Top 10 Best Exercise Machine For Bad Knee – Getting the best exercise equipment for bad knees is crucial to reduce pain and help you in your recovery. If you are going through the trouble from bad knee, then you know it can deprive you from doing the things you love doing. Even bending down, taking the stairs, and doing your favorite activities can become painful and difficult.
Knee troubles are quite common problem that can put a damper on your workout routine. But you cannot give up exercise altogether because of sore knees.
As a matter of fact, there are different types of exercise equipment that can reduce knee pain. We’ll see them below.
But before that let us see some of the factors to consider when choosing an exercise equipment for bad knee…
Top 10 Best Exercise Machines For Bad Knee
Now that we have gone through the factors to consider when getting an exercise machine for bad knees, let’s review some of the best options.
- Rowing Machine,
- Elliptical Machine
- Rowing Machine
- Stair Stepper
- Vibration Plates
- 2-in-1 Elliptical Cross-Trainer
- Leg Curl and Leg Extension Machines
- Stationary/Exercise Bike
- Balance Trainer
1. Rowing Machine – Ergatta Rower
First on our list is the rowing machine. Let us first talk about the Ergatta Rower, which is made of premium-quality cherry wood and crafted in the USA. This rowing machine gives off a luxury feeling and design. From the grip of the handle to the sliding of the seat to the white-glove delivery, WaterRower’s securely built cherry wood rower, created for Ergatta is really distinctive.
Rowing machines provides a total-body, low-impact workout that is helpful for people with knee problems. Rowing is an ideal way to get your heart rate up without putting too much pressure on your joints and most rowing machines has adjustable resistance levels that allows you to make the workout more intense or easy as whichever you like. Also, many rowing machines come with padded seats and footrests, to help you reduce impact and protect your knees.
We recommend the Ergatta Rower as it mimics a natural, fluid movement. Water and magnetic rowing machines are your safest bet for bad knee.
- Easy to use
- Effective low-impact workout
- Classic wooden design
- Ergonomic interface with multiple workout options
- HD touchscreen
- Automatic recalibration
- Water flywheel
- Smooth rowing experience
- Lots of useful data
- Aesthetic style
- Gamified programming
- Water has to be replaced every so often
- Resistance cannot be changed
- Although the gamification is fantastic, I know many people would love the option of trainer-led workouts.
2. Treadmill – NordicTrack Commercial 1750 Treadmill
Our second best exercise machine for bad knee, is The NordicTrack Commercial 1750 Treadmill which regularly tops our various guides to the best cardio equipment (check out our guide to the best treadmills). It’s got a lot of good going for it, but I want to talk about why it’s specifically great for exercisers with bad knees.
This treadmill has a large running belt (22 inches wide by 60 inches long) to accommodate runners and walkers with various stride lengths. On previous editions prior to 2022, the 1750 had adjustable cushioning options. It is unfortunate they did away with this feature for the most recent rendition. This treadmill also has a 14inch smart HD touchscreen and 2 three inch digitally amplified speakers, so your workout never gets boring.
Treadmills are an excellent option for people with bad knees, as they offer a low-impact workout that can be tailored to your needs. For example, walking vigorously for 5-10 minutes is now being recommended as a treatment for knee osteoarthritis. Your PT may also recommend walking to relieve stiffness in your knees and alleviate inflammation.
Most treadmills features adjustable speed and incline settings to allow you control the intensity of your workout, yet you shouldn’t push yourself too hard. Also, ensure your treadmill has built-in shock absorption, which helps minimize the impact on your knees. And remember to put on cushiony trainers as well.
Note: A 3 mph speed and 2% incline are enough if you have knee troubles.
- 14-inch, full-color, HD touchscreen
- Water bottle holder
- Tablet holder
- Big accessory tray for your smartphone or headphones
- Two speakers
- Bluetooth connectivity to your headphones
- Two cooling fans that blow on you as you run
- Weighs 339 pounds
- Comfortable deck cushioning
- Incline and decline training
- Big footprint, but is foldable to save space
- Requires two people to assemble
- Requires an electrical outlet
3. Elliptical Machine – Horizon 7.0 AE Elliptical
Elliptical Machine or trainer us the next on our list because of how efficient and effective the can be. With the Horizon 7.0 AE Elliptical You can add music and entertainment to your workouts with advanced Bluetooth speakers. Smart fitness technology moves data to your desired tracking apps. User-friendly Six-Star Frame motivates perfect body position and movement so you can enjoy a more efficient and comfortable workout. Achieve better muscle tone and burn more calories with advanced power incline.
