Wondering whether you should stay for leg day when your knee(s) hurts? Well then, welcome to this blog where we will be discussing an important question that many people have asked at some point: “Should I skip leg day if my knee hurts?”. You can join our online workout classes for personalized guidance.
Should I Skip Leg Day If My Knee Hurts?
Is Leg Day Important?
If you are someone who workout regularly, you must know how important leg day is. Your legs are the foundation of your body, and they support your body weight throughout the day. Having strong legs can improve your balance, stability, and overall athletic performance. Plus, working your lower body muscles can increase your metabolism, improve your posture, and reduce your risk of injury. Skipping leg day can lead to muscle imbalances, weaker lower body, and overall reduced athletic performance.
How Do You Decide If You Should Skip Leg Day?
If you experience knee pain, it can be challenging to decide whether to continue with your leg day routine or skip it. Knee pain is a common issue and can be caused by various factors such as injury, arthritis, overuse, or even poor posture.
There are two main questions you should ask yourself before deciding to skip leg day:
- What Caused The Pain?
It’s crucial to determine the cause of the pain before deciding to skip leg day. Consult with a medical professional to identify if the pain is due to an injury or an underlying condition that needs to be addressed. If it’s an injury, skipping leg day may be necessary to allow the knee to heal.
- How severe is the pain?
If your knee pain is mild, you may be able to perform some leg exercises with modifications. However, if the pain is severe, it’s best to avoid exercises that put stress on the knee joint.
What Exercises Can I Do If I Skip Leg Day?
We understand how skipping leg day because of knee injury can be frustrating. Luckily, this doesn’t mean you can’t still stay active and continue working out. So, we have compiled a list of exercises that you can do when skipping leg day:
- Take Up Yoga: To improve your flexibility as well as range of motion, yoga is the key. You can try various yoga asanas or poses that will work your upper body, core, and even your glutes without putting too much pressure on your knees. Also, you can try stretching as it can help to reduce any muscle tension you may have and even prevent injury.
- Focus On Upper Body Strength Training: Upper body strength training is an excellent way to stay active and maintain your fitness levels even when you are unable to do leg exercises. Opt for exercises such as bench press, push-ups, pull-ups, shoulder press, bicep curls, and tricep dips as these will work your chest, back, shoulders, and arms.
- Try Water Exercises: If you have access to a swimming pool, water exercises are low-impact and can be an excellent option if you have knee pain. You could opt for swimming, water aerobics, or aqua jogging as they can help you work your muscles without putting too much pressure on your knees.
- Go For Core Exercises: Core exercises, such as planks, crunches, and bicycle crunches, are perfect to work your abdominal muscles and improve your balance and stability. You can do core exercises even with no equipment or with equipment like an exercise ball or resistance bands.
- Do Low Impact Cardiovascular Exercises: If you want to improve your cardiovascular health and continue to keep in shape while you let your legs rest, go for low impact cardiovascular exercises such as swimming, walking, jogging or rowing. They are most ideal for working your heart and lungs.
Read more: Should you do skipping before or after your bodyweight workout?
Read more: Yoga for Sciatica
What Lower Body Workout Can I Do If My Knee Hurts?
If your pain is not too severe and your doctor says you can still do different types of exercises that won’t put too much pressure on your knees, here are some lower body exercises you can opt for without putting much pressure on your knees.
- Leg Extensions: These are an isolation exercise that will target your quadriceps. All you have to do is sit in a leg extension machine and lift the weight by extending your knees. It is a great way to build strength in your quads without putting pressure on your knees.
- Seated Leg Press: This is a popular exercise that works the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. However, traditional leg press machines require you to push the weight away from you, putting pressure on your knees. The seated leg press, on the other hand, allows you to push the weight up and away from your body, taking the pressure off your knees. This machine is available in most gyms and is a great alternative to squats and lunges.
- Hip Thrusts: If you want to work on your hamstrings, glutes and lower back while you wait for your knees to heal, hip thrusts are perfect. As you will have to lie on your back with your knees bent, feet on the ground, and lift your hips off the floor, there won’t be much strain on your knees. They can be done with just your body weight or with added resistance such as a barbell or dumbbells.
If you’re a workout fiend or a gym rat, you must know how hard skipping leg days can be. But you must bear in mind that it is necessary to listen to your body and take the right precautions to prevent further injury. Good news is you can still stay active and maintain your fitness levels, by adding upper body strength training, core exercises, cardiovascular exercises, yoga, stretching, and water exercises to your workout routine. We do advise that you remember to consult your doctor or physical therapist before starting any new exercise routine.
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