Leg Workout for a Tender Back and Knees

I had a good workout today and I just wanted to share it with you. As someone who has some tender spots in my back and a few twinges in my knee training my lower body can be a constant frustration. Not only do I love training legs I also feel like a great lower body session does wonders for keeping me lean. A good leg day is time well spent.

As I am north of 40 (and getting closer to the big 50!) I’ve had to tweak, modify, and constantly change the way I train for the simple fact that I don’t want to stop and take up golf. So heavy back squats are off the table. I needed to find effective training without the aftershock of pain and discomfort.

I recently did a great lower body session that was easy on my knees, didn’t load my spine, and felt great. Here we go.


10 minutes on elliptical machine
1 set x 20 reps on seated leg curl, leg extension machine, and Romanian deadlifts with dumbbells



Standing calf raise: 3 x 10-15

Seated calf raise: 3 x 10-15

Superset: Seated leg curl 3 x 10-15 with walking lunge 3 rounds

Superset: Leg extension machine 3 x 20 with Romanian deadlift with dumbbells 3 x 10-15

Bulgarian split squat: 3 x 10-15

Leg press: 1 x 30-50


*Thoroughly stretch after training and done.


And that’s it! All sets are done deliberately and with as close to textbook form as possible. Happy lifting!


2 thoughts on “Leg Workout for a Tender Back and Knees

  1. Fantastic post — as a 50+ year-old who still likes to work out, you’ve covered the two limitations I have — some back issues and tender knees from an ACL reconstruction! The only part of your workout that I probably shouldn’t do is the leg extension as my physiotherapist says it can create some sheering force. Any recommendations for a substitute to a leg extension? Again, nice to see posts that deal with issues and limitations!


    1. Hi David,

      Thanks for the kind words. Yeah I get it, leg extensions can potentially hurt some knees. That’s why I go light, 20 reps or more, and squeeze at the top of each rep. But, you make a good point – one that I’m sure others will have. I would simply replace them with leg press or simply do the first three exercises as a circuit before moving on. Nothing too complicated.

      Thanks for the comment and let me know how you do.


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