This 15-minute, low-impact workout builds strength all over without using weights

Build full-body muscle without putting extra strain on your knees with this low-impact routine

person doing squat
(Image credit: Getty Images/Oleg Breslavtsev)

Getting a good workout doesn't mean you have to do hundreds of burpees or never-ending jumping jacks; you can still get a killer session without these high-impact movements.

This devilishly simple routine from instructor Elise Young features five bodyweight moves that will get your heart pumping without a jumping-exercise in sight. 

Watch the video below for a demonstration of each of the exercises, then perform each one for 45 seconds followed by 15 seconds of rest. Complete three rounds of this sequence for a 15-minute workout. 

It's a simple sequence, but an intense one. Make sure you've got some water nearby to hydrate and do a cool-down afterwards, to get your heartrate back to its normal rhythm. 

Watch Elise Young's low impact workout

As you work through this routine, you'll feel muscles all over your body spring into action. That's because the workout uses a series of compound exercises, which target various muscle groups at once. 

For example, the push-up open exercise activates the chest, shoulders and triceps (the muscles running down the back of the upper arm) while simultaneously serving up a spicy core workout as your midsection muscles work to keep your body balanced and stable. 

Low-impact workouts like this one are useful if you have sore knees and ankles. However, it still has some demanding moves thrown into the mix (anyone with tender wrists won't like those plank movements). If you're looking for exercise that is even gentler on the joints, you could try swimming, cycling or rowing.

We've also pulled together several yoga flows for anyone with joint issues. You could try this eight-move yoga flow for knee pain if that's a problem-area for you, or have a go at this wrist-free yoga sequence, which won't put any pressure through your arms and hands.

Lois Mackenzie
Fitness Writer

Lois Mackenzie is a Fitness Writer for Fit&Well and its sister site Coach, covering strength training workouts with weights, accessible ways to stay active at home, and training routines for runners. She joined the team from Newsquest Media Group, where she was a senior sports, trends, and lifestyle reporter. She is a dedicated runner, having just completed her first marathon, and an advocate for spending time outdoors, whether on a walk, taking a long run, or swimming in the sea. 

Lois holds a Master's degree in Digital Journalism, and has written for Good Health, Wellbeing & The Great Outdoors,, and Newsquest Media Group, where her reporting was published in over 200 local newspapers.