A common question that I often get asked is…
“It’s painful for me to do the Squat. What can I do for it to be pain-free?”
Often, I recommend stepping back and building up to the bodyweight squat. I suggest doing these three exercises and building up to the bodyweight squat.
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#1 – Knee Range of Motion
Work on the range of motion in the knee. If you can create a full, pain-free range of motion in the knee, that is a great foundation for moving to the bodyweight squat. Lie down on the mat and go through a knee range of motion exercise. I had Donnalee demonstrate.
Knee Range of Motion
Lie on your back and bend both knees. Bring one knee to your chest. Try to work on that range of motion in your knee, then straighten out and lower your leg back down. Go to the point before pain and then straighten out.
I recommend doing 5 to 20 repetitions of this exercise, and over time your range of motion will increase. If you go to the point just before pain, it might be a little uncomfortable, but that’s fine. You don’t want sharp, jabbing pain. Work on that range of motion.
#2 – Single Leg Tubing
You can use a resistive band to work on the strength around your knee. Grab the tubing and place it under your foot. Straighten out your leg, pressing into the tubing and then returning back.
We are working on strengthening around that knee with the resistive band. With resistive bands, you can adjust your level of resistance to what is right for you. Go through 5 to 20 repetitions.
#3 – Wall Sit
Stand up, rest up against a wall, and move your feet away from the wall. Squat down to whatever level you can comfortably hold. Hold that position and then rise back up.
With the wall sit exercise, we are working on isometrically strengthening the knee and the hip. We are working on strengthening different ranges of motion in the hip and the knee.
You can slowly keep working further down in your wall sit. Hold for 2 to 5 seconds, then progress to 20 or 30 seconds. I recommend playing around with different ranges of motions in the hips and the knees because we are isometrically strengthening the muscle, and isometric contraction is a safe contraction for a joint that has been injured.
These three different exercises lay down a good foundation for you to do the bodyweight squat. The first exercise works on that range of motion in the knee. The second works on the strength in the knee joint. The third works on the isometric strength in the hip and knee in order to progress to the bodyweight squat. Give those exercises a go and work your way to doing the bodyweight squat pain-free.
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Rick Kaselj, MS
If you want to improve the activation, endurance, and strength in your gluteus maximus, then click here to check out the Best Gluteus Maximus Exercises program.