Squat Alternatives for "Bad Knees"

Do you have knee pain during your squat? You tried taking a break from your exercise routine, you came back and you are still experiencing that pain. This can be a very frustrating cycle to get caught in, but fear not, there is a solution to getting out of this vicious cycle. The reason you are still experiencing this nagging ache is because you haven't addressed the movement dysfunction that caused this “overuse” or “irritation” of those tissues.
The second concept that most people miss is that the body requires stress while it is healing to ensure it is healing properly to decrease the likelihood of this issue recurring. Because of this here at Xcel we try to avoid pulling you completely out of your sport while you are going through the rehab process. What we do instead is modify the activity or movement pattern that is causing you pain.

With that said below are a few different ways you can modify your squatting pattern so you can continue to squat while overcoming whatever aches and pains you may be having. 

  1. The first and most obvious: decrease the amount of weight. 
    • This is especially true if you are only experiencing this issue at certain weights
  2. Decrease your volume
    • Sometimes the total volume that you are performing of that specific exercise is too much for your system to handle. 
  3. Decrease the depth of your squat
    • This concept is more important if you are only feeling your pain at a certain depth in the squat
  4. Perform box squats
    • This is an easy way to modify the depth of your squat and maintain control of the movement. Having the box as a target to aim to gives your brain a cue that the movement is safe to perform and you may have improved control.
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  1. Perform a goblet squat
    • Goblet squats are a great way to learn to keep your torso upright during your squat. As well as increase the involvement of the hips during the movement.
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  1. Perform split squats
    • These are my favorite way to modify a squat because it will also help address any asymmetries that may be present. These can be performed like in picture below or with the front or rear foot elevated.
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Try these modifications if you are having issues with your squat. Make sure you are also seeking the help you need to correct the movement dysfunctions that brought on the issue. Click the button below to get in contact with one of our specialists.


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