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Squats for Beginners: A Must Do Even With Knee Problems

How many people here have knee problems? Yeah, me too.

Do squats scare you? They scared me plenty.  So this is Squats for Beginners.

I hadn’t done them since I was in college 20 years ago. So here is an illustration with a barbell of how to do a squat.

 

Just like the deadlift, a lot of posterior chain is involved in the squat as well as serious business for your Quadriceps as well. If you have knee problems or never did them before and are intimidated, then how do we incorporate squats into our workout routine? Excluding them is not an option. Squats are in the top 3 or 4 of total body exercises and are an absolute requirement for increased functional strength. Here are the adjustments you can make:

 

  1. Use dumbbells held out front or to the side or on your shoulders
  2. Use the Smith Machine. That’s the bar that has the sliding action going up and down and is great to use as a substitute for a spotter.

This is the Smith Machine and how it is used to do a Smith machine squat:

 

When I started I used a Smith Machine (where the bar weighs 15 lbs. Instead of a 45 lb. Barbell) and only a 25 lb weight on each side, or a paltry 65 lbs. Total. Don’t be intimidated by the weights you lift in the beginning. The battle is from within. It’s in improving yourself, not comparing to the other guy. Also, you will go up in weights really quickly.

Lastly, regarding those with knee problems, alot of research is coming to light that says the knee is most vulnerable in positions before the thigh is parallel to the ground. So proper form for this exercise includes going all the way down until your thigh is parallel but your knee never bends over past your foot. Do these two things and you will avoid knee stress and injury both in this exercise and you will be strengthening the areas that support your knees too.

 

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