Knee Exercises for Pain Free Leg Workouts (NO MORE PAIN!)


What’s up guys? Jeff Cavaliere, AthleanX.com. Today I’m going to show you how to never skip
leg day ever again because your knees are hurting you. This is a very common thing. I know full well myself that bad knees could
really interfere with your leg training unless you have a game plan. Unless you have a couple
big points of understanding here, and I’m going to try to get them across right now. First of all, what could be going on in your
knees? Remember, it’s a very common thing that everybody deals with in some way or another.
One: you could have an ACL tear, or you could have torn your ACL in the past and had it
repaired, or maybe you never had it repaired. That’s going to have an implication on your
leg training. Two: you could have arthritis. Especially the older you get, the more likely
you’re going to get arthritis that comes up, especially in the knee. Third thing: you could
have a meniscus problem. If you tore your meniscus at some point, if
it’s not repaired and it’s causing you problems, it causes big problems with training in your
legs. Finally: you could have patellar tendonitis, which is one of the things I deal with in
a very significant way because my feet are so damn flat there’s a lot of causes for it,
or whatever it is; if you have it you know what it feels like. That knife stabbing feeling in your knees
every time you try to step underneath the squat bar. So, what is the big issue that
you need to understand to be able to start training around these pains? You can do it.
You have to think “What is the position of you shin?” This is my leg bone here below
my knee. What is the position of your shin during the
leg exercises that you’re doing? What I want to do is show you what happens to the shin
during the different leg exercises so you could get a better understanding of which
ones might be better for you. The second thing you want to consider is:
what is the depth of flexion? How much flexion are you getting? If my leg straight, when
I go down to a squat, am I stopping at 90? Am I going all the way down? What is the depth
of the exercise you’re doing? That, too, could have an implication depending
on what is wrong with your knee. So, let’s start looking at a couple of the exercises.
First off, we have a common exercise that does tend to cause knee pain in people that
have it. It’s the lunge, but there’s two ways you could
do. There’s a lot of ways you could do a lunge, but there’s two sagittal plane ways that you
could do the lunge. You could either do them forward as I’m demonstrating here for you,
or you could do them backwards, as I’m demonstrating here for you. Now, the movement is the same in terms of
what happens in you quads and your glutes. You get a little bit more loading on your
glutes when you step forward. However, if you look at the movement itself what is the
position of the shin? The shin on the forward lunge is really far forward. It’s angling a lot further forward from vertical
than it is here, when I show you on a reverse lunge. On the reverse lunge I’m taking a lot
of the stress away from the front of the knee, or the kneecap, especially if I had that patellar
tendonitis, or patella femoral syndrome. What is the knee depth? The knee depth is actually pretty fixed. It’s
fixed, especially on the reverse lunge because when that back knee comes really close or
touches the floor I’m done with the movement. So, if you’re somebody that has arthritis,
or somebody that has meniscus problems, we know that the depth – a lot of flexion of
the knees – is going to cause a problem. Especially with meniscus tears. You’re going
to get a lot of pain and discomfort when you go to really deep flexion of the knee. So,
this is a great exercise for you because of that, but the people that have the issues
with the vertical displacement of the tibia – like an ACL. When we lose our ACL the tibia is no longer
really controlled on the femur; it can go too far forward. Same thing with patellar
femoral syndrome, or patellar tendon inflammation. You’re going to get less of that stretching
over the kneecap if that shin stays more vertical than it does when it goes past vertical. Next exercise: we’ll go to a common one. The
squat. Here’s another two pronged issue. You can see in a squat my shin does go pretty
far forward and it also creates a great degree of knee flexion if you go ass to grass, which
is great if you have the ability to do that. If your knees are free of discomfort. If I
go with deadlift – which is another great power exercise for the legs – look at the
difference. Watch how much more vertical my shin is during a dead lift, and it still allows
me to load up. It still allows me to lift a lot of weight and train my legs heavy without
having to have all that vertical displacement; that forward displacement of the shin that
I would get with a squat. You do have another option though. If you’re
trying to avoid some of that displacement forward and keep that knee feeling a little
bit better you could do a box squat, like I’ll show you here. What we’re doing with
the box squat, not only are we getting a much more vertical shin at the bottom, taking a
lot of that stress off the knee, we’re also controlling the depth. Again, depth issues are going to be a problem
for people that have arthritis, or meniscus tears. A box squat will be a great way for
you to control that and also keep your knee in that more vertical position. Another alternative
all together, and still a version of a squat that’s my favorite, is the dumbbell Bulgaria
split squat. With a Bulgarian split squat, again, now I
can load up the weight. I can load even up to 95 pounds, or 100 pounds on each hand,
get my knee farther out – the further out that I jump my knee, when I go straight down
I’m going to have a vertical shin. If I keep my knee too close to the bench – as I’m
showing you here – even this great exercise can become more problematic for those like
the ACL tears, like the patellar tendon problems, when I go down. You can see that shin is no longer remaining
vertical. Even how I setup here for this exercise is going to make a big difference. I get good
depth at the bottom, I do get control of it because my dumbbells are going to hit the
floor before I can get all too low, and of course I’ve got that whole problem fixed as
far as how far forward the shin goes. I love this exercise. This is actually one of my favorite ways to
train legs. Not to mention the fact that I could do it unilaterally, which is more athletic.
Finally, another great option for you when you’re trying to train like an athlete especially
– we talked about unilateral. It’s great to train your legs unilaterally
because we’re usually on one leg or the other when we’re functioning. When we’re running,
jumping, or again, being an athlete. So I like the step up. The step up is another great exercise that
allows us to – look at it. I’m showing you here. Again, keep that shin pretty damn vertical
as opposed to really driving that knee forward and causing some pain and discomfort in the
front, or medial part of your knee. It even allows me to get really explosive
if I want because I can be explosive still out of that same safe position of the tibia. See? I can just explode up off the bench,
do this plyometric version of it, but I’m still doing it out of a good position here
of my knee. So there’s really no excuses when it comes to training legs. You never have
to skip a leg day. Athlean-X is all about that. I work with professional athletes who deal
with knee problems all the time. Some NFL players who’ve had 60 surgeries on their knees.
They’d better find a way, or they’re going to have to retire. It’s my job to help find
ways and find solutions. We do that all the time. As a matter of fact, like I said, ass to grass
might be great for you if you can do it and you don’t have pain and problems in your knees.
Again, there’s a lot of reasons. Don’t let somebody tell you that ass to grass is the
best thing for your knees if you’ve got knee problems. No. It depends on what’s wrong with your knees
in the first place. So, one size doesn’t fit all. Again, that’s my job as a PT, to make
sure that I get you guys the training exercises that you need to allow you to keep training,
get yourself in the gym, and continue to get leg gains. I hope you’ve found this video
helpful. If you’re looking for a complete training
system where I put the PT and the science back in what we do, then I invite you to head
to AthleanX.com and get our Athlean-X training system. No, we don’t skip leg days. We train you pretty intensely and we get damn
good gains as anybody that’s done our program can tell you. If you found this video helpful
leave your comments and thumbs up below. Let me know what else you want to see and I will
do my best to do that for you here on our channel each and every week. I’ll see you guys back here again, real soon.

