Do you suffer with bad knees? Does it hurt when you squat or lunge?
If so then this article is for you.
Exercising with Bad Knees
If you have trouble with bad knees then all is not lost. You can still work your body hard and get some enormous results without a full knee bend.
The Kettlebell Swing is the perfect choice for bad knees because it works your cardio hard without you needing to fully bend your knees or use knee jolting impact.
Here’s the Kettlebell Swing in action
The Swing also conditions the buttocks, hamstrings, quads and back.
So if you never had to perform another Squat or Lunge again you can still get some great results from just using the Swing.
If You Can’t Squat then You Must Squat
If you avoid all squatting and lunging movements you are setting yourself up for further injuries due to compensations.
If you avoid bending your knees then you start to bend at the hips instead and this puts added stress on your lower back.
People with bad knees often start to suffer from bad backs!
So ultimately, unless you have serious structural damage to your knees then you should start to rehabilitate your knees as quickly as possible.
And the good news is, knees can be fixed.
Step 1: Stretching
Tight quads feed into the knee and added strain can realign and also aggressively pull on the knee cap.
Stretch the quads frequently, at least once per day and preferably more. 3 times per day is better. It takes a lot of time and effort to positively change soft tissue so you need to do this a lot, sorry!
Having frequent sports massage, using a foam roller or a massage roller will all help too.
Take action: Stretch, Roll, Massage your quads at least daily (5 minutes)
Here’s a video of an effective Quad Stretch
Step 2: Mobilise
Bad knees happen for a reason. If you lack mobility at your hips or ankles then the knee joint has to work overtime.
Skiers damage their knees because they remove the ability for the ankle to become mobile when wearing ski boots.
Basketball players used to get bad knees because high top boots restricted movement at the ankle.
Keep your ankles and hips mobile so your knees don’t have to be
Take action: mobilise your ankles and hips daily (5 minutes)
Video of Ankle Mobility
Video of Hip Mobility
Step 3: Condition
Bending and extending any joint of the body creates a pumping of nutrients.
As you squat you open up the knee joint and suck healing nutrients into the joint and pump old stagnant fluid out again. The squat also opens up the joints of the lower back too!
Movement of any painful joint is a vital part of its healing process
Start by practicing the squat holding onto a wall, post, chair etc. Move slowly and go down as deep as you can before the pain starts.
Never squat into pain! Stop just before.
Keep you weight back on your heals to take the strain away from your knees and into the hamstrings and buttocks.
Continue daily for 5 – 10 reps each time trying to go deeper but avoiding pain.
When you can squat all the way down to the floor then you can start bodyweight squats without holding on.
Take action: perform 5 – 10 assisted squats as deep as pain-free possible daily
Video of Assisted Squat
Most bad knees can be fixed. You can still get a great workout by substituting squats and lunges for Swings but ultimately if you Can’t Squat then you Must Squat.
Rehabilitation of the knee IS possible it just takes time and daily commitment
I hope you have found this useful and if you do suffer from bad knees it will help on your road to recovery.