As the title suggests, I am looking for quad focused exercises of workouts that can be done with a bad knee. I have learned to squat with my feet and knees pointed outward slightly, this helps a lot. But it also means that the squat is focused less on my quads and more on my glutes if I recall correctly.

I have been able to work on my hamstrings and glutes for years without issue, but due to an old injury, exercises such as squats or leg extension can be painful.

Due to all of this, I am getting close to deadlifting 3x my bodyweight, but at the same time my squat is only as strong as my bench. I want to correct this.


2 Answers 2


Any specific answer we give would be a guess.

We can’t tell you what to do here. At best we could say something like “I have knee pain when I squat, but such and such exercise doesn’t hurt me”. But we have no idea if that will work for you.

Instead, just find a huge list of quad exercises and just start trying them. Try different variations of them. Try different resistance curves by attaching bands or chains to whatever implement. There is something out there that you can do to work and then progressively load your quadriceps, but you’re the only one who can figure out what it is.

  • Tho I understand the sentiment of the answer, I kind of have to disagree here. There must be people with knowledge on quad specific exercises that put less strain on the knee than others. On top of that, I've already did what you describe. It's not like I am new to working out, I've tried many things over the years, which is why I am now seeking help.
    – MJB
    Aug 7, 2023 at 11:56
  • 1
    @MJB “Less strain on the knee” is such a general statement as to be entirely meaningless. It isn’t about putting less strain on the knee - you can do that by reducing the load on whatever exercise(s) you want. It’s about the particular movement patterns that cause you to experience pain or not, and only you can figure that out with experimentation. Take two athletes, both with complete meniscus tears. One might be asymptomatic, while the other has trouble walking. This is such an individualized problem that only you can figure this out.
    – Thomas Markov
    Aug 7, 2023 at 12:28
  • 1
    @MJB I agree with Thomas here. It makes a huge difference what the specifics of your problem are. Some may only tolerate isometric load, others isotonic resistance in movement. It may be a certain range of motion that is ok or something on the ground forcing your feet into pronation that helps because your need your kneecap moved slightly into more medial position. Who are we to know without any information? A qualified physio needs to work that out with and for you Aug 8, 2023 at 18:49

consider trying out lunges, step-ups, Bulgarian split squats, or seated leg presses. Checking in with a PT first is always a great idea.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.