Hi, everybody. Kris Stokes from Custom Fitness Personal Training Studio, and today we’re talking about taking the pain out of your squats. This is going to be the first in a two part series, so be on the lookout for part two coming soon. And as always, if you have any questions about today’s blog then please give us a call at 806-322-3188 or email us at info@customfitness.biz

Too often that people come in and say, “You know, I can’t squat. It just hurts my knees,” or that, “My legs swell up after I squat,” or, “Yeah, I can’t seem to walk normal for a few days afterwards.” And I’ll tell you that most of the time the problem is not actually the knee, most of the time it’s our form.

If you think about the knee, it’s trapped in the middle between the ankle and the hip, right, which both have more mobility than the knee does. The knee is a hinge joint, moves back and forth, but the hip is a ball joint, right? It can go pretty much 360. And the ankle as well, we’ve got great circumduction and range of motion there. The knee is really caught in the middle. So when there’s a knee issue, outside of there being actual deterioration within the joint, typically it’s an issue with the hip or the ankle.

Squats are one of those things that a lot of people come in and have problems with, so today I wanted to address that and be able to give you some options of ways that you can work on that. And know that if you’re working with a professional, they’re able to better adapt exercise for you, from beginning going through.

So sometimes it’s a great reason to get a trainer, have somebody there to watch those things and be able to help you not only start out where you need to, but be able to adapt that over time so that it becomes a better movement pattern for you. As we fix those movement patterns then you’re body’s able actually to do more work, meaning that you can either do heavier loads or you can do deeper movements, getting deeper into the muscle fibers, or you can just basically make that more beneficial to your body in different ways. You can even add in some cardiorespiratory with the strength and be able to benefit your metabolism a little bit more.

When we’re talking about taking the pain out, the first problem is that people sit wrong, right? You tell people to squat, or you go out and do a squat, and you’re in the middle of a room and you sit and the first thing you do is this, right? Well, I can tell you that I’ve never gone to church and seen somebody sit on a pew like this, or gone to a luncheon and see somebody sit down like that. What technically should happen is our hips should go to the back, but we’re all taught don’t ever stick your butt out to the back, so we always go to the front. Also, it’s a mind thing, whenever we don’t have something to sit on then the brain says, “Whoa, but I know I can see in front,” so your body goes forward.

To start off, if we’re having trouble with squatting, just in that realm, psychologically, you can’t get the right form and you’re feeling a lot of pain in the knees, first step is to have a chair or bench to actually sit on, okay? You would actually put your feet a little bit further front, so they’re not with your calves all the way back against it but out in front a little bit, and you want your feet about hip to shoulder width apart, facing forward. Then we’re going to take our hips and we’re actually going to sit back, you’re sitting into a chair, somebody’s pulling that chair out for you, aren’t they so kind, and you’re going to sit back onto that chair and you’re going to sit all the way down, right? And then you stand all the way up.

More often than not, people are not having pain in their knees whenever they sit on a chair and stand back up. It’s when we’re in the middle of the room, and that’s how we know that usually it’s not a deterioration in the joint or a physical therapy type issue, because we are able to sit and stand and we can do that repeatedly, feeling fatigue in the thighs but not feeling pain in the knees.

So again, we would just sit down and then we’d stand up. How would we build off of that? Well, we’d start to work away from the bench, not just taking it away all of a sudden, but we’d practice that a week or two, and then we might start to come down, tap the bench, and come back up. Instead of sitting all the way down, we reach back, tap. It’s always important that our knees track directly over our toes and that our hip are going back first. You’ll notice that I don’t bend my knees first, but rather my hips go back and then my knees bend because my hips continue back on that track.

As you’re moving through that, then eventually you can take it to where either you go lower. So maybe you start with a higher chair and build it down to a lower object. Maybe go down to the mantle on your fireplace. If you’re doing that we’re not trying to get much lower than the bench height, because we don’t have that confidence yet in the movement. So if you start out higher then you work it down. But, again, just building to where eventually we can take it into that squat, the hips go back and forward.

Now, there’s a lot of different theories out there and it depends on what type of training you’re doing, and how often and those kinds of things, as to the load and how deep and those kinds of things. Your first goal is just to get a squat without hurting, right? I didn’t say that you had to get your hips all the way to the floor, anything like that. But if you go to a half squat, if you get here, or you can go down to the full 90, that’s great, but we do want that core in strong the whole time. That’s another really big part, not talking about the knees but just holding the core in to get to where you want to be.

At Custom Fitness, we customize a plan for you. We sit down with you and find out what your needs are and then build a health and fitness plan around that. We have an entire team of dedicated professionals to help you with your health and fitness goals. To get your consultation set up, give us a call at 806-322-3188 or email us at info@customfitness.biz At Custom Fitness, we are YOUR personal trainers in Amarillo, Texas. Have a great day.