You probably know the type; massive upper body and the tooth pick legs strutting around the gym like he owns the place. These guys are typically the brunt of jokes and stifled laughs in the gym. No one wants to be that guy. The benefits of a strong leg routine are numerous, but what are you to do when bad knees prevent you from doing heavy leg lifts like squats?
Sometimes you can just gut it out and wrap your knees and hope for the best. Although more often than not, this is just asking for trouble. After years of working out your knees are going to give out on you. Don’t completely avoid your legs and become toothpick legs. Get creative and you will find you can always work your lower body without straining your knees.
Leg Presses – Start with leg presses. A sample workout would include 4 sets of 12. However, for each set, situate your feet differently on the press. Try feet shoulder width, feet together, toes angled out, feet spread wide. This will hit your quads from multiple angles.
Hack Squats – Use a weight that allows you to do 25 reps. Grip a barbell with an overhand grip, but keep the bar BEHIND you. Keep your chest high and squat down slowly. Alternate foot positions here too.
Leg Extensions – This is a good exercise that will blast your quads without putting too much stress on your knees. Sit at the machine and adjust the seat accordingly. Try to do 3 sets of 15, with no more than 60 seconds rest between sets.
By performing these three exercises you can reap the benefits of the traditional squat, without further damaging injured knees. Injuries to the knees are extremely common, especially as we age. Knowing ways to get around an injury is key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle and avoiding a loss of motivation in the gym.