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I read a while back that to get any real benefit from squats and lunges one should come down low past parallel. Indeed it has been encouraged in my Quads & Core classes (without weights), although the instructor says only come down as low as you can.

I have been squatting with a barbell past parallel for a while (at least a year), but recently I've had knee pain when coming past parallel. I don't feel it is sensible to continue squatting whilst this is happening. An odd "crunching" sensation and sound has began to happen as well.

My question is whether I am going to benefit from squats & lunges if they are not below parallel, or if I should do some other exercises instead?

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There's always going to be benefit from any movement (you're using SOME muscle, so SOME muscle will get trained), but of course, by limiting the range of motion (ROM), you're also limiting the effect.

But it's likely ill advised to do any squats or lunges while your knee is being repaired.

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