The Horizon 7.0 AE Elliptical is very satisfying to use, as it is both comfortable and quiet. This elliptical is super easy to get started with for almost anyone to use. Regardless there isn’t a touchscreen attached to the 7.0 AE, if you are a frequent gym goer and you have used an elliptical there, the small LCD screen will definitely look familiar to you. There is a small oval track on the screen to give you an idea of how far you’ve gone as you work out.
For some people with bad knee, mostly those recovering from a knee injury, the elliptical is a very ideal exercise equipment for them. This low-impact cardio machine provides an excellent workout and does not put stress on the joints.
The smooth, circular motion goes easy on the knees (unless you have a disturbing inflammation), and the built-in handles gives support and stability. Also, ellipticals are usually equipped with adjustable resistance settings so that you can improve your workout to your fitness level.
- Lifetime warranty on the frame
- 20 inch stride length
- 325 lbs weight limit
- 20 levels of resistance and incline
- Quiet and smooth movements
- 6 workout programs
- Sturdy, ergonomic frame
- Front-driven elliptical
- Cooling fan
- Lifetime warranty on the frame and brake for home use
- Extremely firm, no shaking even on carpet
- 20 levels of resistance and 20 levels of incline
- Stride length is 20”, which accommodates more exercisers
- Assembly requires two people; it’s unsafe to try with just one
- Very large and not suitable for small home gyms
- No integrated display
4. Recumbent Bike – Exerpeutic 400XL Folding Recumbent Bike
The Exerpeutic 400XL Folding Recumbent Bike is a small but firm recumbent bike great for casual cycling. Due to the recumbent position, it removes pressure off of the joints and can easily be used while working, watching TV, or reading.
Recumbent bikes are ideal exercise machines for people with bad knees, and here’s why. The seat on a recumbent bike is large and well-cushioned, so you don’t have to worry about your knees taking a beating.
With the pedals being closer to the ground than on a traditional bike, it becomes easier for your knees to push. You can adjust the resistance level on a recumbent bike to adapt your workout to what your body can currently do.
If you want to really get the best from your recumbent bike, choose one with upper-body resistance bands. With that, you can exercise your whole body without getting additional equipment.
- Foldable recumbent exercise bike with quiet V-belt double-drive transmission system.
- Precision-balanced flywheel ( 8-level adjustable magnetic tension control system)
- Has an easy-to-read LCD display that tracks your distance, calories, time, speed, and heart rate.
- It can be used as desk bike with height adjustable desks
- Supports up to 300 pounds
- Recumbent design is gentle on the joints
- Has a wide seat and adjustable backrest
- Feels firm and stable
- Assembly can be a little rough
- Shorter but longer than other folding bikes as a result of its recumbent position
- Has no phone or bottle holder
5. Stair Stepper – Sunny Health & Fitness Twisting Stair Stepper Machine with Handlebar and Digital Display
With the Sunny Health & Fitness Twist Stair Stepper Machine with Handlebar – SF-S020027, you can give your glutes and thighs a noticeable lift. The adjustable handlebar and stabilizer ring will help you gain balance while you take your fitness to the next level. Stay motivated to reach your workout goals by using the integrated digital monitor. The space-efficient design allows you turn your living room into your own home gym seamlessly to allow you enjoy an effective and convenient fitness experience.
The stair stepper can be very ideal for those with less-than-perfect knees. Unlike those cardio machines that need impact to get the heart pumping, the stair stepper uses a low-impact movement that is gentle on the joints. And since you can adjust the intensity level, it’s a perfect way to get a workout without putting too much stress on your knees. However, climbing on a stair stepper feels like a shallow lunge but with no added pressure and balance issues.
