The Back-and-Knee-Friendly Lifting Workout You’ve Always Wanted


Back PainShoulder Pain | Knee Pain | Upper-Body Workout | Lower-Body Workout

Experts can talk all day about the right way to train through back and knee pain, but until you have a workout in front of you—or more specifically, a great pain-free workout behind you—it’s just talk.



This workout is all about training smarter, and harder, at the same time. It uses the most joint-friendly squat, lunge, and deadlift variations, but pushes the intensity to a level that even diehard lifters will appreciate. Don’t worry, you’ll earn your protein shake and then some.

This workout is built around the principles of pain-free training you can find in the Unstoppable guides to training through back, shoulder, and knee pain. In the full version of Unstoppable: The Ultimate Guide to Training Through Injury in BodyFit, you can see in-depth movement guides to help you apply these lessons to a wide range of workouts.

Here’s what else you need to know to get maximum benefit out of this workout:

  • Watch the full video workout playlist, if possible. There are tons of great movement-specific cues in each video, plus ideas about how to dial back or dial up intensity. 
  • The warm-up looks like a lot on paper, but it should take no longer than 8-10 minutes to perform, and it will make every movement that comes after it both stronger and safer. 
  • Dial back this workout’s volume based on your experience level, but perform the recommended warm-up or ramp-up sets before your working sets. 
  • Feel free to incorporate elements of this workout into other programs you may be following. If the only thing you take away from this workout is the warm-up routine, the legendary goblet squat test, and safe ways to push the intensity on lunges and RDLs, that could be enough to revolutionize your training!

Workout Video Playlist  

To view the complete playlist of videos from the workout, first click “play” to start the video. Then click the small rectangle icon near the lower right of the player screen to see the full list of the other videos.

Alternately, if you want to watch the entire workout, just click the play button and the videos will auto-play.

Back-and-Knee-Friendly Lifting Workout

Perform the exercises in order, resting as little as possible.
Foam Roll Thigh
1 set, 45 sec (left side, no rest)

Foam Roll Thigh
1 set, 45 sec (right side, no rest)

Foam Roll Upper Back
1 set, 30 sec (no rest)

Half-Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch
1 set, 10 reps (left side, no rest)

Half-Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch
1 set, 10 reps (right side, no rest)

Rocking Adductor Stretch
1 set, 10 reps (left side, no rest)

Rocking Adductor Stretch
1 set, 10 reps (right side, no rest)

Adductor Stretch With Thoracic Rotation
1 set, 30 sec (left side, no rest)

Adductor Stretch With Thoracic Rotation
1 set, 30 sec (right side)

MOVEMENT PATTERNING SUPERSET
Perform the exercises in order, resting as little as possible.
Goblet Squat
3 sets, 5 reps (no rest)

Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift
3 sets, 5 reps (no rest)

NERVOUS-SYSTEM-PRIMING SUPERSET
Perform the exercises in order, resting as little as possible.
Jumping Jack
3 sets, 5 reps (no rest)

Low Depth Jump
3 sets, 1-2 reps (no rest)

POWER PRIMER MOVEMENT
Perform 2-3 warm-up sets if needed, then 3 working sets with the same weight.
Cable Pull-Through
3 sets, 15-20 reps (rest 1 min.)

Goblet Squat

Perform between 5-7 sets, pyramiding up in weight from a very light weight to the maximum weight you can handle for 5 reps.

7 sets, 5 reps (rest 1 min.)

Goblet Squat

Use a dumbbell that weighs approximately half of your body weight.

1 set, 25 reps

FORWARD-TO-REVERSE LUNGE
Perform all the reps on one side before switching to the other side. Don’t rest between sides and rest 60-90 sec. between sets.
Forward-To-Reverse Lunge
4 sets, 8 reps (left side, no rest)

Forward-To-Reverse Lunge
4 sets, 8 reps (right side, rest 90 sec.)

Banded Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift
3 sets, 10 reps (rest 90 sec.)

Standing Calf Raise

Perform in as many mini-sets as necessary, using a weight you can handle for 20-25 reps. When you hit failure, rest for 10 sec. and start again.

1 set, 100 reps

Love lifting heavy? Take care of your joints so you can keep coming back for years.

Source: bodybuilding.com

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