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TOPIC: I can't do squats. At all.

 
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June 24, 2012 2:28 AM
Not even a little bit. Even with no weights. My knees just don't bend very far. If I force it, they hurt way to much. What is a good substitute?
  23623619
June 24, 2012 3:31 AM
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  23623619
June 24, 2012 3:40 AM
There isn't really a substitute for the squat. Most people would then suggest lunges but I don't think you'd be able to do those either if your knees aren't great. If you can do partial squats and be comfortable, do those. You don't need to do a full squat for it to be beneficial. If not then try step ups.
  24711284
June 24, 2012 3:41 AM
Are you exercising in a gym? Go to the weights section and try the leg press - not sure of exact name, but the one where you are sitting in a 'v' and the resistance is when you straighten your legs. That way the weights help with the downward part. I have a similar problem, just make sure you start light or with no weights first.
June 24, 2012 3:43 AM
QUOTE:

There isn't really a substitute for the squat. Most people would then suggest lunges but I don't think you'd be able to do those either if your knees aren't great. If you can do partial squats and be comfortable, do those. You don't need to do a full squat for it to be beneficial. If not then try step ups.


Lunges are worse! OMG yes. My knees bend so very little when I try squats that they bend more when I just go up steps, so maybe step ups would do.

I don't go to the gym
  23623619
June 24, 2012 3:49 AM
It used to hurt my knees too. I went as far as I could with out it hurting and just built up to a full squat.
June 24, 2012 3:57 AM
i'd suggest first working on leg extensions and hamstring curls to get your knees accustomed to the bend youd need.

also, try wall squats. stand with your back against a wall and slower lower. go to a point where you can bend then hold for a few seconds. do a few sets of those until you can get your knees to bend enough that your upper thigh is parallel to the ground
  12840602
June 24, 2012 3:59 AM
QUOTE:

try wall squats. stand with your back against a wall and slower lower. go to a point where you can bend then hold for a few seconds. do a few sets of those until you can get your knees to bend enough that your upper thigh is parallel to the ground


I can't do squats either and this is what the physio recommended, and the stationary bike to build up strength
June 24, 2012 4:03 AM
QUOTE:

i'd suggest first working on leg extensions and hamstring curls to get your knees accustomed to the bend youd need.

also, try wall squats. stand with your back against a wall and slower lower. go to a point where you can bend then hold for a few seconds. do a few sets of those until you can get your knees to bend enough that your upper thigh is parallel to the ground


I've been having trouble with squats too so I'm totally going to try this. Thanks!
  24397666
June 24, 2012 4:04 AM
squats are one of those things that you perservier with.. just practice doing them as far down as you can and gradually you will get more and more flexibility, really focus on keeping your back as straight as possible and not leaning forward - tip for this is to keep your hands above your head when you go down! Its a slow old road but after a few months i have way better form now!! so hang in there :D Overhead walking lunges are also a really good exercise for keeping your back straight !!
June 24, 2012 4:10 AM
Maybe the approach to take is building up slowly to the knee movement.
Try a rowing machine first which would build flexibility and movement in the knee joint.

Once that is achived and you are happy, look at this http://stronglifts.com/how-to-squat-with-proper-technique-fix-common-problems/

Start with an empty bar and very gradually over a period of a couple of weeks build up to some weight.

Hope that helps :)
  25028725
June 24, 2012 4:13 AM
I used to have the same issue!!!!! Your knees may hurt because you're lacking potassium!!! I started eating bananas regularly and they stopped hurting while exercising! Give it a go!!!! :D
  6116694
June 24, 2012 4:18 AM
Oh yeah, my knees still hurt sometimes. But it was so much worse and my legs would nearly give out when I tried squats. But it's one of those things you have to push through. A little at a time, try different things to build up your strength but keep trying them. Do shallow squats, just go down as far as you can. Eventually you will see an improvement. flowerforyou
  23774561
June 24, 2012 4:18 AM
I think I'll try extensions and some biking.... thanks
  23623619
June 24, 2012 4:23 AM
Then you are doing them wrong. Squats are not based on the knees but the butt. Your knees are prolly going over your ankles. Keep your knees behind your ankles and stick your butt out. If you can sit in a chair you can do squats- same move. You don't have to start off going deep. Small gentle squats work until you get the form right and your knees get stronger. Knees have muscle tissue in them too and if you don't work them they will never get stronger!
  8196872
June 24, 2012 4:27 AM
Start your squats using the back of a chair for support, but make sure your knees aren't over your feet. You want to squat from the butt, not the knees. If you're not used to them, then don't get into s deep squat. Push as far as you can until you feel the burn start then stop. Gradually you'll find your strength increases and you'l be able to go deeper.

