The best leg exercises you should do when you have bad knees

3. Box squats


Heavy squats are one of the pillar exercises for building a strong, muscular body. However, if you have a bad knee they can get quite hard to do. The best alternative to squats in this situation are box squats. Place a box or a bench in the squat rack, with a height that is low enough so that when you sit on it your hips are parallel to the floor. Next, approach the bar and put yourself into a wide-stance position.

Get behind the bar, place it on your upper back muscles, take a deep breath, make sure your core and lower back are tight, strong and stabilized and then lift it. Push the hips as far back as possible to descent easily. While you’re doing that, imagine drilling the feet into the floor and force the knees out. Descend until you are fully seated on the box/bench, pause for one second and then stand up again.

Because of the way you can descend on a box squat, the knees will be less burdened and more work will be done by the quads.

As long as you aren’t feeling any pain in your knee you can go a bit heavier on this exercise. You can do 4 sets of 5-6 reps. The rest time should be no longer than 3 minutes.

4. Reverse Lunges


Lunges, which are by default done by lunging forward can cause a great amount of stress on the knees. That’s why you can try doing them by lunging backward, a movement known as reverse lunges. All you need to do is step backward with one of your legs and lower your torso down. The torso needs to stay rigid and upright all the time to maintain balance.

Then, when your knee touches the floor, push yourself back up to the starting position and repeat the movement with the other leg. To make the movement more challenging you can hold dumbbells or kettlebells in each hand or put a barbell on your back. The latter option would be better if you’re having trouble maintaining balance. Your quads and glutes will be absolutely scorched after finishing the exercise.

Do 4-5 sets of 8-12 reps. Since this movement forces you to stabilize your body a bit more than the squat, you shouldn’t use weights that are too heavy. Go easy at first, and then slowly progress up.

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