We’re going to continue this week looking at this one pain-free rep principle to deal with knee pain while squatting.
If you did not watch last week’s blog please go back and check that one out so that you understand the basic concepts.
Last week we looked at the idea that if I have knee pain while squatting, there may be some mild, or major, biomechanical issue.
What we looked at specifically was the idea of the knee dropping into this valgus positioning while squatting as a potential contributor to knee pain.
We then looked at ways to de-stress that joint utilizing a band.
Now let’s consider a different possibility. Let’s say that you have knee pain on the right while squatting.
You grab your camera, you film yourself. You watch yourself in a mirror and you actually have pretty decent knee tracking, right? You have decent ankle, mobility, etc.
But as you go down, as you come up, you’re like, yeah, I feel it. It’s a little bit uncomfortable.
One thing that you need to know is that our ability to go up and down is in part governed by our vestibular system.
The vestibular system is what allows us to know where we are in space and keep our balance.
In many cases, people that have mild vestibular deficits, often post head trauma, They’ve maybe they had a mild concussion or something, will struggle with squatting
because their brain feels unsafe in that movement and anytime the brain feels unsafe
It will try to prevent you from doing that particular movement, usually, by utilizing pain.
Now, a lot of times people who have vestibular issues will often have a very odd-looking squat. They have this kind of big hinge often sitting like that.
That’s not the only reason people do that, but it’s something that we’ve noticed. So one thing that we often find that we can do to help reduce pain in squatting, for people that may have a vestibular issue is to increase their feelings of safety or stability by adding load and also adding additional input from the body.
So, in other words, we want their feet to be really engaged with the floor. We want their hands and the rest of their body involved and we want them to feel some load
so they know where gravity is with little bit more precision.
The easiest way to do that, is to grab an exercise band, put your feet inside it. And I’m going to recommend you start off with a light band if you’ve never done this before, You then are going to widen your feet into a comfortable squatting stance, externally, rotate a little bit if you need to.
I don’t know what your preferred squatting method is. And then you’re just going to simply rack this like you’re maybe moving into a front squat.
It doesn’t have to be anything particularly important but hold here and then I like to have people actually pull the band apart slightly to get a little bit more activity in their back. Now, once they have all this in position we’ll then try to have them squat.
Often, as they’re doing this, They’ll say, oh, that seems to decrease my knee pain.
And you also often notice that it changes the movement pattern that we’re seeing with the squat itself.
All those things are to be expected.
Now, if adding in this kind of band load to the squat helps, but it is insufficient to completely reduce the pain you still in this particular case maybe a little bit of that valgus knee positioning, It’s very easy to combine what we’ve just done with what we did in last week’s video.
So now I can take that same band that I had in last week’s video. It’s going to give me a little bit of valgus knee resistance. In other words, it’s pulling me out of that valgus position. Take my same loop band. So now I have some competing forces going on.
I come to this position, pull the band apart a little bit.
So I get some load. Now, I go into my motion. And in many cases, people that have been having a lot of knee pain, with a combination of the de-stress from the lateral band, a little bit of increased information for the vestibular system and proprioceptive system with the squatting band, all of a sudden they may find their range of motion improves and their pain either dramatically decreases or goes away completely.
So this is an idea that I want to keep sharing with you. Work to find the combination of loads, the combination of inputs, that allow you to hit that one pain-free rep.
Give this a shot. Let me know what you think.