How to Workout in a Boot Cast: 20 Exercises You Can Do With A Lower-body Injury


I put my old personal training education back to work and wrote down all of that I could do in a boot cast.

You’ve just had a lower-body injury and are in a boot cast. What do you do to stay active? DON’T GIVE UP! Many exercises can be done while wearing the boot cast, including squats, lunges, crunches, pushups, and more. This article will show you 20 different moves to improve your heart rate, even with an injured leg or foot.

Fast forward to when I broke my ankle – – I’ve been in a boot cast for four weeks. After 3.5 weeks, I started to get stir-crazy, and I knew I needed to get back into the gym and start moving my body. My leg injury had me laid up on the couch for quite a while, but once I could comfortably walk in my boot without any pain, I knew it was time to start exercising again. Working out with a foot injury takes some planning and approval from a doctor, but it is possible.

You may or may not know that before my Studio 29 Photography business went wild, I was a Personal Trainer at Bally Total Fitness Fitness and a fitness boot camp instructor at a gym on Pewaukee Lake.

Once I got the green light from my doctor to return to the gym, I put my old personal training education back to work and wrote down all of the exercises I could safely do with a leg injury in a boot cast. The good news: you can do a handful of activities in my boot cast! I am not letting my leg injury keep me from getting a good workout!

I haven’t been able to play ice hockey all summer, and I hope I will be fully recovered and ready to rock when the winter league starts! I want to have endurance and strength as soon as I get back onto the ice.

DISCLAIMER NOTE: I have Personal Training Credentials, but I am NOT a doctor or a physical therapist. This is not medical advice. It is essential to get the proper approval from your medical Doctor. Please do not use my advice over your Doctors.

Get Ready for Your Workout

Before beginning your workout do some stretches. Be sure to stretch the muscles around your injury as well as those on the opposite leg. A good warm-up is essential, so be sure to introduce yourself before beginning any workout routine properly.

Be Safe and Smart

Getting the proper approval for working out from your medical Doctor is extremely important. If any of these exercises cause pain or discomfort, don’t continue with them – instead, perform an exercise that does not hurt.

What if I can’t do these exercises?

This workout may not be for you if your movement is extremely limited due to the boot cast. If it is challenging to balance, use a chair or table as support while performing squats and other similar moves.

How long should I wait before starting these exercises??

Be sure to check with your doctor before beginning any new workout routine. If you are cleared for this activity, start slowly and gradually increase the intensity as time goes on. Listen to your body and stop if you feel any pain.

What muscles will these exercises work?

All of the 20 moves in this workout will work all areas of your leg, including quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, ankles, and hip flexors.

20 Workout Exercises You Can Do in A Walking Boot Cast

or Lower-Body Injury

Do you have an injury to your lower body? Combine these 20 exercises to improve your heart rate while still getting a good workout in a boot cast!

Core Exercises in a Walking Cast

1. Bicycle Crunches: Bicycle crunches will work your rectus abdominus, hips, and obliques. Elevating your legs targets your lower abs and the rotating targets your obliques, and the pedaling motion works your hips.

2. Straight Arm or Forearm Plank (I rested my right leg with the boot cast on top of my other leg): This simple core exercise builds the abdominals and back muscles.

3. Leg Raises: Leg raises are an effective move to target your abs and build your core strength. Unlike crunches, leg raises target your lower stomach muscles. I don’t know why, but leg raises are one of my favorite exercises.

4. Russian Twists w/ Medicine Ball: Not only do Russian Twists target the rectus abdominis, but it also hits the external obliques and internal obliques. Bye-bye, love handles!

5. Scissors: Scissors is an abdominal exercise that strengthens the transverse abdominals. They are great because scissors will also give you a great stretch in your hamstrings and lower back.

girl doing crunches with boot cast  girl in plank with boot castworkout with boot cast

RELATED: The Best Ankle Sprain Exercises for at Home

Lower Body Exercises in a Walking Cast

6. Donkey Kicks: Donkey kicks work your glutes, core, and shoulders. Remember not to arch your lower back as you lift your leg.

7. Side Leg Raises (laying down is best with the boot cast): Side leg raises involve abducting your leg from your midline. It’s a straightforward way to build strength in your outer thighs and the hip abductors.

8. Glute Bridge (Raises + Marches): Bridges are great and burn like crazy when you get your reps up! Bridge exercises will work your glutes, core, lower back, and your hips.

9. Sumo Squats: Sumo Squats work your glutes, hip flexors, quads, hamstrings, and calves. Because your wide-leg positioning of the sumo squat also works the inner thighs.

