Modified Barbell Squats

Hi, I'm hoping for advice. I've been weightlifting for awhile now. I started off with NROLFW, then Stronglifts until I stalled, then Wendell's 5/3/1.

Then I hit a snag. Not sure how much detail I need to go into, but I have lateral epichondilits in my right elbow. With time and rest that should improve. I've been instructed not to lift weights until it heals. So I figured I can still do squats, as with a squat rack/cage it doesn't require the use of my arm.

But then I started experiencing extreme knee pain. Turns out I have a bone tumor in my hip that's impinging tissue and causing false knee pain. Regular ATG knees out toes out squats are one of the things that causes the pain. I honestly haven't been handling this well and with depression, gained back a lot of the weight I've lost. The elbow will get better, the hip will not. There isn't much I can do without surgery, but it's apparently in a very difficult spot that the surgeons would rather avoid (the tumor is benign).

I've been told as far as exercise, if it hurts don't do it. If it doesn't hurt then go ahead. So. Turns out I can do barbell split squats without pain. But meh, I don't like them as much. I can however do squats with my knees closed and toes straight ahead.

Is this an acceptable alternative? Useless? Harmful? It does seem to be a bit awkward, balance wise. And I can't seem to go ATG with them. Maybe with practice. Anyway hive mind, what do you think? I need to find out what I did with my copy of Starting Strength.

(FYI this tumor isn't random. I have a bone disease called Multiple Congenital Osteochondromatosis)


  • Cait_Sidhe
    Cait_Sidhe Posts: 3,150 Member
    And my post has fallen off the page.

    Basically what I'm asking is this: squats with knees apart hurt, squats with knees together don't. Is there any reason not to do them with knees together?
  • richardheath
    richardheath Posts: 1,276 Member
    I don't really know the answer to your Q. But I do know that you will NOT be able to go as low with your knees together because, basically, your bones get in the way. Rippetoe had something on this in the SS book.

    Is there another more common version you could do - say front squats - that don't hurt?
  • UsedToBeHusky
    UsedToBeHusky Posts: 15,229 Member
    I would think that you shift the weight from your glutes to your back with knees together. I could be wrong though.
  • Cait_Sidhe
    Cait_Sidhe Posts: 3,150 Member
    It's the knees out that hurts. Don't know if front squats will change that. Was meaning to look into front squat form before I injured my elbow.
  • JoRocka
    JoRocka Posts: 17,525 Member
    do you mean knees ACTUALLY together- or tracking straight forward over parallel feets?

    because knock kneed squats I'm sure are going to cause you some issues in the future- but straight on- as long as you are tracking over your toes you'll be okay.
  • likitisplit
    likitisplit Posts: 9,420 Member
    I do bodyweight close squats. My feet are slightly turned out with my heels together and my knees go over my toes.

    If I do bodyweight wider squats, my stance is wider and my feet are less toed out.

    I'd suck it up and do the nasty split squats.

    I just tried and I can do bodyweight squats with my knees and feet together, but that feels weird in my hips.
  • Cait_Sidhe
    Cait_Sidhe Posts: 3,150 Member
    The pain is when I direct my leg out to the side, if that makes sense. Doesn't matter what the exercise is. Just squats are the thing I was doing most that requires my leg to go in that direction. I don't mean knock-kneed. Maybe it's just my anatomy. I mean with my knees and feet just straight forward.

    Yeah kinda looks like I'm stuck with split squats unless I really want to go to surgery.
  • Cherimoose
    Cherimoose Posts: 5,210 Member
    I can however do squats with my knees closed and toes straight ahead. Is this an acceptable alternative?

    Not if you want to compete in powerlifting. But for general fitness & conditioning, it's fine. It's called a narrow-stance squat. Or you could do front squats, lunges, step-ups, jumping lunges, etc. Zercher squats are worth a try.

    By the way, this works for tennis elbow, according to studies:
  • Cait_Sidhe
    Cait_Sidhe Posts: 3,150 Member
    Hi! I just wanted to update that I've found a solution. Smith Machine Hack Squats. I knew about these and I don't know why it took so long for me to think of them. But, they work for my particular problem. I can go ATG and keep my legs straight ahead without pain. Thanks everyone for your advice! And thanks for that ^youtube video on lateral epichondilitis/tennis elbow, it's very helpful.

    I'm back!
  • Fujiberry
    Fujiberry Posts: 400 Member
    Never ever let your knees cave in, no matter what.
    I have hip pain as well. To take the strain off your hips, do narrow stance squats and deadlifts. Narrow as in your feet are around a foot's width from each other. It's an unorthodox way of squatting since more people prefer standard or sumo, but it puts less strain on your hips/glutes.