In addition, the stair stepper is a great way to improve movement and range of motion. As you move your legs in a range of directions, you will help to keep your joints lubricated and flexible.
Note: Lack of lubrication is a prominent cause of knee pain.
- Digital monitor
- Stepping height
- Adjustable handlebar
- Unique stabilizer ring
- Twisting steps
- Exercise for Your Bones
- Low-Impact Workout
- Muscle Strengthener
- Great Calorie Burner
- Not an Upper Body Workout
- Potential for Back Issues
6. Vibration Plates – Hurtle Fitness Vibration Platform Workout Machine
You may be wondering what a vibration plate has to do with bad knee, well we will get to that soon, but first let us discuss about The Hurtle Vibration Platform Trainer. This trainer features an innovative design for fitness that is enjoyable. Vibrating exercise machine works for total body sports training. Now you can introduce next-generation sports gym training in the comfort of your abode with simple electric plug-in operation. Vibration exercise stimulates your muscles as you train. Benefits from vibration exercise is beyond just building muscle, it will also boost metabolism, improve circulation and build core strength at once.
Vibration plates have been gaining popularity, mostly for people with mobility issues. The theory behind these devices is that the vibrations aids in the stimulation of blood flow and improvement of joint function. Vibration plates are very effective for all muscle groups.
The vibrations help in activating the muscles, which results to a more intense workout. However, you can keep your muscles activated even without straining resistance training or cardio. Because of this, the vibration plate gives a low-impact way to exercise that can benefit people with bad knees.
The vibrations are effective in reducing inflammation and pain. So if your doctor approves, then you can use yours to massage your disturbing knees.
- High-powered vibration motor
- Weighs 25.5 pounds
- Dynamic oscillating motion technology
- Detachable handheld resistance bands
- Tones your muscles
- Helps you lose fat faster
- Helps build up your bone density
- Using a vibration plate without your doctor’s consent may worsen a particular condition
- You should follow the safety standards
- Your vibration plate may not be as effective as you’d like
7. 2-in-1 Elliptical Cross-Trainer – TEETER FreeStep CrossTrainer
Do you love ellipticals but hate the way they make your knees hurt? I bet you will be interested in this option from TEETER. The FreeStep Cross Trainer is a cardio machine, elliptical trainer, and physical therapy device together in one. Teeter uses a patented Stride Technology to minimize knee and back pain. You will seldom find any elliptical trainer that offers this commercial type of physical therapy machine.
For people with bad knees, getting an exercise machine that is easy on the joints can be a real hassle. Other popular options, like treadmills and stair climbers, can in one way or the other stress the knees, which can increase the pain.
This 2-in-1 Elliptical Cross-Trainer is a very good option for people with bad knees as it provides a low-impact workout that protects the joints. The elliptical motion is likened to walking or running but without the harsh impact on the knees. You can also use cross-trainer as a stationary bike if you sit down.
With that, you can take a break when the standing exercise starts feeling stressful. You avoid repeating movements that are likely to increase knee pain and swelling. Magnetic cross-trainers are gentle on your knees, and protect them from the extra impact.
- FreeStep Features. LT3. LT1.
- Patented Stride Technology.
- Dual Power Motion.
- Adjustable Handles.
- Variable Magnetic Resistance.
- Whisper-Quiet Operation.
- Adjustable Fit & Recline.
- Smart Device Stand with Digital Tracking.
- Incredibly effective low-impact cardio workout
- Soft grip pedals have a high traction surface for less slipping
- The thick ComfortSelect seat is adjustable
- The entire machine has a sweat resistance surface that is easy to clean
- The resistance knob has no clear settings
- The seat can be difficult for some users to adjust exactly where they want it
8. Leg Curl and Leg Extension Machines – Titan Seated Leg Curl / Extension Machine
The Titan Seated Leg Curl/Extension Machine is a compact, plate-loaded machine that works as a seated leg curl and leg extension machine that is perfect for home gyms. The price point, features, and quality are all a part of the great benefits Titan Fitness has offered in years past, so if you have the space and want to gain some muscle on your quads and hamstrings, I recommend it.
