Saturday, June 15, 2024
HomeReaders ChoiceAlternative To Squats For Bad Knees

Alternative To Squats For Bad Knees

No 11 Inner Thigh Circles As A Squat Alternative For Bad Knees

The Best Squat Alternatives for Bad Knees

Honestly, inner thigh circles can be slightly tiring but if you wanted an alternative to squats, then this exercise is worth a try.

Besides not hurting your knees, the big deal about this exercise is that it strengthens the abdominal muscles and tones up your thighs.

Essential tip : While doing this exercise, ensure to make inner circles only until you can, if you over-exert yourself, it could tire you.


  • Place your hands under your lower back
  • Slowly lift both your left and right leg, slightly spread it apart.
  • Slowly start to move it clockwise and anti-clockwise.

You can do this exercise 5-6 times clockwise and anti-clockwise. It is more than sufficient if you can do it three times a week.

To figure out the right technique of doing this exercise, watch this video!

No 1 Spread Your Squats With A Stability Ball

The fact that squatting alone can damage you knees, you should choose a stability ball as a comforting squat alternative for bad knees.

In this workout, you will need to lean on a stability ball, spread your legs, and squat. It wont strain your knees much.

With sufficient back support, you will find squatting much easier.

Essential Tip While squatting, when you have to stand up, see to it that you stand up fully and relax your knees. Following this tip will protect you from knee pain.


  • Keep the stability ball right at your lower back.
  • Make sure to comfortably rest your lower back on the ball.
  • Spread your legs apart and maintain that feet and shoulder-width.
  • Extend your hands forward and look straight.
  • Go down on your knees and dont stress about keeping your back straight, it will stay in the right position as there is a stability ball for enough support.

You can try this squat alternative for bad knees three times a week and it is enough if you squat ten times.

To figure out the right technique of doing this exercise, watch this video!

Should You Spot Train With Bad Knees

Theres some great news to share with you about targeted weight loss. If you think that the only way you can lose weight around your thighs and your abdomen is to do exercises that work those areas, you are mistaken.

You cant actually get rid of fat in specific areas by doing exercises that move those areas of the body. So, if youre trying to get rid of fat on your thighs, leg exercises dont actually target thigh fat.

What happens is that when you exercise, fat is used up from all throughout the body. Doing leg exercises doesnt remove thigh fat any faster than doing arm exercises would. Thats great news for many people, because it means that they can do any kind of exercises they learned and burn fat throughout the body.

So, if youre looking for alternatives to squats and lunges for people with bad knees, its true that just about anything will do. Any exercise you choose will help to burn fat, though not all exercises burn fat as quickly. Some of them exert your body more and use up more calories in energy, which is why some exercises are preferred for weight loss.

Also, you should keep in mind that you can burn fat anywhere with any kind of exercise, but you can only tone and build muscle in any area by working that specific part of the body. So, if you want to build leg muscles, you should be working your legs.

Also Check: Why Cant I Bend My Knee All The Way

Are Lunges Bad For The Knee Why Do They Make Your Knees Hurt

There are a ton of reasons as to why your knees could hurt when doing lunges. Some of these could include:

  • Poor Technique: When performing lunges, it’s easy to mess up your technique while moving while doing the movement. Therefore, even if you know exactly what to do but your balance or coordination is subpar, you’re likely going to use poor form. Even still, you might just have bad form because you never took the time to learn proper form. The biggest culprit comes from allowing the knee to get off track with the foot, generally coming inwards. As a result, excessive strain can be placed on the knee resulting in pain. In short, take the time to fix your technique and learn good form.
  • Weak Muscle Groups: When you have muscular imbalances, you place a greater demand on other muscle groups to compensate. More often than not, this comes from weak glutes in the case of knee pain in the lunge. As the glutes aren’t strong enough to help extend the legs, excessive stress and tightness occur on your quadriceps.
  • Poor Mobility: You need to have adequate mobility to properly lift weights, including the lunge. Without it, you’re going to end up with excessively tight muscles that strain the joints. Theres really nothing else to say. If you have mobility issues, it will rear its head eventually. Fixing your mobility is a continual process so start working on it today.

