5 Tricks To Reduce Knee Pain When SquatingShem
When knee pain is holding you back, let’s checkout 5 Tricks To Reduce Knee Pain When Squatting
1 – Warm IT UP! – If your warm up protocol consists of 10-15 reps with one plate on each side of the bar then it is time to do more. Start with the bike or elliptical trainer for at least 5 minutes, stretch, and then use ONLY the bar for your first set of squats. Static or dynamic stretching is great before squats as stretching will increase range of motion. Decreased range of motion and mobility will exacerbate knee pain. And, contrary to previous beliefs, stretching will not make your muscles weaker. The loss of strength in muscle when stretching has been found to be a neural response. With other neural responses active during training you can be rest assured you will get more benefit from stretching in mobility than you will from not stretching in strength.
2 – Add Support and Thermal Compression – Neoprene Knee Sleeves will provide extra support assisting with proprioception and thermal compression to reduce swelling and increase warmth. This will help with mobility and range of motion as well as pain. Proprioceptions is the unconscious perception of movement and spatial orientation arising from stimuli within the body itself. In humans, these stimuli are detected by nerves within the body itself, as well as by the semicircular canals of the inner ear. If you are diagnosed with osteoarthritis in the knee or experience knee pain, the knee sleeve will help improve your unconscious perception of movement and spatial orientation in the knee. This enables you to better focus on your form and intensity while squatting which, in turn, improves performance. Even if you do not have knee pain you may still benefit. As you fatigue you may begin to break form which can compromise your knee, however a knee sleeve assisting with stability and proprioception will assist in recovering from small form breaks as your body mechanics unconsciously make the minor adjustments needed to execute the movement and avoid injury.
3 – Experiment with depth WITH LIGHTER WEIGHT – You may notice increased knee pain with heavier loads. Experiment with your squat depth on lighter weights such as while warming up with just the bar. Try pause reps with just the bar where you hold the bottom position of the squat for a 2-5 count. As you hold that bottom position let your butt sink slightly lower as you stretch your quads and glutes. As you increase the load and depending on where you feel the knee pain you may need to change your depth. If you cannot go all the way down you can shorten your depth, but maintain constant tension on the leg muscles as much as possible to get the most out of your squat. Maintaining constant tension means that you stop short of locking out your knees and then immediately descend again. By not stoping at all at the top of the movement your muscle fibers do not get a chance to recover.
4 – Find Your Footing – Your body mechanics and nature of your knee pain will dictate the best foot position for you. While using your warm up weight try squats with your feet shoulder width apart as well as various wider foot stances. Try both with your toes facing forward and varying degrees of your toes pointed out. Many taller individuals or those with limited ankle flexion may find they have less knee pain when they squat with their ankles slightly raised. Raise your ankles by placing a block or a couple of smooth surface plates under your heels. This will not only reduce the need for ankle flexion at the bottom of your squat, but you change your body mechanics slightly through the entire range of motion which may relieve some of your knee pain.
5 – DON’T SQUAT – When I was young and would tell my parents, “It hurts when I do THIS”, they would say, “don’t do THIS!” You may find that somedays are better than others. There may be some days where inflammation in the knee makes the pain too unbearable to derive any real benefit from squats. So, don’t do squats. Squats are not absolutely necessary for great leg development. While squats are an invaluable tool there are other tools and it is really how you use the tools that matter. Utilize Bulgarian split squats, lunges, deadlifts, leg press, or any other leg exercises where the pain is reduced and you can increase your intensity for the same end goal. Then on days where inflammation is minimal or knee pain less bothersome you can load up that squat bar and go to work.