These resistance-training machines help you to strengthen on your lower body, particularly, the leg muscles, which support your knees. Leg curls can really help relieve knee troubles by strengthening the hamstrings, which support these joint; this is according to Jereme Schumacher, DPT, who is a California-based physical therapist and personal trainer.
Just like the leg curls, leg extensions target the quads, which are also very important for taking pressure off the knees. Hence, if your knee pain is as a result of joint deterioration, this exercise can exacerbate the symptoms. If your doctor approves you to engage in this kind of workout, I advise you go light on the weight.
Regardless of the cause of your knee troubles, it’s ideal to start with light weights and work your way up to heavier weights slowly so you don’t strain your knees.
- Weighs 108 lbs
- Weight capacity – 220 lbs
- Made from high-quality upholstery material
- Adjustable seat height
- Has a seat pad and a back pad
- Has a roller pad
- High-quality with neat welds and an overall solid frame for durability
- It is price-friendly
- Plate loaded
- Doubles as extension and curl
- Built with the average person in mind
- It will take up extra space in your gym
9. Stationary/Exercise Bike – NordicTrack Commercial S22i Studio Cycle
Now on the stationary bike, let us discuss about the Nordictrack Commercial S22i Studio Cycle is a high-end workout cycle with a wide range of innovative features for at-home fitness training. You can enjoy courses where a virtual trainer automatically controls your equipment to fit the intensity of the live workout. With the 22-inch spinning touchscreen you can get off your bike and continue with strength training, flexibility training, and other activities. You can keep track your progress with in-depth, customized workout statistics for goal management.
This is an excellent exercise bike with great technology. The s22i has a motor that can tilt the bike up to a +20 percent incline or down to a -10 percent decline. The bike will auto rise and tilt to accommodate the terrain as you follow an iFit class or route! In addition, the s22i has a 22 inch HD Touchscreen, handlebar controls for resistance and slope, an integrated fan, and 3lb hand weights for upper body exercises.
Cycling is likely next to elliptical training if we’re discussing about the best exercise for bad knees. Biking is a great form of low-impact exercise, but it can still stress your knees if you don’t size or adjust your bike properly, according to Dr. Masi, because it could put you in an awkward position that can strain the joints.
For this reason I can recommend the NordicTrack S22i exercise bike for people with bad knees. The seat is totally adjustable and helps riders to find the perfect seat height for their frame. The S22i accommodates riders from 4’10” to 6’10” tall.
- +20% Incline to -10% Decline that is automated in iFit
- Silent Magnetic Resistance with 24 Digital Levels and Convenient Handlebar Controls
- 32 Pound Inertia-Enhanced flywheel for fluid wheel motion
- 3 adjustment points to fit most size riders
- Handlebars can also be adjusted up or down
- Front-Facing Speakers
- Comes with iFit, free for the first month
- Compact footprint doesn’t take up much space
- A fan is attached at the bottom of the screen
- 22” rotating touchscreen
- Has incline and decline training
- Ample seat and pedal adjustments
- Works with iFIT for immersive workouts
- It is difficult to move (weighs over 200 pounds)
- Requires a paid subscription to access workouts after the first year
- Assembly is time-consuming
10. Balance Trainer – URBNFit Wooden Balance Board Trainer
The last exercise machine on our list for bad knee is the balance trainer. But first of all let me recommend The URBNFit balance boards which can be used by both adults and children and they are not just a fun way to help improve balance, body control, agility, and strength, but also engage all muscle groups. You can improve your balancing skills with this surf balance board; it can also be used for skateboarding, snowboarding, skiing, and response training for basketball, football, lacrosse, and hockey.
It is constructed with strong poplar wood, non-slip tape, and an easy-glide roller, this trainer is a super-quality balance board children and adults can use for years to come.
Each URBNFit wooden balance board trainer has a mobile-friendly workout guide, that helps you work towards achieving rock-solid footing come game time. Fitness goals can only be achieved if you’re willing to be consistent with them. Good enough, these balance boards are an excellent way to help you become a happier, healthier version of yourself.
You may be wondering, “How can this board help with bad knee?” Well to answer that, the URBNFit wooden balance board trainer is a very portable with easy mobility and yet a versatile workout equipment. With it, you can perform a wide range of exercises on it, and for bad knee, performing the squatting exercise on the board will efficiently work on the knee muscles which will with consistency relieve you of the knee troubles.
