving intervention methods, especially for those who suffer from knee osteoarthritis (OA).

best exercise equipment for bad knees

Also, doing the right types of exercises benefits your knees and your whole body.

Exercising strengthens your bones, joints, and muscles, whichΒ speeds up the healing process.

Fortunately, you can choose from various exercise machines to help to strengthen your knees.

Find below some orthopedic experts-recommended machines that can help you recover from bad knees.

Note: Always consult your doctor before using any machine or exercise program.

A stationary recumbent exercise bike is popular for people suffering from bad knees, especially those who experience severe conditions after walking for extended periods.

Also, newbies or those recovering from an injury, lower back, or joint pain should give the stationary recumbent bikes a try.

A stationary bike is different from an upright bike due to its padded and ergonomic seat.

This helps to create a more comfortable and safer knee workout.

It is also a suitable machine for rehabilitation purposes, as you can find optimal positions and resistance levels that fit your unique fitness needs.

Seniors and overweight individuals with knee injuries can greatly benefit from stationary recumbent bikes.

These exercise machines give them a smooth, low-impact cardio workout for their knees.

 Related: Best Recumbent Exercise Bike Reviews and Comparison

Unlike the recumbent, upright stationary bikes work similarly to a standard road bike. You can lean over the handlebars while pedaling.

This machine is typically useful when you want a whole-body workout, as it engages your core muscles.

As upright stationary bikes mimic the bicycle experience, your body burns more calories and sees improvements in the biceps, shoulder, and triceps muscles.

Unfortunately, sitting and getting off is more complicated with upright bikes.

The upright bike is useful because you can choose various levels, which provides a safe cardio workout for bad knees at your convenience.

Related: Recumbent Bike vs. Upright Bike: What are the Differences?

Preview
Best Buy
As Seen On TV Slim Cycle Stationary Bike by Bulbhead, Most Comfortable Exercise Machine, Thick, Extra-Wide Seat & Back Support Cushion, Recline or Upright Position, Twice the Results in Half the Time
Best Alternative
RELIFE REBUILD YOUR LIFE Exercise Bike Indoor Cycling Bike Fitness Stationary All-inclusive Flywheel Bicycle with Resistance for Gym Home Cardio Workout Machine Training New Version
Best Budget
Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright Exercise Bike with Pulse, 31.0' L x 19.0' W x 46.0' H (1200)
Product Name
Slim Cycle Stationary Bike
RELIFE REBUILD YOUR LIFE
Exerpeutic Folding Exercise Bike
Comfortable
Foldable
Digital Display
Adjustable Resistance
8 levels.
8 Levels.
8 Levels.
Weight Capacity
300 lbs.
400 lbs.
300 lbs.
Best Buy
Preview
As Seen On TV Slim Cycle Stationary Bike by Bulbhead, Most Comfortable Exercise Machine, Thick, Extra-Wide Seat & Back Support Cushion, Recline or Upright Position, Twice the Results in Half the Time
Product Name
Slim Cycle Stationary Bike
Comfortable
Foldable
Digital Display
Adjustable Resistance
8 levels.
Weight Capacity
300 lbs.
Ready to Buy?
Best Alternative
Preview
RELIFE REBUILD YOUR LIFE Exercise Bike Indoor Cycling Bike Fitness Stationary All-inclusive Flywheel Bicycle with Resistance for Gym Home Cardio Workout Machine Training New Version
Product Name
RELIFE REBUILD YOUR LIFE
Comfortable
Foldable
Digital Display
Adjustable Resistance
8 Levels.
Weight Capacity
400 lbs.
Ready to Buy?
Best Budget
Preview
Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright Exercise Bike with Pulse, 31.0' L x 19.0' W x 46.0' H (1200)
Product Name
Exerpeutic Folding Exercise Bike
Comfortable
Foldable
Digital Display
Adjustable Resistance
8 Levels.
Weight Capacity
300 lbs.
Ready to Buy?

