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Squat Alternative When Experiencing Knee Pain

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I've got my girlfriend into lifting, and she loves the basic approach of Bench Press, Barbell Squat, and Deadlift. She wants to lose weight and get stronger. The problem we are seeing is that even with rigidly proper form, she experiences severe knee pain after only a few reps of her Squats. Even without weight, her knees start to give her problems.


My question is what kind of alternative exercises or possibly rehabilitative movements I can suggest to her to still work similar muscle groups and hopefully get her squatting properly.


Fitness Goals

Exercise Preference


  • Body weight
    • 220
  • Power lifts
    • Bench Press, Squat, Deadlift
  • Olympic lifts


Current Physical Stats


  • Gender
    • Female
  • Age
    • 26
  • Height
    • 5 foot 4
  • Weight
    • 220


Previous Training History


  • Past Programs
    • Kettebell presses and Swings
  • How long
    • 6 months to a year


Current Training


  • Present Program
    • Monday: Bench Press 5 sets of 5 reps
    • Wednesday: Squat 5 sets of 5 reps(currently limited or even canceled per this issue)
    • Friday: Deadlift 5 sets of 5 reps
    • Every Day: Handstand training (currently able to hold a 45 second full push-up position plank, working toward 60 seconds before starting wall walks)
  • How long
    • 2 weeks
  • Current working weights
    • Bench Press: 65 (working toward 5x5)
    • Squat: 45 (sets/reps in question per this issue)
    • Deadlift: 45 (working toward 5x5)


Current Diet


  • Mostly Paleo (80/20 with the occasional soda or grain based food)
  • Daily Calories
    • Not counting
  • Daily Macros
    • Not using


Current Resources/Limitations


  • Gym Access
    • Bench Press and Squat Rack in apartment
    • Pull Up Bar/Dip Station/Leg Lift Station "Power Tower" in apartment
    • Adjustable Dumbell Pair up to 50 punds each
    • Kettlebells of 25, 35, and 50 pounds.
  • Work/School Schedule
    • Mon-Fri 7-3:30
  • Time Allowed
    • Approximately 3 hours on weeknights and all day on weekends.
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