How to Modify Squats for Painful Knees and Lower Backs

In the last video Dr. Ryan Debell and myself talked about modifying deadlift variations to decrease stress on the spine.  In this video Dr. Ryan Debell and myself go over the same simple concept in the squat.  With this knowledge in mind we can easily modify the squat for people with either lower back pain or knee pain so they can squat without trouble.

So to recap.  If I have knee pain what modifications can I use to decrease pain during squats?

  • Decrease depth of squatting
  • Decrease amount of knee bending (more vertical shin, more hips back)
  • Decrease the load (More reps, add a tempo to lifts etc..)
  • Knee friendly exercise variation: High box squat with low bar position

If I have lower back pain what modifications can I use to decrease pain during squats

  • Increase the torso angle
  • Decrease the load (More reps, add a tempo to lifts etc..)
  • Lower back friendly exercise variation: Kettle bell goblet squat

Want to learn more about how to systematically modify workouts for athletes in pain?  Check out Dr. Debell and my online course.

“The Coaches Guide to Modifying Workouts for Athletes in Pain”

It’s on sale this week only for $100 off it’s normal price at only $299. It’s an absolute behemoth of information. Get your copy by clicking the link above!

Good Old Squats,

Dan Pope DPT, OCS, CSCS, CF L1

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