Treadmill machines are called running machines.

They are advantageous home machines you can have to help you recover from bad knees with low-impact workouts.

You can work with treadmill machines even if you have bad knees, with little to no impact on your knees.

Modern treadmill machines often come with a safe shock absorption belt (running area) that protects your knee joints while working out.

Additionally, most of these machines come with padded belts and angles that decrease a workout’s impact on your body.

Also, you can choose fromΒ a wide range of walking programs, and the handlebars give you a safer support system without aggravating your knee pains.

 Related: 5 Best Treadmills Under $1000

Preview
Overall Best
ProForm 505 CST Treadmill – 2016 model
Best Alternative
NordicTrack T Series Treadmill + 30-Day iFIT Membership
Best Budget
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T7515 Smart Treadmill with Auto Incline, Speakers, Bluetooth, LCD and Pulse Monitor, Phone Function, 240 LB Max Weight , grey
Product Name
ProForm 505 CST Treadmill
NordicTrack T Series Treadmills
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T7515
Protects Your Joints
Workouts Included
Digital Display
User Weight Capacity
325 lbs.
300 lbs.
240 lbs.
Warranty
10-year frame warranty and 1-year parts and labor warranty.
10-year frame warranty, 2-year parts warranty, and 1-year labor warranty.
Not Stated.
Overall Best
Preview
ProForm 505 CST Treadmill – 2016 model
Product Name
ProForm 505 CST Treadmill
Protects Your Joints
Workouts Included
Digital Display
User Weight Capacity
325 lbs.
Warranty
10-year frame warranty and 1-year parts and labor warranty.
Interested?
Best Alternative
Preview
NordicTrack T Series Treadmill + 30-Day iFIT Membership
Product Name
NordicTrack T Series Treadmills
Protects Your Joints
Workouts Included
Digital Display
User Weight Capacity
300 lbs.
Warranty
10-year frame warranty, 2-year parts warranty, and 1-year labor warranty.
Interested?
Best Budget
Preview
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T7515 Smart Treadmill with Auto Incline, Speakers, Bluetooth, LCD and Pulse Monitor, Phone Function, 240 LB Max Weight , grey
Product Name
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T7515
Protects Your Joints
Workouts Included
Digital Display
User Weight Capacity
240 lbs.
Warranty
Not Stated.
Interested?

The elliptical trainer is another useful knee exercise machine to strengthen your knees joints.

With the elliptical machine’s help, you can get low-impact and knee-friendly cardio workouts.

The elliptical machine puts a little more stress on your knees, so it is better to use this machine during the healing process.

Additionally, your upper and lower bodies tend to be exercised simultaneously.

You can see the results in your lower body, especially glutes, quadriceps, and hip flexors.

Preview
Best Value
Schwinn 430 Elliptical Machine
Best Weight Capacity
Niceday Elliptical Machine, Cross Trainer with Hyper-Quiet Magnetic Driving System, 16 Resistance Levels, 400LB Weight Limit …
Best Price
Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Elliptical Trainer Machine w/Device Holder, Programmable Monitor and Heart Rate Monitoring, 330 LB Max Weight - SF-E3912
Product Name
Schwinn Fitness 430 Elliptical
Niceday Elliptical Machine
Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic
Display Monitor
Product Dimensions
70.1 x 28.2 x 63.2 inches
62 x 25 x 48 inches
55 x 23 x 64.5 inches
Weight Capactity
300 lbs.
400 lbs.
330 lbs.
Resistance Levels
20 levels.
16 Levels.
16 levels.
Workout Modes
22 Programs.
Not Stated.
24 Programs.
Best Value
Preview
Schwinn 430 Elliptical Machine
Product Name
Schwinn Fitness 430 Elliptical
Display Monitor
Product Dimensions
70.1 x 28.2 x 63.2 inches
Weight Capactity
300 lbs.
Resistance Levels
20 levels.
Workout Modes
22 Programs.
Interested?
Best Weight Capacity
Preview
Niceday Elliptical Machine, Cross Trainer with Hyper-Quiet Magnetic Driving System, 16 Resistance Levels, 400LB Weight Limit …
Product Name
Niceday Elliptical Machine
Display Monitor
Product Dimensions
62 x 25 x 48 inches
Weight Capactity
400 lbs.
Resistance Levels
16 Levels.
Workout Modes
Not Stated.
Interested?
Best Price
Preview
Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Elliptical Trainer Machine w/Device Holder, Programmable Monitor and Heart Rate Monitoring, 330 LB Max Weight - SF-E3912
Product Name
Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic
Display Monitor
Product Dimensions
55 x 23 x 64.5 inches
Weight Capactity
330 lbs.
Resistance Levels
16 levels.
Workout Modes
24 Programs.
Interested?

