Correcting sliding heels in wide-stance squats

hip position in squatsFollowing on from our article on toes turning out during squats, which discussed fixing such a problem during wide-stance squats, this piece looks at the foot-angle issue from the perspective of the toes staying where they are but the heels sliding in.

The first part of the solution is fairly simple: distribute more of your weight back into the heels of your feet so they have more traction with the floor surface and are less likely to slide in. The weight distribution needs to be even between the 3 key areas of the foot (ball of the foot; outside edge of the foot; and the heel (especially the inside half of the heel)). Continue reading

Toes turning out in the squats – is it tight ankles or hip capsules?

toe turn hip capsuleOften when people perform this website’s preferred style of squats (wide-stance, straight-feet squats with an emphasis on external rotation from the hips) a technique problem can be encountered when the toes turn out during the movement.

We have discussed the implications of footwear on toes turning out here, so this article focusses on the question of whether it is restricted range of motion in your ankle joints and/or restricted range of motion in your hip capsules which is contributing to the problem. Continue reading

Clicking knees and related pain in patellofemoral syndrome

knee clickingHaving recently been asked about clicking during squats, and how it relates to knee pain and the overall effects of patellofemoral syndrome, it seems like an apt time to revisit this topic. Clicking knees, with or without pain, can be very disconcerting, and it’s not something that’s always commonly understood. It is not uncommon to experience clicking even if you do not have knee pain. This can happen when there is a short section of the knee’s range of motion with poor tracking but the rest of the range is otherwise fine, so that the patella is not uniformly tight and painful throughout. The cracking is the sound of the air in the joint popping as the patella quickly moves into a new position. So why does this happen, and what can be done about it? Continue reading

7 common questions about sissy squats answered

sissy squat formPowerful as they are, sissy squats are an exercise that is new and unfamiliar to most people, as it has a specialist focus. We receive a lot of questions about perfecting sissy squats form, both online and in person, so here’s our attempt to cover some of them – to make sure your sissy squat form is as good as possible to rectify your patella maltracking. Continue reading

Can you do sissy squats and calf stretches barefoot?

barefoot sissy squat calf stretchFootwear in various exercises has been a frequent topic of discussion recently at KneeStrength.com. As demonstrated in our article on barefoot running, we are in favour of people learning how to move and exercise barefoot and reduce reliance on shoes with heels and thick shock absorption. However, as we saw in last week’s discussion of the right type of shoe for training, different exercises call for different considerations. For something seemingly simple like calf stretches and sissy squats, you may ask if it is necessary to wear shoes. Here’s our thoughts: Continue reading

Can sissy squats help cure cartilage-based knee problems?

sissy squats knee cartilage Following from our article regarding different causes of knee pain, we’re now going to address the question of what knee strength exercises can do for a different condition to patella maltracking – worn out cartilage. Longstanding movement problems can lead to the wearing down of your cartilage around the knee, and if this wears down then the bones will rub without protection, causing knee pain. Can sissy squats help relieve this pain, as it does with patella maltracking? Continue reading

The correct arm position for bodyweight squats

bodyweight squat arm positionWhether you are still building your strength before adding weights to your squat, or you are just warming up before moving to the squat rack, correct bodyweight-only squat technique is important, and part of that is understanding what to do with your arms. Continue reading

Understanding the influence of foot angle on the hip joints and lower back

feet position squatIt’s all very well to explain that you should keep your feet straight, and that there are correct positions and postures to adopt with your body during exercises, but this instructions become much more meaningful when you understand exactly why these positions should be adopted. The following test will help demonstrate, with your own body, the impact your foot angle has on your hip joints and lower back: Continue reading

Tackling outer ankle pain and wide-stance squats

rolling the petroneus for ankle painMany people who build wide-stance squatting into their training routines experience pain in the outside of their ankles. Sometimes this can simply be due to a need to get used to the high amount of external rotation we recommend when performing these squats. This just requires time and a bit of smart calf stretching. However, for others this outer ankle pain can be due to tightness in the peroneus muscles. Continue reading

Why you need to learn to squat before you run

running knee supportEach year I volunteer to marshal a 10 kilometre cross-country fun run which is put on as a fundraiser for a local school. I always really enjoy the event as it an opportunity to observe how a large sample of people move. The runners at the front of the field move incredibly well; making the motions appear fluid and efficient with no wasted effort. It comes as no surprise to me that the further down the field you get, the more knee supports you see being worn by the runners and the more difficult and painful the effort of running appears to be.

This year I decided I would keep a mental note of the proportion of those runners wearing knee supports who exhibited out-turned feet as they ran. It wasn’t difficult for me to remember the proportion because it turned out to be 100%. Continue reading