Squats can be a super effective lower body exercise, but if they weigh on your knees, don’t sweat it: you can do a great knee-friendly exercise, It still targets your legs and hips. In fact, we have a great four-step routine that will brighten up your lower body without involving squats at all!
So why do squats drive your knees crazy? Many reasons. For example, mistakes (such as a collapsed knee or a toe or heel lift off the ground) or limited hip or ankle mobility can lead to knee deterioration, ACE-certified personal trainer Sivan Fagan, CPT, owner of Strong With, tells SELF. A certified trainer or physical therapist can help correct technique and mobility issues to relieve your knee pain, but you may also need to avoid exercises that involve a lot of knee flexion (knee flexion), such as squats, jumping, and certain types of lunge.
Remember that strength training doesn’t have to look a certain way or include certain exercises to be effective. No An all-around “best” workout: The best strength training workout is one that works for your body and makes you feel good—meaning you’ll want to stick with it. So even though you might think lower body exercises should include squats, of course they don’t have to be, especially if they don’t make you feel physically fit Great.
“There are many other exercises that do this that don’t involve a full knee bend ,” Fagan said.
Exercises that do not include heavy knee flexion include deadlift variations, glute bridges, and hip thrusts, which focus on central hip versus knee motion. Also, Fagan says, reverse lunges may be a better knee-friendly option than forward lunges or squats. Although the reverse lunge does require bending your knees, this pose is easier to pass through your heels, which illuminates the back of your leg rather than the front.
Also, no matter what lower body exercise you’re doing, remembering some executive tips can help prevent knee problems. For example, it’s important to always push from the heel and midfoot rather than the toes, Fagan says. Pushing from the toes can make your knee more likely to shoot forward, which puts too much stress on the knee joint, she explains.
Fagan created the following routine for SELF; it challenges your legs and hips while being gentle on your knees. You can do up to two non-squat workouts per week. Just be sure to schedule at least 48 hours of recovery time between sessions; this will ensure your muscles get the rest they need to rest and get back stronger.
It’s also important to warm up before starting this routine so you don’t start with cold, stiff muscles. Fagan recommends a few minutes of leg swings and strides, as well as dynamic adductor stretches and 90/90 stretches.