We believe you can overcome knee pain, even if you don't. Strength and mobility are possible through simple, easy to learn exercises - no drugs, no surgery. These lessons and techniques come from trainer Chris Williams, who resolved life-long knee problems through personal study and hard work.
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When you have one leg that is stronger than the other, it will impact the form you use during your exercises. This can reinforce muscle imbalances, as the stronger leg takes over the exercise and it becomes difficult to handle the load through your weaker leg. There’s one simple way to overcome this balance, but it requires taking care and focus. Simply put: slow down. Continue reading
It’s important to have an instructor or training partner who keeps you going, and pushes you to reach your goals. But it’s also important to recognise that a good coach should do much more than just that. A coach, a trainer, or even a casual spotter, should never be there just to spur you on. If you truly want to succeed in your fitness and health goals, to achieve your maximum potential and avoid injury, you need someone to give you technical guidance as well as motivation. A good coach is not a drill instructor. Here’s why: Continue reading
Following on from the account of my experiences of the wide-stance squat, to maximise external rotation, let’s address the feeling of strain that a wide-stance can produce. Many people get scared off from the exercise – people have injured themselves doing it, which gives others an excuse to shy from an exercise that requires effort. But it’s very important that you recognise the difference between the effort required by the style, placing a large demand on the hips, and the idea that the “strain” demanded by the hips could be damaging. Done correctly, the pressure you feel is not harmful. You just have to be sure you are doing it right. Continue reading
Doing squats with a heavy emphasis on external rotation can prove frustrating, but we encourage it for a number of reasons. Greater external rotation from your hips during the wide stanced squat supports your feet arches, creates a more stable position for the knees, allows a more vertical back angle and activates the glutes more. Beyond these physical benefits, it is also a great indicator of what you are doing wrong. I like to describe it as a squat technique which puts a magnifying glass on technical faults. The slightest errors get amplified significantly, not allowing you to get away with movements you might be able to with other techniques. And that’s a sure road to improvement. Continue reading
Our culture encourages certain activities as a force of habit, because they are fundamentally good for us. Brushing your teeth regularly, for example, is drilled into children to the degree that even the most resistant amongst us will be instinctively aware that to go without brushing your teeth for a day or two is bad. We all know that brushing your teeth can prevent terrible consequences. The same should be understood of exercise, and strength/movement training, as we teach it here are KneeStrength, and we want to make it clear that your physical health is as much in your hands as dental care is. Continue reading
When suffering with patellofemoral pain there are two traits of the squat exercise which can initially bring on pain or discomfort in your knees. Here we will explain those traits and come up with short-term workarounds to help the beginner get started with squats, make some progress, and do so with limited discomfort in the knees. Continue reading
As you progress in your exercises, it’s important to remember that what you learn in one exercise may not always be directly applicable to another. With squats and sissy squats, which similar names and similar principles, there are many factors that make them different. You must beware of these differences, to avoid mistakes.
1. Purpose of the squat exercises
Sissy squats are a specialist exercise aimed to help people with patella maltracking restore proper balance in their quadriceps muscles, to ensure the patella does not rub against the condyles of the femur. Squats are the most fundamental movement a human being performs. Using them as an exercise teaches and develops proper movement patterns and strength throughout the whole body.
Supports can help make exercises easier to perform, encourage people to do more exercise and boost your confidence. But they don’t help your body move properly, they ingrain a crutch in your movements that you should be working to avoid.
There are many types of different supports such as using insoles in a shoe, or wearing an elastic support for your knees. The idea behind insoles is that they makes it easier to maintain an arch in your foot so they effectively do the job of your hip rotation for you. And if something is replacing the job your body should be doing, your body isn’t learning to do it effectively itself. In a case like this, the hips rely on these aids and do not get stronger. See this article about fallen arches for an explanation of how you should be training your hips to create the arches in your feet.
For those who have become reliant on supports, we recommend you implement a “phased reduction” of your use of these aids. If you rely on aids during everyday life, like insoles, try taking them out during squats. Then stop using them for incrementally longer periods in the day. Gradually remove them from your life. In this case, as long as you continually practice external rotation from your hips, you will be fine.
This site offers very specific advice on where to put your knees during exercises and how best to track them, but there is a limit to the proscriptions that should be offered when moving, and positioning your knees during everyday life.
A client recently brought the problem this can cause to our attention by asking how he should position his knees in a side-on position, for instance when lying down, given that we advise keeping your knees above or outside the feet when sitting. Correct movement can be complicated, and the theory is something you should try to keep in mind during your everyday life; but it’s time that we made a caveat clear: there’s no one ideal angle and position you should adopt. Here’s why knee strength means more than just keeping your knees out: Continue reading