Good luck!
  10230898
June 24, 2012 4:28 AM
I could not do them either, and someone recommended using an exercise ball. Place the ball against the wall behind your back and slowing squat down using the ball to roll down the wall. It as helped me to do squats without pain.
  20911743
June 24, 2012 4:33 AM
QUOTE:

It used to hurt my knees too. I went as far as I could with out it hurting and just built up to a full squat.


^This! I have a lot of trouble with my left knee. I have been doing partial squats (there's a video showing how to do one correctly) and now I can do lunges and my knee is SSOOOOO much stronger. It never 'gives" out on me anymore. Work on strengthening the muscles around your knee and it will pay off! happy
June 24, 2012 4:36 AM
When you say your knees don't bend very far is this a medical problem or lack of flexibility?

When I started doing squats I thought my kneecaps were going to literally pop off and fly across the room. If there's no specific medical issue lack of flexibility can be improved upon with walking, stretching and progressing gradually from a partial squat (go as far as yu can until you're slightly uncomfortable ) If you can sit down on the toilet and get back up you can do squats - it's a similar motion, you want to stick your butt out behind you and keep your knees over your feet.

One trick i learned for maintaining good form is to hold a ball to your chest (soccer ball, medicine ball) and, as you lower yourself into the squat, slowly push the ball out in front of you.
June 24, 2012 5:02 AM
If you have an exercise ball, you can hold it up against the wall with your back and then build up your squats that way. It helps me, especially since I have a job where I have to squat a lot to pick up boxes. Luckily I'm short so I don't have that far to squat, lol.
  18795842
June 24, 2012 5:08 AM
Work on your flexibility before trying to add weight, then. To some extent, it will improve just from doing squats, but you at least need to be able to comfortably sit in the bottom position (below parallel) with just your body weight.
  15912463
June 24, 2012 5:59 AM
I'd check your form to be honest. Unless you have some medical reason, squats (when done properly) should not hurt the knees.
  17993426
June 24, 2012 6:18 AM
QUOTE:

Start your squats using the back of a chair for support, but make sure your knees aren't over your feet. You want to squat from the butt, not the knees. If you're not used to them, then don't get into s deep squat. Push as far as you can until you feel the burn start then stop. Gradually you'll find your strength increases and you'l be able to go deeper.

Good luck!


^^ I agree with this. An assisted squat will be your ticket. Sit on the edge of one chair and put another chair in front of you to help support you and take a bit of the load off. I also think this is a form problem. The squat is probably the most incorrectly performed exercise there is. To start, think about pushing your rear out of the chair, not straightening your knees. I have no ACL and no cartilage in my left knee and I can still squat 315, so I do understand knee issues. Maybe watch some of the videos online that show form?
  16762840
June 24, 2012 6:35 AM
Ok I've read up on it a bit, I was doing them a little bit wrong, and I don't know how to activate the right muscles, as soon as I try my knees tense up and I take the weigh on my knees, I am scared I'm going to fall over or something. I just need to keep practicing
  23623619
June 25, 2012 6:29 AM
Don't try to micro-manage your muscles in the squat. If you keep a few mental cues in mind, your motor skills will take over and do the rest:

1) Picture keeping your weight balanced over your mid-foot, and visualize the bar (once you've added it) moving down and back up in a completely vertical path. Your body will naturally move the right way to make this happen (hips back, knees not too far forward).

2) Focus on shoving your knees out so they're parallel with your toes the entire way down and back up. Your foot position should be heels shoulder width apart, toes pointed out somewhat. Exactly what angle is up to you to figure out; start with 30 degrees, and adjust farther if you need to. Don't try to squat with your toes pointed straight forward; it'll give you problems toward the bottom position.

3) Keep your back straight the entire way down and back up again. Tighten your abs and lower back muscles to form a solid bar out of your torso.

4) When you reach the bottom position, visualize your hips and shoulders moving straight up together, which should engage your entire hip drive (hamstrings, glutes and quads).

That's all I'm thinking about each time I do a rep. I start with balancing the weight over mid-foot and tightening my abs / back (while at the top position). Then I focus hard on shoving out my knees and keeping the vertical bar path as I go through the motion, and picture my hips/shoulders exploding straight up from the bottom. If I am lazy about keeping those things in mind, I tend to screw up the form in some way (usually by either letting my knees come in, having my balance pitch forward toward my toes, or having my hips come up before my shoulders, putting strain on my back).

Most of that advice, I got from reading the book "Starting Strength", though it's a bit of work to pick out those few gems from all the medical discussion of what the muscles and joints are doing.
  15912463

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