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.

100 thoughts on “Knee Exercises for Pain Free Leg Workouts (NO MORE PAIN!)”

  1. I tore my meniscus wrestling my senior year. Doctor said it didn’t need surgery but it’s caused me problems ever since. Hope this helps.

  2. Just wanted to thank you for sharing your experience and knowledge.. Ortho arthritis in both hinges have not dome quad work in 2 years.. I will give the alternate exercises a try..

  3. Jeff you are a Guru to these workouts and explains it to the T. I have a plica syndrome to my right knee. Are these workouts safe for me to do? I'm taking physical therapy

  4. Jeff, I can't seem to do the Bulgarian squat without experiencing knee pain or extremely limited range of motion. I'm surprised because I'm a yoga teacher with a good deal of flexibility who regularly mobilizes my legs (myofascial release and stretching). I am able to bring my knee close to the floor while standing on the ground, but when one foot is on a bench I have trouble keeping my front shin parallel and feel an intense stretch in the hip flexors of my back legs and/or the hamstrings and glutes of my front leg (I feel almost nothing in my front quad). Any advice?

  5. I've found all your videos very helpful. I always try to follow you to my best potential.
    If possible, can you please make one dedicated video for the Bulgarian split squat ?
    Thanks in advance

  6. I just had acl surgery a month ago. I showed my therapist one of your videos and know he dresses just like you and fucker has me doing all kiinds of work outss lmao

  7. Yes! These are great! I have arthritis in my left knee, and get a lot of cracking noise. These exercises are great, along with the exercises I got from my physical therapist; exercising my hamstrings, and gluts.

  8. Just went to the gym and tried the Bulgarian Split Squat. I have MANY issues with my knees from 20+ years in the Army. This is perfect for my legs! I had absolutely NO knee pain! YOU'RE THE MAN!

  9. god damn I am so mad I just NOW came across this video. Thank you jeff! my legs are friggin' ruined so I'm so happy to see this video. Now I just need one to show me how to get around a bitched elbow (dislocated) and a torn pec and I'll be golden. I always aggravate those when I lift too heavy, or too long.

  10. Am I seriously never gonna be able to squat again? Surely I'm not the only noob who used improper form and tweaked their knee. My squat only got to 225.

  11. Jeff, thank you so much. I had an ACL tear 4 years ago and the physical therapy I had was great, but this video means so much for me to learn from.

  12. i've torn my acl twice and couldn't do anything to build muscle. thank you jeff for your tips. i can finally do a leg day without a week of pain

  13. the only lower body exercise i can do without pain is glute bridge or hip thrust. Everything else hurts either my knees, hips or lower back. I've tried everything and all with perfect form and movement pattern, also i've done a lot of mobility work core strengthening exercises but no nothing fucking helps always something hurts. So fuck legs! i'm done

  14. Thanks a lot for the advice Jeff! These are all great but in my situation I’m experiencing and lcl sprain. Would you have any ideas how to strengthen and or prevent my legs from experience this issue?

  15. Do you have your athletes perform box jumps as a form of cardio? If so, can you show us some of the workouts? Thanks

  16. Why does my left knee hurt alot near the top let corner of left kneecap especially during split squats on smith press machine, with that left leg behind me and right leg doing the work?
    it seems to be suraface pain rather than deep miniscus or acl
    I only feel maybe 1/10 as much as when doing s dumbell bulgarian split squats.
    Its most instense in the smith rack doing 1 legged squats with that left leg going back and most of the load on the right leg.

  17. @ 5:55. I've tried that with no weight, then fell over because it killed my knees. I don't know why so many people recommend this move when it's obviously bad for your already hurting knees. 🙁

  18. Your videos are life saver. I had it band syndrome and bone marrow edema on my knee and your videos helped me to get pain free. I felt pain 6 months and my pain goes down from 10 to 3.

