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Best Cardio Equipment For Bad Knees


If you’re looking for the best cardio equipment for bad knees, there are a few different types that you can try. These include recumbent exercise bikes, elliptical trainers, sleds, and row machines. Let’s take a look at each type and how it can benefit you while minimizing joint pain or further knee injury.

Here’s some information to help you decide which one to buy. Whether you have bad knee joints or knee problems, here are a few examples of the best exercise equipment to complete necessary cardio exercises.

Recumbent Bikes

A great option for cardiovascular equipment for bad knees or weight loss overall is the recumbent bike. These bikes offer a unique set of benefits, including adjustable seats, back support, and foot cages. The recumbent position allows for increased relaxation, which can extend the workout session.

In addition, recumbent bikes feature front pedals, which reduce the strain on the knees or the necessity to hold an individual’s full body weight. The pedals are large and have straps for stability and comfort. People with bad knees should opt for inward pedals to avoid knee pain.


Some of the best models come with a digital console that displays information like speed, distance, time spent working out, and calories burned. The console should be easy to use and offer accurate results. Another important feature to look for is comfort.

The seat is comfortable and adjustable, and the handlebars for the upper body have textured grips that are easy to hold even when sweating. Many models of recumbent bikes have a USB connectivity port that allows users to store their progress on a computer.

Some of the best recumbent bikes for low-impact activity are adjustable and have many different levels of resistance settings. The adjustable resistance makes it easy to adjust to the intensity of circular motion you want to achieve. Choose a low resistance level for your knee injuries, initially, to reduce the strain on your leg muscles.

These bikes also have oversized seats that reduce the strain on the hip joints, ensuring good posture and also being mindful of those with bad backs. Lastly, some models have hand pulse sensors to monitor your heart rate.

The seat should be comfortable and supportive. A recumbent bike should be able to carry a person up to 300 pounds making it a good choice for individuals to get a whole body workout no matter their fitness level. The seat should be able to accommodate people who are five feet three inches or taller.

If the seat is too low for you make sure to adjust the foot pedals prior to starting your workout routine. The adjustable backrest should be comfortable for you to use. Make sure you check the weight limit of the recumbent bike before you buy it.

Best Overall

The best recumbent bike for bad knees should be comfortable for you. If you’re looking for the best exercise machines for bad knees, you should check out the Exerpeutic 900XL.

This is the best choice for beginners since NordicTrack makes premium recumbent bikes. You’ll also find them affordable and compact. There’s no need to pay too much for a good recumbent bike if it doesn’t suit your space.

Elliptical Machine

Using an elliptical machine can also be an effective workout for people with bad knees. This machine can accommodate individuals with knee issues while providing a full-body workout. An elliptical training machine places the entire body in a vertical manner, which simulates running, stair climbing, and skiing movements.

These machines, unlike the previously mentioned activities, don’t put too much pressure on the user, as high-impact cardio exercises would. Additionally, this option doesn’t offer a full range of motion, which is beneficial for the integrity and function of an acutely injured knee joint. Instead, you must remain grounded on a platform with your feet planted.

Most people do not mind the artificial gait this mimics and it has been noted by occupational and physical therapists alike as a great choice for working out a few of the major muscle groups.



Adjustable handles are essential for a comfortable ride. Elliptical trainers should offer a handlebar for support for the lower back and hips. A heart rate monitor is another helpful feature, and many have pre-programmed or customizable workouts for different fitness levels. Several models offer a tablet holder, water bottle holder, MP3 player, and multi-speed cooling fans.

When an individual with joint problems begins training with an elliptical they should begin slowly and increase intensity as necessary. Choose a machine with adjustable resistance to avoid straining the knee. For better ergonomics, choose an elliptical with a 17-inch stride length.

The machine should also be comfortable to use. This article explores a few features of the best elliptical for bad knees.


When choosing an elliptical trainer for bad knees, make sure to take a few minutes to warm up your body and stretch. After a day at work, try walking for a short distance on a treadmill or using a low setting on an elliptical trainer. Also, wear a sturdy arch support shoe to prevent knee alignment issues.

Also, try to avoid slouching. Keep your body straight while you’re exercising and use the handlebars to balance yourself and offload your lower extremities.

There are many benefits to using an elliptical trainer. These machines are great for building muscle, and they can help those with bad knees strengthen their lower bodies. They’re also a great way to get in shape and maintain your overall fitness.

Make sure to choose a comfortable machine before purchasing one. If you’re unsure, try one or multiple at your local gym to make sure you’re getting the best machine for you.


Author’s Pick for Best Cardio Equipment For Bad Knees

The ideal choice is the use of a sled. This full-body workout provides low impact, enhances core strength, and personally, has drastically elevated the way I feel post-knee surgery. There are plenty of options to incorporate a sled into your exercise routine.

The sled is one of the easiest home exercise machines to buy, use, and store. The benefits I have reaped while utilizing this strength training are phenomenal.

I used to think pulling a sled for resistance training wasn’t conducive to me reaching my fitness goals. How wrong I was. If you are using proper form, this piece of equipment can completely alter the function or condition of your knees.

Before using sleds, I used to complete countless hours of aerobic exercise, resulting in sore knees for days. I tried all kinds of training, desperately trying to find the right kind of exercise to alleviate my constant state of pain and discomfort.


The best part about this good alternative, if you are unsure, is all you need is an area with flat surfaces, a rope, and something roughly 50 pounds to tie it to. This crude setup can provide a good workout, prompt tons of blood to rush to the knee joint, and provide substantial pain relief.


Hydrow rower

If you’re looking for the best rowing machine for bad knees, the Hydrow rower might be a perfect choice. It’s quieter than air rowers, and the rowing motion is smoother, thanks to a belt rather than a chain.

This equipment is easy to maintain and doesn’t require any moving parts. You can adjust the seat and monitor so they are at the ideal height for you, and the rower can be stored upright or tipped up.


Hydrow’s software lets users create unlimited profiles, and over 1,000 pre-recorded studio and river sessions make it easy to find an exercise that matches your goals, giving you the feel of having your own personal trainer.

However, customers can download an app to their smartphone to make the experience even more convenient. But it can’t replace a large HD screen.

Hydrow’s patented technology simulates the rowing motion along a river using a 10-roller system and electromagnetic computer-controlled resistance. To get started, simply position yourself on the Hydrow, straighten your back, tighten your core and push back with your lower body. Pull your hands toward your chest and release as you go.

To get the most out of your workout, keep your feet securely strapped in. Hydrow is Bluetooth and WiFi enabled, and the monitor can swivel up to 25 degrees.

The next time you’re in the gym, look at the Hydrow rower. This is one of the best cardio machines for bad knees because it provides an upper-body workout with each stroke while getting you the cardio and strength you need for your legs. This machine also doesn’t require a large space and is suitable for all fitness levels.


The best machines for bad knees are those that provide low-impact and full-body workouts. The sled and Hydrow rower are both excellent choices that can help you stay fit and pain-free. Be sure to consult with a doctor, or occupational or physical therapist before starting any new exercise routine.