Knee Overuse And Injury

8 Best Squat alternative images

Knee pain can result from both long-term overuse of the joint and acute injuries. A common overuse injury is tendonitis. The tendons are connective tissue linking bones to muscles. Knee tendons can become inflamed and painful. Athletes are particularly vulnerable, but anyone who is active throughout the day may develop tendonitis.

Acute injuries to the knee occur suddenly. Anyone can develop these injuries, which include torn cartilage, especially the meniscus, torn ligaments, and strains or sprains of the ligaments or muscles around the knee.

You May Like: What Causes Knee And Leg Pain

Drawbacks Of Leg Extension

Leg extension has become notorious due to the increased risks of a knee injury. There is so much more than just causing knee injury, which is mentioned below

One most intriguing drawbacks is that leg extension puts too much stress on a strong connective tissue band called the anterior cruciate ligament .

This ligament attaches the thigh bone to the shin bone. When some amount of stress is applied to a muscle, resistance is developed. But leg extension doesnt impact adaption capacity.

It is just causing stress and not strengthening your muscles that, in the long run, can result in tender muscles.

If you keep carrying out leg extensions in such a situation, it will result in ligament tear or damage to a greater degree.

The study claims that different participants experienced different results depending on their collective capacity to withstand stress.

If leg extension is performed according to the range of motion of the knee joint, there are lesser chances of knee pain and injury.

Use Elastic Resistance Bands

A good old elastic resistance band can go miles in helping you maintain good posture while also relieving stress on your knees while doing squats. With the addition of an elastic band placed around the knees , you can encourage more activation from your glute muscles while you squat, therefore taking pressure off of your knees.

“This can be accomplished by putting an elastic band around the knees while you squat,” explains personal trainer Bill Daniels. “This will create a subconscious reaction to push the knees out, which activates the stabilizers in the hip and often can alleviate knee pain.”

Don’t Miss: What Is The Best Knee Brace For Working Out

Alternative Exercises For Lunges

Leg day is often unappealing. However, if you have bad knees, pain may not only be a demotivator but also a sign of serious injury risk. Many feel torn between wanting personal improvement and wanting to avoid worsening their existing knee issues.

Luckily, we know many alternative exercises for lunges that are proven to help decrease knee pain.

Ways To Modify Squats And Lunges For Bad Knees

Substitute for SQUATS – Bad Knees – Good Mornings

If you find that lunges and squats are hurting your knees or youre worried that they might come then, you may want to know about some modifications you can do to these exercises. You can make them less stressful for your knees and easier on your body.

Partial Squats- If the only go down part way in your squat rather than all the way down for a full squat, you can still get some of the benefits of this exercise without putting as much stress on your knees.

Thats a good rule of thumb for a lot of exercises that could be overexerting you or stretching you farther than you feel comfortable with.

Simply decrease the extent of the exercise so that you can still exert yourself and work that part of the body but not cause undue stress.

You May Like: What Causes Knee Pain Years After Knee Replacement

Take It To The Next Level

If completing the standard hip hinge is easy for you , try doing it on one leg.

  • Stand on one leg. Keep your hands on your hips.
  • With a soft bend behind the knee, hinge forward on one leg as the opposite leg extends backward behind you. Do this until you feel a full stretch in the hamstring of the leg youre standing on.
  • With hips level to the floor, use your single leg glute and hamstring to stand upright.
  • Without touching the floor, complete 2 to 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps on each leg.
  • The last few degrees needed for full leg extension come from a muscle in the quads called the vastus medialis. This exercise will help strengthen your quads.

