Any substitutes for squats ?

Forums Fitness training Any substitutes for squats ?

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    Gigglin pig

    I have had knee soreness after physical activities like dancing, snowboarding, running , and squats for a while, so my physical therapist recommended that I take it easy with my squats till my hip, quad and hamstring muscles are stronger, and can support the knee muscles. Right now the knee kind of moves inward a bit while doing squats, climbing stairs etc. if I do it for too long.

    I guess what I want to find out is there is an exercise I can substitute for my squats in the meantime? Maybe for a month or so. I took a month off from working out in December, and don’t want to do it again. Thanks. :)


    I’m not sure lunges would be any better, but might be worth a try. You could also try a squat where you don’t compress as much. Instead of thighs being parrellel to the ground try a 45 degree angle.

    Other than that, I would suggest lots of walking. If you have a bike or rowing machine that would be good. I’m involved with rowing and can tell you it will build leg strength with minimal impact on the knees. Provided its done correctly, of course 😉


    Have you checked your squat form? Squats, if done properly, will strengthen the knee.

    – When squatting, your knees should not come past your toes. This of course is a rule of thumb and will differ with your body type. If you have really long femurs your knees will go past your toes slightly.

    – Try not to let your knees drift in (as you’ve already said).

    – Point your toes out so that they’re pointing in the same direction as your knees track.

    – Push from the heels, not the toes; this will require flexibility of the hips and hamstrings.

    Here is an article on squat form. Don’t worry that it talks about squats using a barbell, the sections on squat form, squats and knees, and squat benfits apply to bodyweight squats as well.” class=”bbcode_url”>

    And here are some tips on knee health and squats” class=”bbcode_url”>

    And finally some exercises to help you strengthen your hips and glutes to help your squat” class=”bbcode_url”>

    I should mention that I’m not a physiotherapist or a doctor and I’m just passing along information that I’ve used in my own training. Train smart, listen to your body and follow your physio’s advice.

    Gigglin pig

    Thanks a lot for all the useful information. My PT recommended some exercises to strengthen my glutes and hamstrings as well. He said I should take it easy with squats for a while, but don’t have to stop doing them completely. So I am going to work on improving my flexibility , and squat form in the meantime.

    Right now I am doing level 3 Day 1 exercises on all 3 days minus the squats. I am thinking about substituting sit ups/ crunches in the meantime till my knee is rehabbed. Also going to start barefoot running with the vibram fivefingers KSO shoes for some cardio. If anyone else has tried these shoes, please tell me about your experience with them. :)

    Thanks again.


    I’ve never tried the vibram 5 fingers and cringe at the thought of running with them and stubbing your toe 😯 I know that many people swear by them and that there’s more and more evidence suggesting that we all should be running and squatting barefoot or with a shoe that has no heel (like Vibrams, Chuck Taylors, or wrestling shoes).

    If you’ve never run before, be sure to get the technique down first: make sure your foot hits the ground in the middle part or towards the toes and not the heel. Youtube has quite a few vids on running technique. When I first started running I just ran like a kid on the playground – long strides, heels striking the ground first – and paid for it with a couple months of knee pain :(

    Good luck with the knees and the running. Keep us posted on the squats.

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