Leg Training for Weak Knees

Ever heard of the classic line “The problem is that my joints can’t take what my muscles are strong enough to lift?” Well, we have. A lot. Only a few things can hinder performance as much as joint pain, and knees are on the top of that list. Even though some people will encourage you to suck it up and work through the pain, that’s a terrible idea that will most likely result with a serious injury.

Like it or not, the “No pain, no gain” maxim doesn’t apply on sources of potentially dangerous injuries such as the back, shoulders, neck and joints. Having a set of screwed up knees doesn’t make you tough – it makes you less able to achieve outstanding results in the long run. So let’s see how you can show your knees some love for the purpose of preventing injury and enhancing your progress.

#1. Check with your doctor

If you’re experiencing knee pain, the first thing to do is visit a practitioner who will assess the level of damage and inform you whether you should discontinue what you’re currently doing. Certain injuries can be overcome with the help of better knee care and smart training. But first of all, you need to know what you’re dealing with.

#2. Increase tissue quality

When trying to alleviate excessive stress from the knees, stretching is always a good idea, but using a dense foam roller is far superior. A foam roller is a cylindrical piece, covered with a layer of hard-celled foam, which can help release muscle tension. It can (and should) be very uncomfortable, so start off light. Foam rolling your quads can loosen your patellar tendon, thereby preventing tendinitis and pain around your knee cap.

#3. Pay more attention to the posterior chain

Performing posterior chain movements like deadlifts and glute bridges is a good way to hit the glutes and hamstrings without getting held back by bad knees. Take the emphasis off the glutes for a while and think posterior chain as often as possible when creating a knee-friendly leg workout.

#4. Keep your shins perpendicular to the floor

When you lift, the amount of stress that your knees take depends mostly on the angle of the shin. In general, the more your knee gets over the toe, the more beating your quads and knees will take during the exercise. And the simple fix to this is to keep your shins perpendicular to the ground while training the lower body.

These two exercises can help you out with that:

1. Box squats

If regular barbell back and front squats cause you knee pain, it’s time to switch to box squats. This movement helps you keep the knees where they start instead of moving forward.


2. Reverse lunges

Forward lunges are guilty of causing undue knee stress, but reverse lunges actually have the opposite effect, so you should definitely add them to your leg workout.


Finally, we present to you… The knee-saving leg workout

Perform this routine as a part of your regular training program and you should be able to see some significant improvements very soon.

1.  Pre-workout: foam roll all major leg muscle groups for 10 minutes

2. Circuit A:

  • Box squats: 8 reps
  • Reverse lunges: 10 reps per leg

Perform 4 rounds with 2 minutes of rest in between.

1.  Circuit B:

  • Romanian deadlifts: 10 reps
  • Leg presses: 15 reps

Perform 4 rounds with 2 minutes of rest in between.

2.  Barbell hip thrust: 4 sets, 12 reps

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