How to Avoid Knee Pain When Squatting
Are you concerned about knee pain when squatting? Believe me, I can relate. To say that I am a bit intimidated by squats is an understatement. Because I have a torn medial meniscus in my left knee for close to sixteen years.
When I initially tore my meniscus, I could barely walk for six months. I hobbled around the streets and never believed I would walk normally again.
So any movement related to the knees has caused some anxiety.
Is it possible to still do squats when your knee is compromised? Can you strengthen your knees, legs and entire body from squats?
How can you prevent knee pain when squatting?
While this post aims to answer these questions, it is not designed as medical advice or physical therapy. So be sure to consult with a doctor or physical therapist.
Can I Squat With a Torn Meniscus?
The thought of doing squats, and not just going down quarter of the way, but going below parallel were terrifying.
However, back in 2012, I adopted the notion of squatting below parallel. I first saw this idea of squatting below parallel here.
Below parallel means that your hips will go lower than the top of your knees in the bottom position of the squat.
Using this form puts less stress on the knee joint and puts more stress on the hamstrings and glutes.
I can vouch for that.
How to Proper Squat and Prevent Knee Injury
Do Air Squats or Barbell Only
I initially started the squats using 45 pounds barbell only.
No weights, just the bar.
After the first day of doing 5 sets of 5 repetitions, leading with the hips and going below the parallel, I could barely walk.
My hamstrings and tuchas were so sore! wow.
But I have increased the weight very slowly, little by little, sometimes no increase at all over a week and sometimes by 5 pounds only.
I also learned that for my body, keeping my feet at shoulder width apart has been more stabilizing and comfortable than when I have them wider than shoulder width.
And I am happy to say that so far, I not experienced any pain.
I feel that my legs are stronger, and that my hips are engaged and pushing up from the back of my legs and not from the knees.
I think probably out of all the ‘simple’ compound exercises I have been doing, squats have had the most impact.
Every time I have a good squat workout, I can feel more strength.
As if I am building a layer of muscle over my entire body, not just legs.
More Muscles, More Impact, Less Knee Pain
Today I started squats using 80lbs, then went to 85lbs, 90lbs, 95lbs and for my last set of 5 , I did 105lbs.
That felt awesome.
In between each set of squats, I like to do another exercise for upperbody, either bench press, shoulder press, rows or curls.
I prefer the larger muscle exercises like bench over curls as I can tell that they have a much more effective impact on me physically than the smaller muscle curl workout.
Tonight I did bench presses, starting with 5reps of 125lbs, then went up to 145lb, 160lb, 170lb and for my last set of five, I did 185lbs.
Yes, I am as shocked because in my entire life, I never did more than 130 pounds.
I cannot remember ever going that high.
The good news is two new highs on two of the most basic compound free weight movements that will just keep making anyone much stronger.
For dinner, I finished off the evening with a large salad, avocado, olives, tomatoes and organic chicken breast from Cibo at 767 2nd Avenue New York, NY 10017 (212) 681-1616.
I do not believe you can get a better one than over there, and if you do go, tell them that you want it Hashi Mashi style and they should be able to take care of you, great place, great service, great quality food, awesome staff, so go enjoy!
Last, tonight I will try to implement some suggestions from ‘Mary’ and ‘ShornLamb’ of a better way of how to fall asleep.
Will let you know how it worked out tomorrow!
No raisins tonight for me, boo hoo!
Knee pain is not the only type of injury you can encounter lifting weights.
Believe it or not, you can even injure your elbow!