Keep Your Knees Happy With These Easy Modifications!

Karena and I have seen some questions about how to protect your knees during certain moves in your Daily Workout. Today, we’re sharing all the deets you need to know! It’s all about that form, babe. Performing moves properly will help prevent injuries AND get you a better burn. You’ll see a reoccurring theme to keep your knees directly over your ankles and behind your toes. Make this a habit and you’ll be golden, girl! If these moves still aren’t working for you, don’t worry! We’ve also included modifications that will be easy on the joints, while still sculpting your gorgeous bod! ;)

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Deep Squat

FORM TWEAKS: While lowering down into a deep squat, make sure that your knees don’t go past your toes and keep them in line with your ankles. When your knees are closer together and not directly above your ankle joint, this can cause stress to the tendons in your knees.
MODIFICATION: If sitting back in a deep squat is still too hard on your joints, try sitting back as far as you can before it starts to become uncomfortable, then lift back up. You’ll still get those tush-lifting perks! ;)
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Jump Squats / Switch Jumps

 FORM TWEAKS: Perform each jump slowly, instead of trying to fit in more reps quickly. When jumping, make sure to land softly on the front part of your foot first, then your heels. Landing flat on your feet can cause shock waves to go up your legs and stress your knees. And don’t forget to keep your knees directly over your ankles!
MODIFICATION: If jumping is still too much, modify by performing squats or lunges. This is still plenty to get your booty some toning action!
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Lunge

FORM TWEAKS: Same rules apply! Whenever you’re bending at the knee, watch for those cues: knee directly over ankle and behind your toes. Forward lunges require extra attention to balance. Make sure to engage your core to help stabilize yourself and land softly on your foot.
MODIFICATION: Try stationary lunges. Instead of stepping forward into a lunge, begin in a lunge position then straighten your front leg for 1 rep. This takes some of the balance out of the move so you can first focus on form and gaining strength.
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Follow up your workout with a Perfect Fit smoothie to help boost your recovery! Make your own delish combo using our go-to smoothie guide HERE!

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COMMENTS 43

  1. Thank you K & K for this awesome post! I especially like your advise on performing the jump squats & lunges slowly instead of trying to fit in more reps, that works amazing for me. As for lunges, I find that I can keep better form with reverse/back lunges than with forward lunges. I also feel the booty burn more with reverse lunges whereas front lunges I feel more in my quads.

    1. I agree. I do back lunges alot because it doesn’t cause the same grinding in my knee for whatever reason

  2. Wow thank you for this post!! I had no idea about the jumping lunges and to land softly on the front part of your foot first to protect the knees. Usually I try to do as many jumping moves as I can and then most of the time I end up taking the jump out before the time is up cuz I have very bad knees and have broken both of them before. This post was much needed thank you :)

  3. Would love to see more posts like this, such as one for ankle issues, which is what I struggle with. Keep up the awesome posts!

    1. I would love to see a post for ankle issues as well! About a year ago, surgery was required on my achilles tendon and it’s still a little weak. You ladies are absolutely awesome! :)

  4. Would love to see a similar article about shoulders! I have shoulder damage from an old injury and it gets tired VERY quickly and becomes hard to maintain form in certain exercises

  5. Thank you so much for this! For someone who has had two knee surgeries, this is really helpful for those days my knees are acting up! <3

  6. Love this! Would like to see a post about keeping good posture while sitting at work and stretches you can do at your desk during the work day.

    1. Agreed on this! Also any advice to helping take pressure off my lower back in some of the moves would be great!

  7. This is so helpful! I have issues with pretty much every joint – knees, elbows, shoulders, wrist – plus lower back, so I would love to see more posts like these too! Thanks girls!

  8. As an orthopedic PT I must say I love this post!!! I treat a lot of sports injuries and find most of my athletes don’t have proper squat, lunge, or jump form, so it’s great to see Karena & Katrina educating everyone that may be unaware. Knees tilting inward on lunges and lateral lunges (especially on sliders) are another common thing that I see, so watch out for this as well! Keep kicking booty ladies! This is my first challenge and everyone has been so incredibly motivating and I’m loving the community aspect of TIU! =) =) <3 <3

  9. K&K~ This is a fabulous post! I would love to see more posts like this, or posts about proper alignment when doing let’s say deadlifts and other exercises. You’re wonderful!

  10. So glad that you wrote this article. With both knees needing modification (knee surgery in left and torn cartilage in the left) I appreciate the modifications and knowing that I am still getting the workout. Thats what I like about your videos in this challenge with Jillian its nice to see someone doing challenges and modifications. Thanks!

  11. I am not sure if anybody is going to be able to reply to this, but two years ago I had a tumor that ate my left distal femur. It required major reconstruction of my femur including the lower 1/4 of my femur is now made of bone cement, and I have a metal plate on the lateral side of my femur with 5 screws going through my bone holding my new femur and old femur together. My quad muscle is shot and will never grow again due to the amount of damage done as well as having a lot of nerve damage. After learning to walk on that leg again and being in physical therapy for a year and a half I am finally gaining some strength, so my question to you Karina and Katrina is, do you have any advice on exercises for legs that can be done to maybe stimulate what’s left of a quad muscle? I have been doing all of the workouts that I can for the last year and I have the hardest time with the leg workouts. I can do everything on my right, but my left is another problem! It’s been tough seeing transformation in my right and now my left because of the reconstruction.

