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Can I Use Kettlebells if I Have Bad Knees?

author image Judy Kilpatrick
For Judy Kilpatrick, gardening is the best mental health therapy of all. Combining her interests in both of these fields, Kilpatrick is a professional flower grower and a practicing, licensed mental health therapist. A graduate of East Carolina University, Kilpatrick writes for national and regional publications.
Can I Use Kettlebells if I Have Bad Knees?
A kettlebell with a woman stretching in the background. Photo Credit: AmmentorpDK/iStock/Getty Images

Kettlebells can be used in place of resistance bands, barbells and dumbbells during weight-training exercises, even if you have bad knees. However, many kettlebell exercises involve a swinging motion. If you do this type of exercise, avoid torquing or twisting at the knee during swings. The key to using kettlebells for exercise when you have bad knees is to use light- to moderate-weight kettlebells and perform low-impact exercises, avoiding jogging, jumping or other jerky motions. Consult your medical doctor before you begin a new exercise routine.

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Benefits of Kettlebells for Bad Knees

Bad knees can result from a number of problems, including osteoarthritis and injury. However, two journal articles shed light on the benefits of exercise for these conditions. In "Exercise and Knee Osteoarthritis: Benefit or Hazard?" Dr. Neil Bosomworth indicates that strength-building exercises can reduce pain and increase functional capacity. And Jason Brumitt et al., in "Incorporating Kettlebells into a Lower Extremity Sports Rehabilitation Program," says kettlebell exercises are beneficial in the repair-and-healing and maturation-and-remodeling phases of rehabilitation.

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