30 Replies to “Knee Exercises for Pain Free Leg Workouts (NO MORE PAIN!)”

  1. Hey Jeff. Just want to say thank you for all the informational videos you put out there. You have really inspired me and I just recently brought the AX1 program and am loving it. Love your educational approach and the science truly makes the work outs more meaningful. I'm dealing with a lateral and medial meniscus tear on my knee and just went over the MRI results with the ortho surgeon who stated it looks pretty small but he'd still recommend an arthroscopy. When asked about a conservative approach and physical therapy, the MD said it'd be a total waste of time. In your professional and personal experience as a PT, what would be some factors to take into consideration to help determine when physical therapy would be appropriate and when it's not going to help much.

  2. Hey Jeff, thanks for all the priceless content! Could you maybe refer to 'kissing patellas' on one of your next leg workout video?

  3. Ok so I’m 45 yrs old I’ve worked out all my life but never have done squats cuz of back and neck issues, until recently I’ve been using the power squat machine, now my knees are sooooo tight it’s hard for me to kneel down I can’t touch my heels with my ass then getting up o man struggle, can you suggest ways to loosen them up, thanks

  4. Jeff you are the best, I have been able to work around arthritis pain. Your instructions are clear and concise. Keep up the great work.

  5. Amazing video! Just got diagnosed with arthritis and this has restored faith that I’ll be okay. Thank you!

  6. I had dislocated my left knee thrice, its 4 been 4 years since last dislocation. The knee is quite week and there is always some cranky sound when i do any sort of movement, although there is no pain. Wat exercises can u suggest?

  7. I perform bulgarian split squats with the standing leg on a rubber pillow .
    This hits the small stabilizing muscels very fine.

  8. I'v had a patellofemoral replacement and the deep squats are good for it. I'd just get stiff otherwise, even such an injury and surgery shouldn't stop you going for full ROM. Deep squats are good for many knee injuries as long as you work up to them and there is no pain. Discomfort is ok, pain is not.

  9. I am a 15 year old boy who has problem with my knees… I was told to look you up, so I did. I just startet Training my knees, I really hope the training from you visdom can help me get no pain.
    You sound like you got it under control so I trust you!
    God bless u all

  10. Dear, PLEASE some exercises for knee pain the "bone on bone" pain. I also have Baker cyst in the left knee. I am dead of pain after my Bodycombat classes.. I need to FIX this as I LOOOOOVE my BodyCombat and I dont want to stop teaching it. Also I teach Zumba and Bodypump. I cant keep my knees bent fully,, squatting down to the floor to eg. pick something up or what ever, hurts like a bitch to get back up. My physio says my meniscus seems ok and mri has shown degenerative signs of cartilage… I NEED TO FIX myself please help!!! (ps: I am 44 years old)

  11. Jeff you are the best , training body using the brain .. never seen that in Europe Thanks Fred from France

  12. Thanks Jeff. I have meniscus tear. I will make sure my knee bend doesn't go further than 90 degrees. I've been using the stationary bike because it puts no pressure on the knee. Would a Sumo squat be okay for meniscus tear?

  13. Have you ever looked into custom shoe inserts to correct the anatomical position of your joints from the soles of your feet…. I suffer from flat feet and it has helped change my life…. I could barely walk after two a days in high school …. after getting them my senior year I could make it through two a days without any pain in my ankles… I also attribute it to getting me through basic training…. what do you think?

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