I want to cover with you today a concept to deal with knee pain while squatting, but I’m really using this to illustrate a major concept that we teach in relationship to pain neuroscience, which is the one pain-free rep principle.
One of the ideas that we’re always trying to get across to clients or athletes who are having pain is that we need to convince the brain that safe, pain-free movement is possible.
So, we spend a lot of time and effort trying to achieve that first pain-free rep. Because basically, once your brain understands that it is possible, then we can start to replicate it more and more.
When it comes to dealing with squatting, knee pain during squatting, one of the things that we first look for, obviously, are weird biomechanical issues that sometimes show up.
And it’s not that we’re addicted to biomechanics by any stretch of the imagination, And we realize that in the real world are knees do not always move perfectly as we would expect to with maybe a front squat or back squat. But we do want to watch for any odd lack of stability whenever people are squatting.
So let’s say that I’m having pain and I’m going to demonstrate this with my left knee because I have my band on my right knee right now.
So focus on my left knee. It’s possible that if you watch yourself in a mirror or you film yourself, that as you’re moving into a squat, this knee may begin to dip in.
Now, this can come from the foot, the ankle the hip your vestibular system, a whole lot of different things. But this position is called a valgus knee.
All right, we’re making basically an L shape, and if we squat repetitively in that fashion without having nice healthy knees, it may be a contributor to knee pain.
So, the first thing that we want to do is again approach this from the one pain-free rep perspective.
So we want to begin by de-stressing the knee during the squat motion.
So, notice, I’m not saying, don’t squat, I’m saying, let’s find a way to help the knee attain a more stable position utilizing tools so that you can continue to repeat the movement, but do so in a pain-free manner.
So if you look now at my right knee, what I’ve done is I’ve grabbed the band, the band is from my right knee off to my right side because there’s now some stretch on that band
It basically is going to prevent my knee from doing this. So this is helping counteract that valgus positioning.
So let’s say I have knee pain on the right side while squatting and I’ve watched myself and as I do it I tend to get that valgus position. I’m going to attach the band off to the right side.
Put a decent amount of load on it because I need it to help support the knee and then I’ll slowly begin going into my squatting motion. It’s okay. In this particular case to use a camera, use a mirror and watch the knee so that you can make sure that the band is helping reduce the amount of valgus angulation.
If you have enough stress on the knee from the band helping, De-stress, that valgus position. This should make the squat more comfortable for you in many cases.
Now, if it doesn’t, there are a lot of other issues that we may need to deal with
but just remember that we want to create a pain-free motion and then do a lot of volume.
So for someone that has knee pain in this valgus position, the first thing I normally check is I throw the band on. I go, “okay try and squat. How does that feel?”
If it feels much better, great. We’re going to do four sets of 20 or four sets of 25.
Not full all the way down. But just to a comfortable range of motion allowing the band to help keep us out of that valgus position, de-stressing the knee and emphasizing lots and lots of pain-free repetition.
So give this a shot if you’re experiencing this and let us know how it goes.