Workout for Injured LegsOverview

A leg injury can seriously hamper your ability to exercise because most workouts, particularly aerobic, involve using your lower body. However, you can participate in exercises such as swimming, rowing, water aerobics and possibly elliptical training. Check with your doctor before beginning a new exercise program.


Swimming is one of the most popular therapeutic exercises. If you have sustained a leg injury, swimming can help keep your cardiorespiratory system in shape, without causing stress on your joints. Try a variety of strokes such as the side, butterfly, back and breast strokes to add variety to your workout.

Water Exercises

The weightlessness of water allows those with leg injuries to do exercises they are unable to do on land. Along with swimming, you can also engage in strength and cardio workouts with aquatic therapy. You can perform step moves, jumping jacks or water walking and jogging and have your joints cushioned by the water’s buoyancy.


Rowing is another cardio exercise that helps strengthen your upper body, burn calories and does not place stress on your legs. Your feet are strapped to footholds and you pull the handle bar toward your chest while leaning back, then push it outward while leaning forward. As long as your knees can bend to pull your body inward and push outward, you can use rowing as a regular workout with injured legs.

Elliptical Training

If your doctor gives you the OK, try elliptical training. The light weight placed on your legs may help your injury by strengthening and improving blood circulation in your lower body. Even though elliptical training is done in an upright position, it does not pose as great of a risk to an injured leg as walking or running. However, it mimics these exercises, without the stress on your joints and muscles.


Jona Friedman

About this Author

Jona Friedman began writing freelance articles for the “Sacramento Bee” in 2009. She has been a personal trainer for over nine years and holds a Bachelor of Science in exercise science from Long Beach State University. She has worked for California Family Fitness, Bally Total Fitness and Golds Gym. She is also a NASM-certified personal trainer.

Photo Credit: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Article reviewed by Kirk Ericson | Last updated on: 06/30/11

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