Doing squats can be daunting if you tend to experience knee pain in your workout routine — but don't write off the move just yet.
According to fitness expert and ACSM-certified trainer John Ford, the squat motion is worked into everyday life — even outside of exercise.
"The good and the bad of the situation is that even if you have knee pain, the way life works is that you'll always be doing squat motions to get up and down from sitting, which means it's still important to work on the motion."
Of course, if you are experiencing knee pain, you should call up your doctor to prevent further injury — and if you've already been told to avoid the exercise altogether, you should follow that direction.
If squats are safe for you to perform, it might be time to modify the move or really ace your form. Ahead, Ford explains a few variations he generally suggests for clients that have knee pain.
The Assisted Squat
"The assisted squat motion is one of my favorite moves and one that I go back to time and time again," Ford says. "It's really good at developing your upper thigh and glute muscles to control the squat motion as to alleviate pressure on the knees during the squat movement. Additionally, it's a great hip opener, as it allows for you to work on dropping your squat past parallel."
To do an assisted squat, Ford says a client will hold onto the back of a chair, railing, or a banister — the feet will be closer to the railing and the arms will be extended straight with the torso upright. "To start the motion, I have clients start to sit back keeping their torso as straight as possible and shifting their weight into their heels. They proceed with the motion by dropping their hips down and slightly back to ideally form perfect right angles with their knee joints. There should be a good amount of tension in their arms, as we are using the arms to control the range and pace of the motions, as well as the amount of weight loaded into the motion."
Squatting With an Eccentric Focus on the Movement
After the assisted squat, Ford works with clients on focusing on the eccentric portion of the squat, or the downward motion.
"You start the motion by shifting weight onto your heels and shifting your weight slightly backward as you begin to bend your knees in the squat. This will prevent you from shifting your body weight forward and into the knees. You then focus on dropping your hips lower as your knees bend. Ideally, we don't want to see a noticeable shift forward of the knees past the ankle during the motion. You then stand back up by pushing through your heels, firing your glutes, and then quadriceps to bring you bacRead More – Source