Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Alternative Exercises To Squats - Weight Lifting

I have absolutely terrible knees and I am always looking for alternative exercises to squats because they cause a great deal of knee pain for me.  I recently have decided to get back to the gym and the main reason for that is so that I can strengthen my legs to make me more stable during my other exercises like surfing and skateboarding.  So that being said I have started researching alternatives to squats and this is what I have found.

Leg Presses

One exercise that I am able to do with relatively less knee pain is the leg press.  The leg press machine allows me to be in a seated position so I can isolate the legs muscles with a very controlled and stable pressing motion.  After I complete a set on the leg press machine I can feel the burn in my quads and hamstrings.  Everyone says that squats are the "king of all exercises" but if you can't do them then I think leg presses might be the next best thing.

Leg Press Machine

Wall Sits

Wall sits will not be as beneficial as squats but my main focus is here is what you can do if you have knee issues.  Wall sits are very simple but can really punish you if you do them right and don't cheat.  Basically, you stand in front of a wall and then squat down into a seated position with your back pressed against the wall.  You simply hold that position as long as you can and feel the burn in your quads and hamstrings.  I am unable to do these for very long at this point but I am getting better!

Wall Sit

Dead lifts

Dead lifts are a great exercise for your legs and lower back.  Because of the motion it is extremely important that you perform this exercise with proper form to avoid injury.  I am just starting to do these exercises again so I am by no means an expert on proper form for this exercise.  After a youtube search I came across the video below which explains proper dead lift form.

I plan on doing these exercises religiously for the next few months in order to strengthen my legs so that I can have a very solid foundation.  I am finding that leg strength is very important for the activities I am attempting to get good at and with my knee history I need all the help I can get.


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