Squats, Lunges and Your Knees


I’ve heard it over and over and over, “I can’t do lunges and squats, they  hurt my knees”. I always answer the same way, “I’m betting nobody has taught you how to do them correctly and that’s why it is hurting your knees. Are you willing to try them one more time using proper form?”   Most people are extremely hesitant but agree to try one more time. They always seem so amazed when their knees don’t hurt!  (Even though I just told them that proper form alleviates knee pain…go figure).

I’m going to tell all of you what I tell each and every one of my clients, so listen up. When you are doing any kind of leg exercise, whether it be a leg press, squats or lunges there is pressure, tension and resistance that comes along with each exercise. That pressure, tension and resistance has to go somewhere and it will ALWAYS take the path of least resistance…that’s you. When you have your body-weight positioned in your toes, it travels up the front side of your leg, goes straight into your knee joint and starts ripping it apart. BUT, if you’ll position your body-weight in your HEELS, that same pressure, tension and resistance then travels up the backside of your leg developing muscle all the way up into your glutes. So, in essence, you either get bad knees or a nice booty. I don’t know about you, but I’ll take a nice booty thanks so much.

A few more things you’ll wanna remember when doing squats or lunges are:

1)  Do them slowly. When I am teaching my clients proper form on lunges I tell  them, “There is no fire. That simply means  I’d rather you do them right than fast.”

2)  Point your knees and toes in the same direction. If you’re doing a  plie squat with your stance wide and your toes out, ensure that your knees are pointing the same direction as your toes. This keeps the knee joint happy and you pain free.

3) Make sure to master  the plain old  squat and lunge before tackling more difficult varieties.   There are tons of options  for both squats and lunges to increase intensity (and soreness ;)) but make sure you can do  the unfancied version first.   Your knees will thank you.

4) When lunging, make sure to  keep your movement up and down rather than back and forth. A lot of people tend to lean forward when lunging rather than  simply dropping down. t’s hard on your knees. Really hard.

5)  NEVER let your knee come past your toes.  Maintain a 90 degree angle, but never let that knee slip over  your toes.   If you do, I promise you  that you’re gonna pay the price for it.   If it is something that you  do  repeatedly, we’re talking knee replacement surgery. No, I’m not kidding.

6)   Remember that 90 degree bend in your knee we just talked about? An easy way to make sure you never go past 90 degrees is to make sure that your calf stays perpendicular to the floor. Never allow it to slant.

There you have it, a few tips and tricks to keep your knees healthy, your body happy and still fit in a great leg workout.   *Sigh*, I love leg day.   🙂

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