May 4, 2011

The Squat: for the health of our knees

 “The squat magically cures knee pain if you squat correctly,” Kelly Starrett told participants at a one day seminar at CrossFit Santa Cruz on March 14, 2009. Starrett is the owner of San Francisco CrossFit and a Doctor of Physical Therapy.

Have you ever finished a workout and wondered to yourself, "What did I do in the workout that made my knees hurt so badly?"  Or, "we squat so much in these crossfit workouts, is that really good for my knees?"  Well, as Kelly stated above, "If you're doing them correctly, you will feel NO pain!"

The squat makes up the majority of crossfit movements:  air squats, lunges, burpees, olympics lifts, etc.  If you repeat bad form over and over again, it is really just a matter of time before you will feel the outcome of incorrect movement.  Here are a few things to keep in mind when squatting:

*  First of all, make sure you are communicating with your coach about any aches and pains you might have.  Most coaches aren't mind readers, so let us know when you are experiencing discomfort.
*  Make sure your coach is giving you the attention & guidance you need to squat without pain.  The coaches job is to figure out what ques to give you to "squat without pain".
*  Start with body weight box squats.  Choose the highest box first . . . if this is pain-free, then practice on a lower box.
*  Make sure your feet are shoulder width apart and your knees are slightly turned out.
*  THIS NEXT STEP IS VERY IMPORTANT:  Make sure as your butt is going back, that your shins remain vertical.  This will keep the "weight load" directly off of your knee joint.

Ultimately, it is your coaches responsibility to work with you to eliminate knee pain in your squat.  Incorrect mechanics lead to injury.  Even if the pain is found in the knee, it may be "caused" from other sources:  i.e. tight hamstrings, weak back, tight hip flexors.  Work closely with your coach to successfully squat . . .  pain free!

~ Coach Heather

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