Everyone knows how to squat right? It’s as simple as sitting down and standing up. Most people don’t really put all that much thought into a squat, just like running or jumping (that’s another article though) and we get along fine doing what we “think” is a squat. I mean, if I bend my knees and put my hips back and sit my weight in my heels then I’m safe right?
This is the most common way that people are taught how to squat in your average gym and it couldn’t be more misguided. If someone were to follow these cues they would end up in a position that resembles more of a deadlift without the bar in their hands as opposed to squat. We’ve seen it over and over again and it’s not your fault. You were only doing what you thought was right. Let’s set the record (and your squat) straight once and for all and clear up a few things about squatting.
First and foremost, SQUATS ARE NOT BAD FOR YOUR KNEES!!! Physicians (and well intentioned family members) need to stop this generalisation which is again, seriously misguided. Long story short, unless you are recovering from an injury (ie. meniscus, ACL tears etc) it is safe. There have even been studies that show the importance of a squat routine during cruciate ligament and patello femoral rehabilitation providing that the depth is suited to the progress of the recovery.
So what this means is, if you have sore knees, avoiding squats won’t fix them. Often a good stretching and mobility routine will fix the issue and don’t think that doesn’t apply to you. Patello femoral syndrome, ITB syndrome, tendinitis, tendinosus and even in a lot of cases a sore lower back and tight hamstrings can be fixed by mobility & stretching but, again that is another article.
In regards squatting safety the NSCA (National Strength and Conditioning Association) states: “Some reports of high injury rate may be based on biased samples. Others have attributed injuries to weight training, including squat, which could have been caused by other factors. Injuries attributed to squat may result not from the exercise itself, but from improper technique, pre-existing structural abnormalities, other physical activities, fatigue or excessive training. The NSCA also state: “Squats, when performed correctly and with appropriate supervision, are not only safe, but may be a significant deterrent to knee injuries.”
Moral of the story here is: squat to FIX and PROTECT those knees people, and get a good coach to show you how to do it correctly.