Staying Strong While Dealing with Knee Pain

September 20, 2019 | by Ryan Jore of Granite Health + Fitness

One out of every three Americans will suffer from knee pain at some point in their lives. Improper form, poor programming, and sudden increases in activity can all be factors.

While the first step in dealing with knee pain should be to see a medical professional, here are some ways to modify your training when dealing with knee pain:

1.  Use tempos and pauses. Tempos and pauses are helpful for multiple reasons. By slowing down the lift, it naturally reduces the amount of weight you can handle, thus reducing the amount of stress on the knee. This allows you to concentrate on your form rather than on the load.

2.   Use reverse lunges rather than forward lunges. Forward lunges force you to decelerate the body as you come down, putting increased stress on the knee. By going backwards instead, you end up in a similar position but place more of the load on the hips rather than the knees.

3.  Do box squats rather than free squats. Similar to reverse lunges, box squats are performed with the shins vertical, again putting more of the load in the hips rather than the knees. In addition, they typically require a reduced load initially, allowing you to work hard while giving your knees a break.

4.   Focus more on deadlifts. Rather than focusing on the downside of less squats, this can be a good time to work on improving your deadlift. Since deadlifts utilize more of the hips and backside of the body (seeing a theme yet?), they are typically well-tolerated for those dealing with knee pain. 

While knee pain is by no means fun, it is not a death sentence and it certainly does not mean that your legs have to completely wither away while you deal with it. By making smarter exercise selections, you can still make strength gains while working around and ultimately reducing your knee pain.

Ryan was born and raised in North Dakota. Playing several sports in high school helped instill a lifelong passion for fitness that led him to pursuing a career in personal training. He specializes in helping everyday people move better and become stronger than ever before with a structured, individualized approach. Follow him on Instagram @ryanjorept!

Certifications And Education

  • NASM certified personal trainer
  • A.S. Physical therapy assistant
  • Functional Movement Systems Level 1
  • Previously Strongfirst Level 1 Kettlebell certified.

Ryan trains at Granite Health + Fitness, where ALL trainers are nationally and specialty certified and work with YOU to reach your fitness goals - keeping you strong, injury-resistant, and able to tackle the activities you love!