Rowing machines provide the most compound exercises for your fitness needs. It works for almost every muscle group.

It also has cardio and strength-training benefits. But, rowing seems to be a movement that puts too much pressure on your knees joints.

Since it affects your knees, you should be careful working with it.

Common rowing injuries involve improper workouts or positions, leading to lumbar back pains, shoulder impingement, etc.

With rowing machines, start with the lowest level and gradually increase the speed, resistance, and time.

Related: Different Types of Rowing Machines

Preview
Best Weight Capacity
Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine with PM5 Performance Monitor, Black
Best Value
FITNESS REALITY 1000 PLUS Bluetooth Magnetic Rowing Rower with Extended Optional Full Body Exercises and MyCloudFitness App
Best Price
Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine Rower with LCD Monitor
Product Name
Concept2 Model D
Fitness Reality Magnetic
Sunny Health & Fitness
Performance Monitor
Wireless Connectivity
Easy to Assemble
User Capacity
500 Pounds
250 Pounds
250 Pounds
Resistance Levels
10 Levels.
14 levels.
8 levels.
Warranty
Limited 2-year and 5-year warranty included.
1 year limited.
Minimum Warranty.
Best Weight Capacity
Preview
Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine with PM5 Performance Monitor, Black
Product Name
Concept2 Model D
Performance Monitor
Wireless Connectivity
Easy to Assemble
User Capacity
500 Pounds
Resistance Levels
10 Levels.
Warranty
Limited 2-year and 5-year warranty included.
Ready to Buy?
Best Value
Preview
FITNESS REALITY 1000 PLUS Bluetooth Magnetic Rowing Rower with Extended Optional Full Body Exercises and MyCloudFitness App
Product Name
Fitness Reality Magnetic
Performance Monitor
Wireless Connectivity
Easy to Assemble
User Capacity
250 Pounds
Resistance Levels
14 levels.
Warranty
1 year limited.
Ready to Buy?
Best Price
Preview
Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine Rower with LCD Monitor
Product Name
Sunny Health & Fitness
Performance Monitor
Wireless Connectivity
Easy to Assemble
User Capacity
250 Pounds
Resistance Levels
8 levels.
Warranty
Minimum Warranty.
Ready to Buy?

If you do not want to use the exercise equipment mentioned above to support your bad knees, you can try other alternatives, such as water exercises and swimming.

The water decreases the pressure on every joint of your body. It is a good start for rehabilitation.

 Related: What is the Best Exercise Equipment for Seniors?

Of course, you can moderately strengthen your legs without the need for any exercise machines.

Here are a few exercises for bad knees:

Note: Always start with a few minutes of warm-up exercises.

Lie on the floor. Lift one of your legs by keeping it straight. Do 10-20 reps, then switch to the other leg.

This exercise works your quadriceps, thighs’ front muscles, and cores without putting pressure on your knee joints.

Stand behind a chair and grab its back. Lift your heels as close to your buttocks as you can reach and stop for a few seconds. Do 10-20 reps.