  19. Hello,
    I believe I might have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome or something similar, most of my joints often sublux.. my joints are also often noisy.. I'm not sure if my ligaments are too tight or too loose.. I know that some people with EDS do have visual results from doing weights for example and some never seem to have visual results.. EDS is something to do with the connective tissues and there's more than one type.
    I want to be strong legitimately (not put weight on already compromised back).. ppl think I'm strong but my arms are actually weak however I don't wanna get my hopes up about looking sculpted if it's not possible however I do need to strengthen for everyday function and to help with getting and keeping fat down considering I can't do much in terms of cardio because of a condition that affects my heart, circulation etc..plus what's possibly adrenal fatigue.. I'm deconditioned anyway and can't dance or run and jump around however even as a kid was short of breath and good with sprints by terrible with cross country.. I don't have full asthma thought I had exercise induced asthma but I think it's possibly never been that.

    Another thing is, is a degenerative lumbar disc connected to chronically tight hamstrings? I've noticed a disc problem from childhood although couldn't articulate it at the time.

  20. If I don't have problems with my knees now is it possible I will develop them with a back squat ass to grass?

  21. Thanks for the Reverse Leg Lunge. No pain. Not sure why my legs have always felt so brittle with no stabilization, but leg exercises like this is a start.

  22. 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.

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

  24. 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

  25. 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.

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

  27. 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?

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

  29. 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.

  30. 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

  31. 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)

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

  33. 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?

  34. 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?

  35. Even if you can do ass to grass squats and it feels fine is there still a problem cartlidge degeneration due to repetitive excessive movement? I have no miniscule us but have yet to have a problem. Am I creating a problem by doing ass to grass?

  36. Thanks a lot for this video….but I have just one query and that is my knee gives a crunching sound while doing squats and lunges……there isn't any pain…..so should I avoid doing squats and lunges for the fear of damaging the joints more…..I am 42 yrs old

  37. Is there proper vs.improper form on the step up? I find that my knee gets aggravated after step ups,but I love them for so many reasons. Mine is definitely meniscus related.

  38. I have had an ACL replacement so this was really useful! Will definitely try out those Bulgarian Split Squats! Would love more on ACL problems and how to overcome them in leg training.

  39. Im from Bulgaria and no one in my gym is doing the Bulgarian squat. And when Im doing it, everybody is like "dude, what is this exersice". lol.

  40. It sounds great and all to not put your knee over your toes, but what happens when you return to sport? Your knees are over your toes the entire game… idc what sport you’re in- basketball, football, soccer, volleyball

  41. jeff plz upload a video on whether to wear a knee cap ! for beginner having pop sound during squatting or if it can prevent it or not! .
    serious issue to be noticed my-loud!

  42. Dude, you make me feel like a dummy sometimes. I could never do the forward lunge properly because I couldn't do it without my knee passing my foot which I've always thought was wrong, plus I have balance issues. Reverse lunges, such a simple fix. My legs thank you for this and my elbow thanks you for alleviating the "mysterious" pain by making me realize that I wasn't gripping the weight properly and also for saving my shoulders by schooling me on the potential dangers of my beloved upright row.
    Seriously, I grew up thinking I knew everything there was to know about weight lifting because I read a couple of bodybuilding mags back in the day. Looking back, I was doing so many things wrong. Bottom line, this channel is the SHIZZNIPPLES!

  43. I tore my meniscus a few years ago, and I never went to the doctor for it. Now, I really probably should get surgery but I dont want to shell out a few thousand and be unable to use it for a few months, so I kind of live with it. I can do dead lifts just fine, but when I squat my knee (only the one with the tear) pops, and doesn't feel good at all. After seeing this video, im definitely going to try incorporating some of these exercises and see if they help.

  44. cartilage is all but gone…. but I don't have any chronic knee pain. which of your given exercise minimize further damage to the joints? I intend to get knee replacements in the future when my discomfort increases…

  45. What about the wall squat using dumbells and/or balance ball? I need a leg exercise with NO back bending AND vertical shins…. (someone with back problems and osteo arthritis in knees).

  46. I'm guessing your form of the squat and forward lunge in this video with the knee almost passing the toe was intentionally exaggerated, as a bad form?

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