You are here:



QUESTION: Do you know of a 5 minute or so anaerobic routine that is easy on the back and knees.

Any tips will be appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

ANSWER: Hi Sallie, thanks for the question! I should start out by saying that if you were a client of mine with any sort of knee or back issues, I would suggest staying away from this type of training (anaerobic, HITT, sprint training, etc) until either proper care (physio, ice, time off, etc) has been given and cleared by a doctor or until enough strength has been built around the problematic areas and causes less discomfort. I would  normally suggest swimming (non-impact) or possibly a recumbent bike to start with. However, there are a few exercises that can be performed at a high pace that aren't knee related - such as push ups from the toes or crunches - however both of these movements can affect the back as well. Also, if your knees can withstand some impact, performing exercises such as step-ups or high knees (or simply marching in place) can definitely create an anaerobic state.

Here is a small 5 minute program that could be done with minimal knee and back involvement:

45 seconds - step ups with right leg (use a small stepper)
15 rest
45 seconds - step ups with left leg (use a small stepper)
15 rest
45 seconds - side to side steps
15 rest
45 seconds - push ups (from the wall)
15 rest
45 seconds - abdominal crunches from the floor

Sallie, I hope that I have answered your question and apologize if this is not what you were looking for. Good luck in your fitness journey!

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: In your opinion, is any of the exercises in the routine below at that link, easy on the back and knees like the plank saw, wideout, running in place, squats, etc

Any tips will be appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

ANSWER: Sallie,
Yes - but you will have to change each of the exercises. The first exercise, change it to a simple marching in place. I would not be recommending a plank saw to anyone with back issues but I would strongly suggest starting out with a plank from the knees (place a soft pillow or mat under them so they don't get too aggravated.) A plank saw has too many things going on and most people, even Dr. Oz in the video, can't hold his core enough to support that exercise. It's certainly not a beginner move in my opinion. A squat should not hurt the knees but unfortunately they do for many, many people. What I would suggest is to simply find a chair and sit down and stand up (and if you have light weights, incorporate the pressing action!). The additional cardio movements such as the jumping jacks should be avoided because of the high impact on the knees and back with the jumps. I would continue with marching in place or finding a small step, like a staircase step or small step stool, to step up and step down in a controlled manner.
I think it's awesome that you have found a 5 minute video you can do from the comfort of your home! Don't worry about having to change the exercises, if you keep it up, you will be able to do the whole version soon enough! I hope this helps, feel free to message back and I will answer any other questions you might have. Take care!

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you so much for all your help.

I just have a question about this statement below:

What I would suggest is to simply find a chair and sit down and stand up (and if you have light weights, incorporate the pressing action!).

To incorporate light weights when in the chair and I sit down and stand up.  Do I have the weights on my side and keep them on my side when I stand up and sit down in the chair?

What do you consider light weights 1lb to 3lbs?

Thanks in advance.

I apologize for the confusion. Yes, 1lb to 3lbs would be considered light weight. Like the video, the instructor and the host are holding the weights at their shoulders and pressing the weights overhead during the top of the squat (when they stand fully upright). Since you have some knee issues, I suggested using a chair to take some strain off of them so if you have the extra equipment, hold the weights at your shoulders while you sit on the chair and then once you stand up, bring the weights above your head and then back down. Once they are back down at your shoulders again, sit down in the chair. Once the exercise is down, place them back on the ground and continue with the modified versions of your exercise video. Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any more questions!


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Che Krause


I can answer questions regarding aerobic/cardiovascular exercise for different age groups/genders as well as provide solid science-based answers regarding strength training. I can answer questions regarding basic nutritional information (following the Canadian Food Guide) and will be able to back it with college-level research. I am unable to provide answers regarding specific diet planning (beyond the advice of the Canadian Food Guide)and I am not experienced in body-building and would be unfit for those questions as well.


I am currently a personal trainer for an all women's gym which deals with mainly weight-loss and minor rehabilitation exercise programs.

I have a two-year college diploma from NAIT in Edmonton as a Certified Personal Trainer.

©2017 All rights reserved.