Need Help with Creating Exercise Routine

Hello there,

I need your help with my exercise routine. So fistly, a bit about me. I am a 22 year old female, 5’11’’ 168 weight. My body fat % at the moment is 24%. I want to get it down to 15%. The thing is I have an anterior pelvic tilt, flat feet an pain in my knees (being tall is a struggle).

I have read quite a lot on nutrition and fitness, however, when it comes to me performing some of the exercises, I just can’t seem to do them without experiencing pai n either in my lower back, knees or feet. I was wondering if anyone can help me out by telling me what I need to do to get in shape without risking getting injured.

When I do squats I my knees feel like they fill up with air and they are about to pop. I might be imagining it or it might be normal but yeah. Any tips about training and nutrition for a way too tall but ambitious and consistent woman would be appreciated.

Start light. How much weight are you trying to squat? Any fitness writer worth their salt recommends that everyone, especially beginners, should start lighter than they think they should. Start squatting with just the bar, or even lighter with goblet squats or even just bodyweight squats. Something is better than nothing, and you should always start somewhere that lets you get the technique perfect and is pain free before you try to progress.

Posting videos of you attempting these lifts that hurt you will allow people here to critique your technique. Without seeing you perform the lift, it’s hard to guess what is causing the problem. A coach would be incredible, but not everyone has the finances to afford a quality trainer. Posting videos on here is the next best thing you can do. There was an article posted just the other day that talked about how deep you should squat-I recommend you read it and attempt the test it talked about.

As a beginner, I’ve always liked Stronglifts 5x5 as a good starting point, or Ripptoe’s Starting Strength. Just remember, check your ego at the door, and start light. That was the hardest thing for me to grasp, and once you get a few weeks under your belt, the progress will begin.

Also as a beginner, cardio is not going to be as important as diet and proper weight training to get BF down. Don’t be too surprised if you see your weight increase at the beginning once you start training due to muscle growth-muscle is much denser then fat, so even if your weight goes up, your body composition and BF% will decrease.

It sounds like you have mobility issues. This is extremely common in beginners – don’t sweat it, but it IS something you need to work on. To start, google Joe Defrano’s Limber 11 and do that mobility routine. The video is about 20 minutes long but once you learn the routine it should only take 10-15 minutes to actually do it. It’s perfect for a warm up before you work out or you can do it on its own at home.

Just make sure you do it every day. If you don’t have access to a foam roller and lacrosse ball you can skip that part of the routine the first time through but you’ll definitely want to invest in them before too long. The benefits are huge.

Also, google “couch stretch” and do that every day too. 2 minutes each side, at least once per day. When you have time, experiment with other stretches for your hip flexors, quads, IT Bands, adductors, and calves (all easily googlable) and do the ones that you feel are the most beneficial.

I know mobility stuff isn’t as sexy or cool as lifting, but it will allow you to do what you need to do in the gym and will likely improve your quality of life outside the gym as well (at 22 you shouldn’t be constantly having knee pain.) Once you get yourself fixed up you won’t have to dedicate as much time to it and a simple warm up routine and some stretching on your off days will be enough. Until then you should really make it a priority. If you do that and follow breakingiron’s advice above, you should be golden.