T Nation

Bad Knees, Must Squat. Need My Legs Back

In my 20s I use to work up into the 500s for squats. In my 30s I was very sendindary. The aches and arthritis started setting in. In my 40s I started back lifting, but had problems squating due to knee pain. I resorted to monster leg presses, but looked like a jerk as I hogged all the weights to work my little chicken legs. At 45 I started Crossfit , and gained some mobility back, I started squating again, but it’s pittiful. I hate using knee compression but it helps a lot ( The diffrence between working out with 115 vs 185). I sprained my right knee then my left 5 months ago and have not been able to get my squat to improve ( no tears, test all negative except for some arthritis). Not sure what to do. Currently I work on my legs (front and low bar back squats- ass to grass) 1-2 times a week. Typically 10, 6,6,6 reps each, and follow it up with barbell lunges 4sets 10x.
I’ve had no gains in strength and knees still feel like crap after 3 months of focus.
Unlike my bench, which I actually stopped doing for a year ( work up to 315) because of Crossfit (we don’t do bench and I loss 25lbs) and in 1 month I’ve gone from barely doing 155 for reps to now doing 270 for reps ( And I’ve had rotator cuff tears, pec tears, and some horrible arthritis in both shoulders).

Then the stuff you’ve been doing - exercise choice, frequency, volume, and/or range of motion - needs to change. Even something as simple as hitting the lunges first and not going super-deep on the squats can help reduce the joint stress.

Tons of articles have advice to work on it. This one is a good place to start. And this article has some good mobility drills and other tips.

Sounds like your joints are pretty beat up in general. Some diet and supplement tweaks to work against inflammation probably wouldn’t hurt.

Thanks. I’ll give it a try. Funny thing is that lunges don’t bother my knees. I can even use more weight.