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

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

How to massage hamstrings – does foam rolling work?

hamstring massage

For rolling away muscle tightness in your quads, the foam roller is a tried and tested tool, but when it comes to the hamstrings, the foam roller is less effective. Let’s take look at why this is, and what we can do to improve the tissue quality of our hamstrings in place of foam rolling. Continue reading

Is foam rolling always necessary before doing squats?

is foam rolling always necessarySometimes people ask us whether it is always necessary for them to do foam rolling before performing lower body exercises such as squats. The question usually comes up because they are finding the rolling takes up quite a lot of their scarce time, which they feel should be set aside for exercise.

There is no doubt about it, lower body foam rolling can be very time consuming. In our self-treatment videos, part 3a and part 3b, we go through six basic foam rolls we recommend for people suffering from knee pain. Even if you were only going to spend a minute on each roll, that would take up 12 minutes (one roll for each side of the body) – more like 15 minutes if we include time to transition between each roll. Those with particularly stubborn knots in their muscles might not find this is enough time and it would take even longer. Explained like this, it’s easy to see how this sort of work can eat into a training session. Continue reading

The counterintuitive truth behind treating trigger points with strength training

trigger points strength trainingIf you’ve been following our guides to healing patella maltracking, particularly our foam rolling articles, you should already be aware of trigger points. These are the knots that are created when your muscles are overworked. They tighten your muscles and can cause referred pain, and can be treated with foam rolling or other forms of massage – including the more intense use of PVC piping, broomsticks, or localised lacrosse balls. These methods are excellent ways of removing knots from the muscles, but if you rely on them too much you are left dealing with the symptoms of the problem and not the cause. Continue reading

Techniques to improve your ankle flexibility for effective squats

ankle flexibility for squatsAn important part of maintaining effective balance during the squat, and ensuring that your knees track outwards, is working on your overall ankle flexibility. Your shin needs to be able to move forwards slightly (roughly the length of a foot), and sideways (that is, outwards), in order to push the knees out far enough to give you space to squat down into. This ankle movement creates what we call a “diagonal shin” – as the shin moves out diagonally from the heel. How much your shin travels outwards will depend on how wide your stance is, as the closer the stance, the wider the knees need to move relative to the feet – but however far you need to travel, the main problem to tackle will be tightness in the calf muscles. Continue reading

Training routines for foam rolling, stretches and the core

training regime stretches coreDone properly, the foam rolling, stretching and core exercises available on this site will help alleviate knee pain and ultimately help you improve your movement (alongside the main exercises) to overcome patella maltracking. It is not possible to simply do them once or twice, for a set amount of reps or minutes, and expect results, though. Following the mentality of our exercise program theory, you have to pay attention to the effects each exercise has on you individually. So what do you need to look for in these peripheral exercises, to ensure success? Continue reading

Choosing the best foam roller for you

best foam rollerFoam rollers are essential. Everyone should have one, or at least have regular access to one, whatever your walk of life. Why? Because foam rollers are such inexpensive tools with massively useful application. If you’re new to foam rolling, you might not know which roller to choose, though. They come in many different materials and sizes, and it’s important to know what you’re getting yourself into.

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Improve your knees with this powerful lower leg stretch:

lower leg stretch for kneesAs part of an effective course of exercise and treatment for patella maltracking and knee problems, stretches help maintain correct movement and prevent persistent imperfections in movement. The following guide explains a special lower leg stretch (a calf muscle stretch) that will help improve how your knee moves in relation to the foot. Continue reading