Warmup to Stop Knee Pain with Squats (TENDON WARMUP!)


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Knee pain with squats is one of the most common reasons for either avoiding the leg exercise entirely or lifting far less than you should. The reason for much of this pain is due to pain in the patellar tendons. In this video, I show you not only the three things you want to do to make sure your tendons are properly warmed up and loose before you squat, but the exact routine I do that has been helping my knees feel much better.

To start, you have to make sure that you shorten the range of motion if you are going to work on your tendon readiness prior to squatting. I’m talking about literally just a few inches of motion at the knee joint. Next, you need to incorporate multidirectional movements into your routine. Preferably, you want to include movements in all three planes of motion; front, sagittal, and transverse. Finally, you want to be sure that you are not increasing the weights to two or three times what you would normally squat but rather less than what you would use.

If your tendons are really inflamed and stabbing when you try to squat, you will find that you can benefit from using no weights at all and simply performing the movements shown in this warmup circuit. That said, here is what this leg and knee tendon warmup will look like.

Do just 10 reps of the following exercises to get your patellar tendons and knees feeling loose before you start squatting.

Partial Pulse Squats x 10 reps
Side Step Pulse Squats x 10 reps in each direction
Drop Step Pulse Squats x 10 reps in each direction
Jack Pulse Squats x 10 out and 10 reps in

The goal here is to stay in the terminal range of motion and not be afraid to make the movements a bit ballistic in nature. Remember, your patellar tendons are going to need to be able to accommodate high level tensile forces if they are going to function properly. This can be accomplished by performing the reps of this leg and knee pain warmup routine rather quickly.

Transition from exercise to exercise without resting and be sure to contract the quads and hamstrings as you perform each rep. Try and perform this entire circuit two to three times before doing your first set of squats. You can also opt to do this again at the end of the workout to flush a bit more blood to the area and keep the knees feeling loose after your heavy work.

Feel free to use the routine as a quick leg finisher as well immediately following a set of heavier squats, deadlifts, etc. The burn will be appreciable and you will definitely feel the contraction. Either way, this will quickly become your go-to knee warmup even if you don’t have knee pain. It will just make you feel looser and more ready to attack your heavy sets.

For a complete workout program that trains you like an athlete and shows you how to build explosive muscle and strength without compromising the health of your joints along the way, be sure to head to and get the ATHLEAN-X Training System. Fortify your joints, train smarter and harder than ever before.

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49 thoughts on “Warmup to Stop Knee Pain with Squats (TENDON WARMUP!)”

  1. This is a interesting way to warm up the knee. SO many people have knee pain squatting etc. Warming up that patella tendon is a game changer though.

  2. I have pain when doing lunges but not the leg that goes out, the one that's back and bent. My technique is correct but still extremely sharp pain

  3. Jeff, you are really a Godsend. i have kneepain in the gym which makes me so uncomfortable doing squats. This vid just made my day and every other day in the gym again. Thank you so much Jeff!

  4. Sir approx 10 months before I guess I did squats in wrong way (going down slowly and coming up very fast with a sudden stop) after which I started experiencing mild knee pain and crackles in knee joint while flexing and extensing during squats. What should I do?

  5. What about finger tendons pain caused by poor grip after deadlifting, it wont go away. Should i warm them up too? Thanks!

  6. I'm shreyas I'm 17 and I need a package of exercises for my 100m Sprint . Where one got hardly a month. And I request to give me a solution to my thigh and calf pain while running

  7. Hello Jeff…please discuss exercises you can and cannot do with cervical spine problems…..like stenosis, etc.

  8. Man you are so amazing cuz last week I've been doing the hard work out and I got I got problem on my knees so my doctor told me to stop for a week going to the gym and I ignored that but if I worked out the way you did right now I wouldn't be happened whatever happened thank you man you are the best

  9. You are the best! I've been having knee pain squatting due to mountain biking, and I knew there was tightness in that area, so I was massaging the crap out of my thigh muscles, but I never considered the tendons! After doing just a few of these and then doing a few air squats, massive difference! Thank you so much! People like you are why I'm pursuing PT school.

  10. I knew you were legit, not because of all the wonderful information you spill out, but because I have instinctively tried out this method out of sheer fear of pain that I usually experiences trying to squat each time some months back and discovered that it actually helps ease the pain tremendously, and here you are narrating the exact same thing! Experience always makes one feel some else's pain! Well-done bro!!

  11. How about knee rotations. Kind of like when your do it with your ankles when you put your toes down and roll them. It looks silly but it really gets the knees warm

  12. Hey Jeff, I’ve been a follower for a couple years now and I really have to say you are always a great help and thanks to you I often receive new insights and ideas for my training.
    Much appreciated and keep up the great work!

  13. If I dont warm up in badminton I have shoulder pain throughout the game so I guess this applies to weight training too.

  14. I had knee pain since 3 weeks by doing squats and by this pain ,i was unable to do my daily activities ..pls help me to get rid from this pain 😥 ..

  15. Thank you very very much I was looking for the proper warm-up to do squats ,and God lead me to you !! I LOVE to dance, now I am going to drop it like it’s hot, back that thang up,and SCATTER THE CLUB!! I have a couple of YouTube videos with me dancing ,now they are going to be much much better ! THANK YOU!!

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