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Is a Cross Trainer Good for Bad Knees?

Is a Cross Trainer Good for Bad Knees?

A cross trainer can be a great option to consider for exercising even if you are suffering from knee pain. These machines (when used correctly) allow you to exercise without causing joint pains. They are also great for cardio workouts as they don’t put a lot of impact on your knees. To understand whether cross trainers are good or bad for you, first it’s important to understand how these machines work and how they affect your joints.

Knee Pain and Exercise

Knee pain is a common complaint among people who exercise frequently. For example, running requires you to jump up and down. This exercise put a lot of stress on your joints and causes severe issues if not looked after. Some people develop runner’s knee or chondromalacia patellae which is a condition where the cartilage on the kneecap becomes soft. This condition is common in young athletes but may also occur in older adults. When this condition occurs, you need to rest and then start your exercise.

Older people, on the other hand, develop something called osteoarthritis. This is also a common complaint among older folks who have been running their whole life. If you are one of these people, you should stay away from high impact exercises. You can try physical therapy or try some low impact exercises such as a machine like a cross trainer.

Knee Pain and Cross Trainers

Cross training machine exercises are considered low impact. They don’t put a lot of pressure and stress on your joints and you can easily use these machines with bad knees. When you are using these machines, they feel a lot softer and provide more circular motion which is good for most people. There are a lot of health benefits of using cross trainers and I have listed some of them.

  • Cross trainers are very easy to use
  • Even beginners can start a basic fitness workout plan.
  • They cover full body workout
  • They help you burn calories quickly
  • Good for heart and muscles

However, if you think your cross training machine is giving you knee pain, you could be suffering from these common causes.


Over-exercising could lead to joint pains and you could be suffering from an overuse injury. When you overuse any exercise equipment, you develop a condition known as quadriceps tendinitis. It happens when your tendons move in a specific way, which leads to small tears.

A good way to reduce these problems is to take rests between exercises. You can also make an exercise schedule and then stick to it. Do not go for intense exercise if you are a beginner.

Using High Resistance Levels

Even though cross trainers are low impact and good for your bad knees, but that low impact doesn’t mean any impact. It can still cause discomfort if you use them at higher resistance levels for longer periods. When you use a cross trainer at a higher resistance, it puts a lot of stress on your ligaments, which results in joint pain.

Problems with your Tendons

Tendons are the connective tissues located at each end of a muscle. They attach muscles to bone and transmit the mechanical force of muscle contraction to the bones. If you feel sharp pain during or after the exercise, it means you have bad tendons and this condition is known as patella tendonitis. It is a common overuse injury caused by repeated stress on your patellar tendon. To avoid this problem, again, take rests between exercises and if you continue to feel this pain, consult your doctor. Do not continue your exercise with this pain as it can make things worse.

Issues with Biomechanics

A cross trainer or any other exercise machine that is not suitable for your body shape can cause pain in your body. For example, a cross trainer that is too wide can cause pain in your hips and joints. These machines use an unnatural motion that can put stress on your body.

How to Avoid Knee Pain while using Cross Trainers?

One of the best ways to avoid knee pain while using cross trainers is to use them correctly. If you have bad knees, you need to take some extra precautions to avoid any further injury. Below are a few tips to avoid injury and joint pain.

  • Wear some knee support. There are knee stabilisers available on the market that can be wrapped around your knees while workout. These stabilisers can take a little bit stress off your knees and reduce discomfort.
  • Folks with bad knees should never pedal backward. This adds stress on your joints and causes severe pain.
  • Identify what kind of knee pain you have. When you know exactly about your pains, you always come up with a better solution.
  • Never exercise for longer periods. Always take rests between intervals which reduce the chances of injury.
  • Always start with easy resistance levels. Never start your workout with a high resistance level as harsher resistance can cause greater pain.
  • Follow your doctor’s advice for home workouts. If your doctor has recommended you a workout plan, stick to it and don’t change anything.

So in conclusion, a cross trainer is a great way to exercise when you are suffering from joint pains. It is a low impact exercise that is even good for beginners. Certain tips and precautions should be considered when you want to exercise with bad knees to avoid further injuries.

Is a Cross Trainer Good for Bad Knees?