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Q. I have bad knees and some exercises from the BFL book hurt - do I have any options?


This thread is about how to continue to do BFL if your knees have issues. This is NOT a doctor recommended thing - it's my personal way of working around bad knees that I've had since I was a gymnast. If you are experiencing PAIN - go to a doctor and work with them. If you however just have a known weakness and are looking for specific exercises that won't aggravate that weakness, these may be for you!


Well - first things first - make sure you have knee braces. :-) I keep two - three levels around the house for this type of thing (which is a bit expensive if you don't already have them, but I've been collecting for YEARS!) :-)

I find that I use the super duper side re-enforced brace around the house in the evening for the first day or two after any evidence that I've strained or injured my knees (plus a nice side dose of rest, elevation, ibuprofen and ice). Then the next time I go to the gym I wear the lighter weight brace - but for cardio I tend to use swimming, the elliptical machine or bike for about a month (just to let me (re-)build the surrounding muscle in a non joint stressing way).

For LBWO - I've put below some exercises I've got on my "pick" list that I can swap in when my knees start hurting. The best thing you can do is take it slowly, and ramp back a bit on your current weights if they hurt; alternatively, try these for 4 weeks while your knee heals and then go back into the more normal BFL weight bearing stretches slowly (and potentially with lower weight) once the knee stops hurting so much.

Back - lie on the ground and do the superman - No knee impact; and holding it for varying lengths of time, or with varying arm locations (such as behind your head to out in front of you) can really work both the glutes and the lower back.

Stomach - I'm fond of V-Sits and L hangs if you've got space - again, no knee impact or much bending (which when my knees hurt seems like a good idea).

Quadriceps - This is the hardest - almost everything that targets the quads seems to require bending your knee! This is the one that always seems to end up sending me to the pool; because that way I can bend my knee; but NOT have my weight on it. I use resistance bands in the pool to work the quads; for instance looping the resistance band under your foot when your knee is bend and then straightening your leg. I suppose you could do this on your back at the house if you had a band... I haven't tried that though, so if you do, let me know how it goes. :-)

Hamstrings - Stiff legged dead lifts - (stay away from that curl machine) - if you don't know what these are, this is a good site to read:

Calves - The going on toe thing with varying levels of weights is a personal favourite (among other things because it can be done anywhere, any time.)

Hips - I love the dance thing where you use a resistance band (tighter band = more intensity) and just lift your leg in a direction - front, side or back; knees straight, bent or anywhere in between that's comfortable. If you have a gym membership - try abductor machines - often they don't require you to bend you knee either. I actually add this to my LBWO, but you aren't required to on BLF's exercise program.

Just to say it - for those that feel they aren't working as hard as they could if they don't do "standard" BFL exercises - these exercises are better than nothing, and will build muscle - maybe muscles you haven't been targeting with your other exercises. So don't look at this as a setback, just a chance to find a new (and maybe safer) way to work potentially NEW muscle combinations! :-)

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