Recently, I had a patient who was certain she was doing squats and lunges incorrectly with her trainer as she was experiencing knee pain. She asked me to check her body mechanics and form with the squats and lunges so she could correct the problem. Her form was perfect and she was surprise to hear that it wasn’t her execution of the exercises – it was the exercises themselves. Here is the Squat Paradox: Strengthening the gluts, quads and hamstrings is important to protect your knees from knee pain, but the most common exercises of choice to achieve the strengthening (squats and lunges) often irritate the knee joints.
Yes. There is a good and a bad way to perform a squat, but sometimes these exercises are irritating to the knee joints regardless of form. There are many other alternative exercises to strengthen the butt, quads and hips that can be used until the legs are strong enough to handle squats. The Strong Knees DVD has many good options for knee strengthening exercises that don’t irritate the joints. My website also has some good mat exercises that will help the knees without over challenging the knee joints.