While certain types of exercise are off limits when you have “bad knees,” Xtend Barre is a low-impact program that builds on a foundation of dance and Pilates to build strength and mobility from head to toe.
This translates into “real world” fitness that can help you And Your knees throughout your day.
“In general, barre exercises are often incredibly gentle on joints, including the knees,” says Andrea Rogers, creator of the Xtend Barre program. “Because of that, they’re a really good choice for knees.”
Andrea shares her expert tips for getting the most out of your barre workouts while keeping your knees safe
Can I Do Xtend Barre If I Have Bad Knees?
If you have a “bad knee” or any other type of physical limitation or injury, consult your doctor before beginning any fitness program including Xtend Barre.
That said, Xtend Barre is Low impact, meaning it’s easier on your joints.
In addition, barre workouts can help reduce your risk of injury by increasing mobility and strength throughout your body, including the small, stabilizing muscles that support your knees.
“We’ve seen in our group that people with knee problems—some say they can’t comfortably do any other type of workout—have success with barre,” she says. “It comes with timing and consistency and strong, form-focused movement.”
Whether it’s your first barre class or your 50th, Andrea will constantly remind you to watch your form and alignment, and she offers modifications to keep you safe while still gaining strength, flexibility and confidence.
How to make Xtend Barre easier on the knees
Curious about Andrea’s workout, but need a little more TLC for your joints? Here are six ways to make Xtend Barre easier on your knees.
1. Focus on form and alignment
You’ll get plenty of reminders from Andrea throughout your 30-minute workout.
He urges you to pay more attention to how you’re holding your body and how your joints are aligned than trying to complete a certain number of reps.
No matter how low you go, think about keeping your hips, knees and feet aligned, she says.
2. Perfect your bends
Your “perfect” plié doesn’t have to be a deep one, says Andrea. It just has to show good form.
- Open your legs from your hips, not your knees. External rotation should come from your thigh bone outwards from your hip socket – your knees should never rotate. (Remember: Your hip is a ball-and-socket joint designed for multi-directional movement and rotation, while your knee is a hinge designed for movement in a single plane.)
- Keep your knees tracking between each foot, ideally in line with your second or third toes.
- Do not let your knee swing in and out (toward your big toe or pinky toe).
- With control, go as low as feels comfortable.
3. Shorten your steps
If you feel any discomfort or struggle to execute the step correctly, adjust your form to reduce stress on your body (for example, don’t bend your legs as wide or sink into the movement).
The key is to find your “challenge zone” where you’re going all out but still stay safe and work within the speed limit that’s right for you, says Andrea.
Just slowing down your movement can help, says Andrea. Rushing through the exercises won’t build more strength—but it does to be able to Put pressure on your joints.
5. Change your “vote”.
You’ll hear this term often in barre class, and it refers to the external rotation of your femurs in your hip socket.
If you have knee problems, ask your doctor what’s right for you, advises Andrea. Or adjust your position until you’re comfortable.
“Some people perform better with greater external rotation of the hips,” she says, pointing the legs at a wider angle.
Others feel better with their legs and feet closer to parallel.
6. Skip the jump
Xtend Barre includes some challenging movements, including optional ballet jumps.
But Andrea says you can still get a great workout even if you skip.
“Eliminating ballet jumps can be easy on your knees,” she says