How to Safely Squat With Bad Knees & Arthritis

Strengthen Your Legs!

Squats are an incredibly affect exercise for strengthening your legs, glutes, and entire lower body. The main problem with squats, for some individuals, is that doing them sometimes aggravates the symptoms of arthritis in their knees, leading to increased pain. This article, in addition to the video linked above, will briefly describe a few modifications you can do if you are someone with bad knees, to strengthen your knee joints, and keep you moving well in life.

Simple Squatting Modifications If You Have Bad Knees

There are a few different modifications that I demonstrate with my client linked in the video above. These modifications consist of, changing the range of motion, doing a slightly different squatting variation (sit to stand,) and also using balance support to assist in the movement.

Range of Motion

One of the most basic squatting modifications that you can do if you have bad knees and arthritis is to limit your range of motion. Doing “half squats” or even “quarter squats” as a regression to full range of motion squats, places less overall demand on your knee and hip joints, making it less stressful. Ideally, over time, we would try to build up our strength and mobility to do full range of motion squats. But when first starting out with bad knees, we can cut that a bit short.

Sit to Stand Variation

In the video linked above, you may notice that we offer a sit to stand variation, instead of doing a “free” body weight squat. A sit to stand, is essentially where you just sit down in a chair or stool, and stand back up. Doing a sit to stand is easier on the knees, because it doesn’t take as much ankle, knee, and hip mobility to actually complete the movement. In addition to this, the sit to stand is usually a decreased range of motion squat. As noted above, if we decrease the range of motion, this allows you to typically do the exercise pain free. Also, the sit to stand is great because you can track progressions easily. Typically, with individuals I work with, I will often have them do a sit to stand with a balance pad multiple times, before pulling it out over time. This shows that they have built the strength to master the balance pad variation. I am going to link my favorite balance pad below, so you can check it out for yourself.

Having Balance Support

Another way to make the squat less stressful on your bad knees is by adding some balance support. The squat in itself, takes a large amount of balance to be able to perform properly. Because of this, if you don’t have proper balance, this can lead to poor movement patterns and knee pain. When first starting out squatting with knee pain, I usually try to have individuals use a support to hold onto, showing they have full control, before doing a squat without holding on to anything.

That’s Not All!

If you want to continue to improve your health and knowledge of the gym, regardless of your current abilities in life, you need to subscribe to our blog. In addition to that, I am going to link another article below that I think you would enjoy, talking about how I program deadlifts for individuals that I work with with back pain and poor mobility.

How to Deadlift Pain-Free With a Bad Back

Fix Your Back Pain Today’s article, in addition to the video above, will outline one of the ways that I help individuals I work with improve their back and leg strength, overall hip mobility, and decrease some of the back pain they may experience with deadlifts. Practicing this movement is incredibly crucial to moving properly…

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