    Equipment needed: 1- to 3-pound ankle weight

    Muscles worked: quadriceps

    To ensure that you have the right form and are using the correct muscles for this exercise, youll need to start by facing an open wall or door.

    Equipment needed: standard table chair

    Muscles worked: all the muscles in the lower body

  • Stand about 1 foot away from the wall you are facing. Place the chair just behind you. It should be at a comfortable enough height for you to sit down.
  • Facing forward with your feet parallel and hip-width distance apart, slowly lower yourself down to sit in the chair. Do this without turning your head, face, hands, or knees to the wall.
  • Throughout the movement, brace your core. Drive down into the floor through your legs and stand all the way back up. You should lock out your hips at the top with good posture.
  • No 8 Single Leg Deadlift As A Squat Alternative

    The hamstrings are connected to your knees, so if you are unable to directly squat and strengthen your knees, it is time to try leg lifting with squat alternatives. One such alternative is single leg lifting.

    This exercise doesnt have too many steps and mostly comes with benefits like strong hamstrings and improved body stability.

    Essential tip Before doing this alternative squat exercise for bad knees you should make sure to bend properly, avoid hunching your back.


    • Stand straight with both your legs slightly apart.
    • Bend forward in such a way that you dont hunch, try to reach the ground with your right hand and stretch your right leg behind.
    • Repeat this procedure on either ends.

    You bend 5-6 times on either sides and practice this workout three times a week.

    To figure out the right technique of doing this exercise, watch this video!

    Recommended Reading: Why Does My Knee Feel Stiff

    Dumbbell Or Kettlebell Sumo Deadlift

    Biomechanically, sumo deadlifts are quite different from conventional deadlifts, resulting in different muscle activation of the lower body. Due to the more upright torso and greater knee flexion, the sumo deadlift sees much higher activation in the quadriceps when compared to the conventional deadlift.

    However, as we are looking for lunge alternatives, we are going to choose to use a dumbbell or kettlebell sumo deadlift. Even though there is significant knee flexion, the movement starts with the concentric portion rather than the eccentric portion. Still, when you do get to the eccentric part its usually done more like a controlled drop rather than slow and controlled. This is important because the pain in the joints usually occurs during the eccentric portion, as this is when you are loading the joints. By taking this out of the equation, you should see a significant decrease in knee discomfort.

    Again, we like to use these towards the end of a workout for more volume work.

    The 16 Best Exercises To Do Instead Of Squats

    Pin on fitness kinda stuff

    Squats are one of the best exercises for building a strong lower body. However, some people can’t perform squats due to pain or injuries. Others may feel bored with squats if they’ve been working on them for years or their progress has stalled.

    Thankfully, you can still train your lower body even if you’re not willing or able to add squats into your workouts right now. Below, we share our favorite squat alternatives to use in your workouts.

    Read Also: Can I Run After Knee Replacement

    Squat Alternatives: Bad Knees Back Or Hips

    If you want to train your lower body, but bad knees, dodgy hips or a sore back mean the back squat is off your exercise menu, here are some alternatives that will do the job just as well.

    There are several reasons why youre looking for an alternative to the back squat.

    Maybe your knees, hips or back hurt when you squat. You can push through the discomfort, but you dont want to cause any long-term damage.

    Perhaps youre training in a home gym, and dont have the space for a squat rack.

    You may have done back squats in the past, ended up injured, and you dont want to risk the same thing happening again.

    Or it might be that you just cant get the hang of squatting. Youve watched video after video, trying to learn the right technique, but it just doesnt feel right.

    No matter what the reason, these alternatives work many of the same muscle groups as the back squat, but are often a lot easier on your knees, hips or back.

    Deadlift For Glutes And Hamstrings

    This move can be performed with either a kettlebell or with a barbell, as shown in the video exercise library.

    For the kettlebell, start with the weight between the feet. For the barbell, step up to the bar so that the bar is over your shoelaces.

