Because of a knee injury (right knee) I'm looking for ways to keep my upper body in shape until the injury is over.

I've already found some exercises to keep my arms in shape without using my leg(s) so I'm mostly looking for exercises to train my abs. I've tried regular sit-ups but I believe these may put too much stress on my knee over a long period of time. Any advice is appreciated.

(I'm in early 20s, amateur and prefer to exercise at home)

  • When you say regular situps, do you mean bent-leg situps where your knee is bent and your feet are on the ground? I don't see where this would put strain on the knee. If it is bending that hurts the knee, then consider resting your feet on a bench or chair to reduce the angle.
    – BillN
    Commented Jan 7, 2013 at 16:50
  • Did you have to go, or were you assigned physical therapy? What knee injury specifically?
    – BryceH
    Commented Jan 7, 2013 at 18:52
  • @Grohlier I didn't have physical therapy. I don't know a lot of english anatomy terms but basically where the bone above my knee meets the bone beneath my knee, there is no marrow. This results in pain when it is frequently bent/stretched or when there is a lot of pressure on my knee (i.e. standing on one leg). BillN The first case where my feet are on the ground. I think the pain may have been from getting up/lying down frequently rather than from the situps themselves. I'll however try putting my feet on a chair since that should help aswell. Thanks
    – Aerus
    Commented Jan 7, 2013 at 22:31

2 Answers 2


You can do sit-ups isolating the one leg which you have injured. Planks might help you a little but they are not all that challenging for the abs area after one moment onwards.

The only exercise that I can think of right now that will completely isolate your knee(and is not very advanced) is the dragon flag. It got popular thanks to bruce lee who introduced it to the world in his active years. The exercise primarily targets the abdominal muscle area of your body, it will also work out your arms a tad bit and completely leave the legs to rest. Below you can see snapshot of Bruce Lee performing it.

Dragon flag, Bruce Lee

There's a video tutorial that I had released couple years ago explaining the progression methods that you can use in order to learn the exercise. What's great about this exercise is that no matter which progression you start with, it will provide your abs with an immense workout from the very beginning. Here's a link to the tutorial I am talking about, if you have any questions fire away at me! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zf0Skpkag50 (Disclosure: The video materials are mine)

  • 1
    Can you explain what you mean by "Planks... are not all that challenging for the abs area after one moment onwards"? Do you mean that planks are a hard position to assume, but then are easy to hold? Commented Jan 7, 2013 at 18:06
  • Hello, no I mean that the body easily gets used to them. Then after a while the athlete will need to stay in the position for several minutes in order to feel anything in the abdominal area. Which will lead to endurance training and won't do much in terms of strength and muscle mass gains. I am sorry I did not make my point clear enough!
    – Arthlete
    Commented Jan 7, 2013 at 18:32
  • Many thanks. The video you posted is also very helpful and informative.
    – Aerus
    Commented Jan 7, 2013 at 22:23
  • I am glad, let me know if you have any questions! :)
    – Arthlete
    Commented Jan 8, 2013 at 4:07

I don't know what would aggravate your knee injury or not, but I would give planks a try. They're a good abs exercise in general, and they don't involve any movement of any joints, just a static hold.

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