What’s so great about gaining control of your big toe?

big toe calf raiseGaining good motor control and strength in relation to the ball of the foot and the big toe (AKA the great toe) might seem like a trivial matter but it could be the missing link you’re looking for to take your squatting or running performance to the next level. This article will help you make some considerations for your big toe that could change the way you exercise. Continue reading

Returning to exercise – how to reintroduce strength training after time off

reintroduce weights after time offEven with the best intentions, there are times in life when you will experience gaps in your regular training. When away on holiday, during a period of illness or when going through other unavoidable life events, training can become side-lined. While this is naturally never desirable, when the inevitable does happen, you may be left with questions as to how to get back on top of your training. Here are some quick considerations for reintroducing strength training, and the correct weights, after you’ve had some time away from exercising. 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

What causes knee pain? Patella maltracking and other problems

what causes knee painAt KneeStrength.com, we focus very much on overcoming patella maltracking as a means to dealing with knee pain. This is because the incorrect tracking of the patella, caused by muscle imbalances pulling the knee cap to one side, is one of the most common forms of knee pain. It is also the problem we have most personal experience with.

It is important to note that patella maltracking is not the only cause of knee pain; but bear in mind that the correct body mechanics we teach to resolve knee pain generally apply to other problems that may arise. Sadly, treating physical problems by correcting body movements is not something that healthcare institutions like to admit. So what other problems may you face with your knees, and how does correcting your body mechanics fit into the treatment? 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

Is barefoot running good for you?

is barefoot running good for youBarefoot running, either literally running barefoot or using shoes with minimal cushioning, is very popular, but highly contested. Almost everyone seems to have an opinion about it, and it raises a frequent question from our readers, “Is barefoot running good for you?” Personally, I like barefoot running, but some of the roads and sidewalks around me are constructed using very jagged concrete, so I use barefoot running shoes which have zero cushioning but a protective tread to protect the skin. But just because I like barefoot running doesn’t necessarily mean it is suitable for people in various stages of curing knee injuries. So I’m going to take a moment to explain in full both why I like it, and what it means for your health. 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