10. Standing Glute Kickback: This exercise, you guessed it! Focuses on your glutes.

squat press with boot cast 

Upper Body Exercises in a Walking Cast

10. Pull-Ups: This exercise helps in working out  Biceps, Middle & Lower Back/Lats, Shoulders, Upper Back/Traps

11. Free Weight Standing/Sitting Curls: This exercise helps in working out your Biceps.

12. Free Weight Standing/Sitting Reverse Curls: The primary target muscles of reverse curls are the biceps brachii and brachialis. In addition, reverse curls can alleviate elbow pain and strengthen the brachioradialis of your forearm.

push up with boot cast

13. Free Weight Sitting/Standing/Lying Overhead Tricep Extension: This exercise targets your Triceps.

14. Free Weight Standing Upright Rows: This exercise targets your back and shoulders (traps and deltoids).

15. Free Weight Standing Front Raises: Front raises primarily target the front of your shoulders.

16. Modified Push-Ups (knees on the ground): A modified push-up with knees on the ground is an exercise variation that allows individuals to perform push-ups with reduced difficulty and strain on the upper body.

18. Free Weight Dead Lifts (works upper and lower body): This exercise works a handful of muscles; your Quadriceps, Glutes, Adductor Magnus (Inner Thigh), Hamstrings, Erectors, Lats, Traps, Rhomboids, Abdominals & Obliques

19. Battle Ropes: You can wave, slam, or whip the battle ropes to move in many directions. Battle ropes strengthen your core, arms, biceps, shoulders, quads, and glutes – your entire body.

20. Hammer Curl Combo; Right Hammer Curl Shoulder Press – Left Hammer Curl Shoulder PressThis combo is fun! It works your biceps, shoulders, triceps, and upper chest.

rope exercise with boot cast  workout in boot cast

Mix and Match these exercises to get your heart rate going! This is a great way to work out still when you have a leg or ankle injury. And then, after your workout, rest and drink tons of water!

If you are looking for more fun workout ideas, whether you are in a boot cast or not, check out DAREBEE. It’s my favorite site to find fun workouts when I am too lazy to come up with my own.


workout boot cast graphic

Join the Conversation

  1. Hi Ren
    Thanks for these exercises. I’m in a boot for 12 weeks after tearing my achilles. These are really helpful to build up my core and upper body strength. Hope you are all healed.

    1. Ren Lenhof Author says:

      oh jeeze!!! get well soon!!!!

  2. Loved your work out! Great exercises and tips! It may benefit others who are none weight bearing on one side or another to show them how to get up and down off the ground. It may seem easy until you do it without touching that limp to the ground!

    1. Ren Lenhof Author says:

      Oh, that is a great idea! Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts!! 🙂

  3. This was a really good article to read. I’ve been in a walking boot for a week, it’s been 4 weeks since surgery. (Broken ankle, fractured fibula, torn ligament). I know it will take some time, but this is definately something to work on getting to… while i recover… thank you!

    1. Ren Lenhof Author says:

      thanks for reading!!! Hope you heal fast!!!!

  4. Amy Wilson says:

    Having BTDT for years, I can recommend doing most of the upper body work while sitting on an exercise ball. It takes most of the weight off your bad foot, plus you get extra core work from the ball. Seated marches are a good one. It’s also a lot easier if you do core work on a ball or bench because then you don’t have to get up from the floor.

  5. Kelly Garvin says:

    Oh my goodness, thank you!! I am not the only one working out with a boot cast! Hope you are doing well!!

  6. Wow!! I needed this. I was wondering what workout I can do. I have been in a boot for 4 weeks and it’s at least 4 more to go. Thank you!

  7. Thanks for these exercises , I’ve broken a bone in my foot recently and I run most days and I’m going stir crazy already? it’s only been a couple of days in my boot when do you think I can start doing these exercises please?

    1. Ren Lenhof Author says:

      Hi! I’m so sorry about your foot! That is the worst!! 🙁 I would recommend waiting at least 2-3 weeks to let any swelling go down. But, I am not a doctor – so if you are concerned about getting into exercise too soon I would check with your primary. 🙂 Thanks so much for reading! Wishing you a speedy recovery!

  8. Cannot thank you enough for this great list of exercises. Just ended up in an aircast!

  9. Reading this while back in the boot and on crutches for the third time in the last year(total ankle reconstructionlast March and 2 tibial shaft stress fractures since then)…. Clams, fire hydrants, and lying hip 4-way are some other good ones. I like doing flutters and Scissor kicks… setting up various objects and lifting your legs up and over them while seated with legs extended is a fun way to change it up and challe ge different muscles as well!

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