You would feel your knees get better after some time. For additional resistance, you can use ankle weights or resistance bands.

This exercise works your hamstring muscles at the back of your thighs.

This one is easy. Stand straight and lift your body weight with your calves. Do 15-20 reps.

For this exercise, you need a slightly elevated surface.

Please do not use very inclined angles as it puts stress on your knee joints.

Step on the elevated surface with your leg, then step back. Perform this activity for 10-15 reps.

Lie on your side and bend your leg (close to the floor) for better support.

Straighten your other leg and lift it to 45 degrees (or more if possible). Do 15-20 reps for each side.

Note: If you feel any knee pain, stop immediately to avoid future problems.

The first step is to change your diet plan to reach a daily calorie deficit if you are overweight.

In this way, your body would start burning fat.

Along with a healthy diet, exercises are necessary for developing your muscle mass, cardiovascular system, and endurance.

Only a few people know this secret. The more muscle mass you have, the faster your metabolism will be!

Having more muscles versus fat makes your body constantly burn calories leading to faster weight loss.

Apart from the machines mentioned here for knee pains, walking is among the best cardio exercises for bad knees.

You will need to get a good pair of shoes to be comfortable walking longer distances.

If you still find walking difficult, you can try Nordic trekking poles, in which you will use two special poles to aid your movement. Here are our top three Nordic poles to buy.

Preview
Overall Best
Montem Ultra Strong Hiking/Walking/Trekking Poles - One Pair (2 Poles) (Yellow)
Best Alternative
Cascade Mountain Tech Trekking Poles - Aluminum Hiking Walking Sticks with Adjustable Locks Expandable to 54" (Set of 2)
Best Price
Aihoye Trekking Poles, Collapsible Lightweight Shock-Absorbent Hiking Walking Sticks Adjustable Aluminum Hiking Poles for Women Men Kids, 2 Pack, with 10 Replacement Tips(Blue)
Product Name
Montem Ultra Strong Trekking Pole
Cascade Mountain Tech Trekking Poles
Aihoye Hiking Trekking Poles
Adjustable Height
Strong
Comfortable Grip
Collapsible
Lightweight
9.6 ounces
10.4 ounces
10.8 ounces
Overall Best
Preview
Montem Ultra Strong Hiking/Walking/Trekking Poles - One Pair (2 Poles) (Yellow)
Product Name
Montem Ultra Strong Trekking Pole
Adjustable Height
Strong
Comfortable Grip
Collapsible
Lightweight
9.6 ounces
Interested?
Best Alternative
Preview
Cascade Mountain Tech Trekking Poles - Aluminum Hiking Walking Sticks with Adjustable Locks Expandable to 54" (Set of 2)
Product Name
Cascade Mountain Tech Trekking Poles
Adjustable Height
Strong
Comfortable Grip
Collapsible
Lightweight
10.4 ounces
Interested?
Best Price
Preview
Aihoye Trekking Poles, Collapsible Lightweight Shock-Absorbent Hiking Walking Sticks Adjustable Aluminum Hiking Poles for Women Men Kids, 2 Pack, with 10 Replacement Tips(Blue)
Product Name
Aihoye Hiking Trekking Poles
Adjustable Height
Strong
Comfortable Grip
Collapsible
Lightweight
10.8 ounces
Interested?

I hope you like this guide to the best exercise equipment for bad knees and workout advice.

Most of these exercises are easy ones so you can start safely.

With time as you improve, you can switch to harder moves.

But be careful! Switching to advanced workouts too fast will do more harm than good. So, be patient.

Do You Want to Cut Your Knee Pain in Half Without Harmful Drugs or Invasive Surgeries?

 

Last update on 2022-05-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

nv-author-image

James Wright

James (36) has been working out since he was 15 years old. He has a home gym where he pumps iron, does bodyweight workouts and boxing. He likes sharing his experiences with others who want to build a better physique.

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