- Allows for dynamic workouts
- Durably designed with quality materials
- It has a bonus guide
- Crafted with strong poplar wood
- Has a non-slip tape
- An easy-glide roller
- It betters your coordination and minimizes your risk of falls.
- It contributes to much stronger joints by stabilizing your shoulders, knees, hips, and ankles
- It helps reduce the risk of back pain by strengthening back muscles.
- Gives you balance
- If you’re new to using a balance trainer, you are likely to fall.
Factors To Consider When Choosing
There’s no one perfect solution for bad knees when it comes to exercise machines. Rather, you will need to focus on a few major factors to find the best option. Of course with a little trial and error, you should be able to find an exercise machine that works for you.
- Type of Exercise
If you prefer cardio, elliptical and rowing machines, then it may be a good option, as they offer a total-body low-impact workout. Nevertheless, if you’re looking to build strength, you may want to consider a machine that offers adjustable resistance levels, like a recumbent bike.
- Type of Knee Pain/ Movement
Depending on your knee pain type, you may want to adjust your workout. Hence, it’s vital to consider the kind of movement involved.
The repeated circular movement can worsen inflammation. Therefore, physical therapists recommend shallow bodyweight lunges and squats in many cases, plus walking.
If you are a frequent gym-goer, then you should know that padding is very important when working out. It is also more essential when dealing with sensitive joints. Hence, if you want to get an exercise machine for bad knees, you should always focus on those with a lot of cushioning.
Besides, you wouldn’t want to worsen your condition by inflicting too much stress on your joints.
So you much note that padding will reduce the impact of your workout, protecting your knees and keep you active. So if you are in need of a way to exercise without worsening your pain, I recommend you go for machines that offer plenty of padding.
Another important factor to consider when getting an exercise machine for bad knee is adjustability. Which is as a result of different people having different needs for knee support, because what works for one person might not work for another. So when you choose an adjustable machine, you can adjust the level of support to your own needs, making sure that you are always getting the perfect amount of help you need.
The grip can be everything when it comes to working out with bad knees. If the grip is wrong, it can lead to all sorts of casualties, from slips and falls to joint pain and inflammation. But with the right gym equipment, you can stay safe and comfortable, keep building strength and improving your conditioning.
Note: Look for a machine with a sturdy, nonslip surface that’s easy on the joints.
A good grip will help you maintain your balance and form as you exercise, and it will also provide the stability you need to avoid further knee injury.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which exercise machine is best for bad knees?
Low-impact exercise basically puts less stress on your joints than high-impact exercise. This makes the elliptical a much safer option if you have a musculoskeletal condition such as low-back pain, knee or hip pain, or other health conditions like arthritis or osteoporosis.
What exercise machine is easiest on joints?
You can keep your body moving if you have bad knee. Exercise can reduce joint pain and stiffness as well as improve strength and balance.
What is better for bad knees treadmill or bike?
An exercise bike is more gentle on your knees than weight bearing exercise, like walking on a treadmill. Although, knee pain can still be developed from cycling
What is better for knees elliptical or bike?
Both the elliptical trainer and the stationary exercise bike are perfect for strengthening the knees, as keeping them mobile and active will prevent further damage. Yet, the exercise bike is a much ideal choice for people looking for a cardio machine less strenuous on the knees.
What exercise is easiest on the knees?
You should consider exercises such as walking, dancing, rollerblading, hiking, etc. However, there are still exercises that are referred to as “no impact”, which means your body is mostly supported. These no impact exercises includes; swimming and water aerobics. All of these exercises are gentle on the joints.
Exercise is a very important part of managing bad knees, but selecting the right exercises and also exercise machine is very important. Low-impact cardio machines like the elliptical, recumbent bike and stair climber are very good and recommended choices for people with bad knees. Also, vibration plates offer a low-impact way to exercise that can equally benefit people with knee pain.
So if you are trying to figure out ways to stay active without worsening your knee troubles, give these machines a try. And I advise you always check with your doctor before starting any new exercise regimen!
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