    Any tips or advice would be amazing!! I love this community so much!

  12. Thank you so much for posting this! I have hypermobile joints, which makes me pretty unstable no matter how fit I am otherwise, and puts me at constant risk of injury. I recently started TIU and this is just the info I’ve been looking for lately :)

  13. love this post thank you! i too would love to see about shoulder tips..i have a bad shoulder from a fall a few years back. BUT my sister was in a hurricane in the amazon and a tree fell on her….she had total shoulder ligament reconstruction and has felt down ever since (it happened march 15) as she struggles to exercise. she has bone fragments in her foot which for some reason the doc wont take out, this causes swelling if she overworks her foot ie walking a lot and running. Any tips would be so much appreciated. she really wants to work out but just cant

  14. This is awesome! One question I’ve had is what to do about curtsy lunges, which I was hoping to see addressed here. So far the best advice I’ve found is just to substitute regular lunges but do you have any tips on how to do a curtsy lunge without hurting the knees? It’s a different problem than normal lunges since it seems to twist my knee joint when i try it. Thanks, ladies!

  15. Omg thank you for this post! I, like a lot of other girls, have this problem all the time.

  16. This is such a great post I hope you do one for wrists too as that is my other problem joint! Also hoping you girls will take into consideration slowing down transitions from one move to the next when you edit the workout videos because sometimes I find myself sacrificing form to keep up with you as you go on to the next move because I want to get in every rep! Maybe someone could test and make sure that it’s physically possible to go from one move to the next in the transition time alloted while you’re finalizing the editing, while still keeping it quick so our heart rate stays up and we maximize our burn. ;) This is the teeniest tineist concern but I figure if I’m struggling with it maybe other girls are too. Thank you for everything you do for us!

    1. I have a transition problem too! Right now, I keep my remote nearby so I can pause the video briefly to get into the proper position.

    2. Yes, seconded! Wrist issues here, I’ve seen doctors and done PT and nothing has helped. I cannot bear weight on my wrists, so anything plank is out unless I can modify to elbow! Would LOVE wrist friendly workouts and subs!

  17. I would also love to hear about some modifications for shoulders. I’ve never had an injury, but I do have a lot of popping, grinding and pain with presses, push ups, down-dog to planks and just doing consecutive moves in plank position. Sometimes I switch to jumping jacks rather than plank jacks if we’ve already been down on hands for a while.

  18. Girls, does anyone ever have their knees creek/ squeak? Don’t laugh, I am serious! :P Few days ago after a 5k run I was doing HIIT on the next day and I could hear my right knee squeaking, so I stopped immediately. It didn’t hurt but still – that’s not a noise knees should be making, right? :/

    1. That happens to me too but mostly on my left side. I feel like the tin man that needs oil. I thought it was my lack of calcium intake or because I put more weight on one side then the other if you get any answers on this let me know I would appreciate it.

  19. I thought I was the only one dealing with knee troubles. Glad to see and read this post will help me keep tips in mind. Any tips for the wrists or am I doing something wrong? Sometimes I feel like I am going to break it maybe I am putting too much weight on it instead of distributing it. Ankle post would be good too and lower back. Thanks.

  20. This is very helpful! I am an older beach babe that enjoys your workouts allot, however mild arthritis in knees makes some moves difficult. Its reassuring that these simple modifications can protect my joints and still keep me fit!👍🏻

  21. Thanks for this article. I’ve just got back into doing HIIT and have been having issues relating to my knees. From now on I will keep in mind the suggestions you’ve made and hopefully this will prevent any injuries in the future.

  22. I have lovely arthritic knees. They pop, crack, and crunch all the time. Not very pleasant. I have found that when I steady my self with a chair, walking stick or even the fire place mantle, while doing squats, it relieves the pain a lot. I now need to know how to make bike riding a little more comfortable. I love it, but it kinda hurts those knees of mine.

  23. What kind of Asics are you wearing in the jump squat / switch jump example?? Love those!

  24. Hi ladies! I recently completed the 8 week bikini series and I’m going strong with the daily workouts. I am 35 and toning it up for my wedding in Sept., and beyond. : ) I have no intentions of slowing down, but my knees are aching. While I am careful to perform all exercises as instructed and consume my tone it up protein regularly, I was wondering if you have any other recommendations to keep my joints strong. Perhaps there is a vitamin out there or other supplement that will keep my body in tip top shape, without adding unwanted products or cals to my smoking bod.
    Thanks in advance for your feedback and for all you’ve done for me already! Best trainers out there!
    Ashley

    1. Hey girl!
      It’s important to stretch and foam roll consistently to help prevent injury. Try THIS stretching routine and THIS foam rolling routine! If your knee starts to bother you, it’s best to check with your doc! :)

  25. Hi ladies! Glad to see a post about proper form with knees! But I have problems with the Hee Haw exercise. My knees hurt so bad on the top/front when I lean back. Perhaps I’m doing them wrong. Any tips on here about proper form with that exercise? I can only do like 2 and would like to do more. Any help would be greatly appreciated! :)

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