Squats and Your Knee Pain

There are many common mistakes that occur with the basic squat movement. Today, I’m going to talk about the effect these mistakes it can have on the knees. Many people experience knee pain in their everyday life and have no idea where it’s from. When you take acute injuries out of the equation, most of the time it is the result of a muscle imbalance from poor technique while sitting or squatting. In today’s culture, many of you spend the majority of your day sitting down. Every time you sit and stand it is equivalent to the movement of a basic squat. If your form is improper, this can lead to chronic pain in the knees. So, whether your knee pain is a result of squatting exercises done incorrectly or from sitting and standing throughout your workday incorrectly, I want to help you correct those problems and relieve that pain.

Many people spend the majority of their days sitting at a desk. This consistent sitting leads to chronic tightness of the hamstrings and hip flexors and inhibition of the glute muscles amongst other things. When these three things happen it changes the way you are able to move your body in and out of the squat position. Your initial movement is with your knees causing you to bend your knees forward over the toes which places an increased amount of force on the quadriceps and the knee joints, as seen in the image below. This leads to overuse of the knee joint and tightness in the quadriceps and IT Bands, which causes pain in the knees.

The proper initial movement in a squat should begin with the hips. The hips should move backwards slightly, distributing the weight into the heels while activating the glutes. In this position, the knees are kept behind the toes and the force of the movement is distributed between the glutes, quads, and hamstrings and the knees are relieved of the pressure, as seen below.


In the image, you can see her knees are behind her toes, and her torso is parallel to her shins. This is proper squat form. By utilizing this position during your workouts and every time you sit and stand you will notice a relief in your knee pain as your glutes strengthen and your posture improves.

For many of you, this position may be difficult to get into due to inflexibility of the hamstrings and hip flexors, plus the inability to activate your glutes to help you balance. If this is the case, you will want to start stretching your hamstrings and hip flexors 2-3x/day, holding each stretch for at least 30 seconds.

In addition, you will want to start doing glute isolation exercises such as a bridge will help you learn how to activate those muscles and use them during your squat movement.

The final thing you can do to help learn how to properly perform this technique is to switch to the seated squat exercise for a couple weeks. This will help train your body to perform a squat in the proper position.

If these exercises are new to you then it is recommended that you see a personal trainer to show you how to do these movements correctly, for there is a high injury risk when squats are performed incorrectly.

Please Contact Us for any questions you may have or if you would like to learn how to squat properly to relieve your knee pain and improve your leg workouts!

Check out Shufit on Yelp