Squats *Shouldn’t* Hurt Your Knees (A QUICK HOW TO GUIDE!)
Squats are one the most fundamental and effective movements we can perform in the gym. However, they are so often performed improperly or are wrongly blamed for causing knee pain.
More often than not, it’s not squats that are causing knee pain, but the way the squat is being performed that is causing pain.
So let’s break these suckers down and get you feeling strong and confident in your squat!
Here’s what a solid squat looks like:
-Chest is tall and back is in a neutral position (meaning my spine isn’t rounded or excessively arched)
-Knees are pushed out
-Core is engaged to keep my torso upright
-Weight is on my mid-foot and heel
-Hips are below knees
-Knees are tracking over toes
What a squat shouldn’t look like:
-Upper and lower back are rounded
-Knees are collapsing inward
-Torso is folded forward
-Weight is shifted onto my toes
-Hips are above knees
-Knees are in front of toes
…Yikes. It’s easy to see how squatting with poor form can cause pain or increase risk for injury, right? Especially when performed with a weight!
Let’s break that down even further. How To Squat:
Set up with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width and point your toes outward at about 30 degrees. Your weight should be on your mid-foot.
Initiate your squat by pushing your hips back, then squat down
Push your knees out as you lower down and think about spreading the floor open with your feet
Go only as low as you can while maintaining an upright torso and without letting your back round
Push into the floor to stand all the way back up, locking out your knees and your hips at the top
Rinse and repeat!
While those are general guidelines to follow for good squat form, how YOU squat is going to be individual to YOU and your unique structure. Your ideal foot placement and squat depth will be a position that allows you to keep enough tension in your hips and core to maintain your neutral spine and upright torso in the bottom of your squat.
If you find yourself “dropping” into the bottom of your squat with your lower back rounding like the video below, check your tension and your foot position and try not squatting as deep.
When teaching new clients how to squat, I usually have them squat to a box that allows them to hit parallel (meaning in their bottom position their hips reach the same height as their knees, making their thigh parallel with the ground). This gives them a point of stability in the bottom of their squat and helps build solid strength in that range of motion. Over time, we lower the box until it is no longer needed.
Give squats to a box a shot if you are learning, or re-learning your squat. Once your form is on point, then it’s time to start adding weight (:
Squats are an integral part of my Fit In 15 program. If you’d like to put your newly badass squat form to good use with 15 workouts that are full body, super effective, can be done in 15 minutes with minimal equipment and at any ability level, snag your FREE copy of #FitIn15 HERE!
You’ll also learn:
- Why you must dramatically shorten your workouts for the best fat loss results
- The method for devastatingly effective physique change compared to long, boring cardio and “toning” classes
- How to combine strength and cardio for a ferocious total body workout done in 15 minutes – so you can have a life *outside* of the gym.
*Important note: If squats with good form are still causing you pain, it’s best to see a medical professional.