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How to Train around Knee Pain

Written on July 28, 2008 at 7:15 am, by Eric Cressey

Q: I’ve just bought your book Maximum Strength. I think it is wonderful. I’ve seen noticeable changes in just 2 weeks on the program. The only problem I have stumbled on is my weak knees/hips. My knees get very sore when I do the squats and make a grinding noise when i bend them. I was wondering if there was any sort of stretching or warm up i could do along with the designated one that would strengthen them and help me gain the maximum lower body results.

A: Give this a shot for the knee:

1. Do reverse lunges instead of walking lunges in Phase 1.

2. Box squat on both days (easier on the knee) and wait until phase 2 to front squat. When you box squat, do it barefoot or in a shoe without heel-lift (Nike Fress and Converse All-Stars are good) – not in regular cross trainers.

3. Deadlifts, pull-throughs, rack pulls, etc. should be fine.

I think you will be okay with the knee, but if you feel any tweaks, skip that exercise, add a few sets to the next one.

The foam rolling and mobility stuff in the book should get it on track pretty quickly, but I’d still highly recommend Bulletproof Knees for you as a resource to use in conjunction with Maximum Strength. This would definitely be a useful investment for you, as there are a lot of drills that you can use to complement the MS program to keep training hard as you get healthy.

For more information about Maximum Strength, head HERE.

  • Deb

    You may also want to try Active Release Therapy (ART), as mentioned in Bulletproof knees. Coming from a person who has bad knees, I found ART the most helpful of any treatment modality I tried. Of course the rehab exercises and stretches outlined in the book must be done in conjunction with the ART.

  • Sharon From Penn State

    Hey Eric,

    Can you suggest a good brand of Knee Sleeves?
    I am still healing from my ACL surgery, and would like to get back to training too!

  • Anonymous

    Rehband knee sleeves are excellent and wear well. If you can find the old (blue) style, try 1 size smaller than recomended. If you get the grey ones, use the recomended size, as they tend to get “pulls” at the seems if too tight.


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