    Grasp your weight and set the shoulders by pulling the shoulders down and back, which will cause you to create a little tension as you pull on your barbell or kettlebell without lifting it off the ground.

    Brace your abs and drive through the mid-foot to press the weight off the floor.

    Squeeze the glutes as you stand tall, avoiding leaning back at the top of the move.

    Keep your shoulders set and core braced as you hinge at the hips and bend the knees to return to the starting position.

    Reset, and repeat.

    The main difference between an RDL and a Deadlift is the fact that the knees are only softly bent in an RDL, focusing more on the hamstrings.

    Stand tall, with shoulders down and back and abs tight, while holding your weight in front of you.

    Hinge at the hips and slightly bend at the knees, keeping the weight close to your legs. Keep your neck in a neutral position .

    Your hips will shift back during the hinge, like youre trying to touch the wall behind you with your glutes.

    Hinge as far as your hips will let you go without rounding your back forward.

    Squeeze the glutes as you return to the starting position.

    Also Check: How To Fix Knock Knees

    No 7 Stability Ball Hamstrings Roll

    For strong glutes and hamstrings we need to squat and if the pain in your knees is stopping you from working out like never before, you should even try rolling in your hamstrings with a stability ball.

    We list this out as the best squatting alternatives for bad knees because you can relax your legs on the stability ball and continue working out.

    Essential tip : Make sure to gently lift your hips above the floor so that you can take maximum benefit from this exercise.


    • Place a stability ball below your calf muscles and lie down flat on your back.
    • Rest your palms on the floor.
    • With your palms support, lift your buttock u, roll the stability ball and bring it towards you with your leg.
    • Slowly push the stability ball back to its position under your calf muscles.
    • Repeat the procedure of rolling inwards and outwards as many times as you can.

    This squat alternative for bad knees atleast 3-4 times a week.

    To figure out the right technique of doing this exercise, watch this video!

    Muscles Involved In Leg Extensions

    Everyone Can Squat | Your Knees Are Not the Problem | Squatting with Bad Knees

    Leg extensions involve the upper leg targeting quadriceps muscles. The quadriceps, as the name suggests, is a group of 4 muscles located on the front of your thigh consisting of:

  • Vastus lateralis it is present laterally on the upper leg. It is considered the most significant quadriceps muscle.
  • Vastus intermedius it is placed in between the other two vastus muscles. Rectus femoris covers vastus intermedius.
  • Vastus medialis located medially of your thigh. The shape of this muscle resembles a teardrop that is present right above your knee.
  • Rectus femoris it is a long muscle originating from the iliac bone, going over the hip joint and extending the quadriceps tendon and the other end inserting the tibia. Rectus femoris interacts with the hip and knee joints as a result involved in both knee extension and hip flexion.
  • The anatomy of quad muscles will give you a clear idea of the functioning of knee or thigh muscles during the leg extension exercise.

    Read Also: Where To Go For Knee Pain

    Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat

    The rear foot elevated split squat, also known as the Bulgarian split squat, can also serve as a replacement for the squat.

    Its one of the few genuinely effective squat alternatives that can be done with dumbbells.

    Just like the squat, the rear foot elevated split squat targets the quads, glutes, and even hamstrings to some degree . Its also been shown to serve as an effective squat substitute for increasing lower body strength .

    But unlike the squat, the rear foot elevated split squat allows you to train your thighs with minimal spinal loading, which makes it ideal if a bad back prevents you doing squats.

    How To

    • Place the rear foot on something stable like a bench.
    • Practice doing the exercise without dumbbells until you get the hang of the technique.
    • Play around with the position of both feet until you find a foot placement that allows you to perform the exercise without losing your balance.
    • The foot in front of your body should point straight ahead.
    • Keep your torso upright or lean slightly forward throughout the exercise.
    • Make sure the front knee tracks in the same direction as the foot.
    • Use dumbbells, kettlebells or a barbell across your shoulders to add load and make the exercise harder.


    Popular Articles