Squats: harmful advice that is better to forget!

The most popular tips for squats can be the true cause of back and joint pain! Truthful story about how to squat without risk to health.

Author: Kessie Dionne

We hold exactly the head and shoulders, the knees do not go beyond the socks. If the squats had a title track, this would be her chorus. After all, if you are doing a royal strength training exercise, and your socks a couple of centimeters stand for the toenails, the catastrophe in the form of an injury can not be avoided . right?

As a physiotherapist, I've heard this song a million times, and I really want to put an end to these rumors. Why? Yes, everything is simple – because they do not have a lot of truth! I'll tell you why it's time for you to get rid of this elevator mantra, and what you really need to think about before squats.

Effective squats – not those that are performed with a certain weight or percentage of a one-time maximum. Good squats require irreproachable technique, and the technique is more important than in any other strength training exercise. I believe that quality squats should meet the following standards:

  • The pelvis starts moving first and goes back.

Front squats, classical, goblet sit-ups – all of them must meet these standards. While the weight falls on the heels, and the pelvis swings back, you squat with the right technique.

Why start with the pelvis? Beginning with knee or ankle joints, you exert a strong stress on your knees, especially structures such as menisci, anterior cruciate ligaments and posterior cruciate ligaments, also known as PKC and ZKS. This is because knees and quadriceps begin to dominate in sit-ups, but the activity of the back muscle chain – especially the gluteal muscles – decreases. The gluteal muscles are adapted to cope with greater weight and generate considerable effort. Are the fragile elements of the knee joints suitable for this? Not to that extent.

Many think that the main muscle for squats is a quadriceps, and this can be the true cause of all problems. When you start moving in the knees and ankles, the knees, of course, go forward for socks. The center of gravity is shifted to the front edge of the foot, and the heel, which is worse, can come off the ground.

It is this biomechanical combination – and not its "knees before toes" fragment – that creates a tremendous strain on the knee joints, and with repeated repetition with heavy weight can lead to trauma.

Than "knees behind a line of toes" threaten the lower back?

I imagine how someone reads my analysis of flights and thinks: "Okay, first the pelvis, then the knees. But, just in case, for safety sake, I'll still keep my knees behind the line of toes. " I'm ready to argue with this. Consciously limiting the bending in the knees is a very bad idea!

Our bodies are truly amazing single mechanisms. All their parts move in unison, and not as separate sections. When you deliberately limit movement in one joint, other parts of the body usually compensate for this. If you limit the mobility of the knees, especially with the load on the back, the body will compensate for this by one of the following movements:

  • You round your back to keep the center of gravity above the middle part of the foot.

Each of the three compensatory movements is fraught with its consequences, but I want to focus on rounding the back, as this is the most common problem. Call it a "pelvis nod" or the way you like it, but this is an extremely undesirable change in the lumbar biomechanics. The pressure on the spine and pelvic region increases tens of times!

There is not much good here. You not only increase the burden on the spine, but also increase pressure on the vertebrae in a position where the discs are very, very vulnerable. Doing this trick with extra weight, you get a huge risk of injuring the disc or earning an intervertebral hernia – and this you would definitely not like, believe me!

Another reason why I want to continue the conversation about the myth "no knees in front of socks" is that each of us has certain anatomical features. In some, the femur (upper leg bone) is much longer than others. If you are one of the people with a long thigh, it will be much more difficult for you to perform full squats, keeping your knees behind your toes.

In other words, one can not demand from a person with a long femur that he crouches just like someone with a relatively short thigh. That's why the template approach "do not take your knees out of the line of socks" does not work!

Strike out harmful tips from the elevator mantra

The moral of this fable is this: when you do squats correctly – and first of all push the pelvis back – there is nothing wrong with the fact that the knees barely go beyond the socks. I will say more, it is this that can help you perform full-amplitude deep squats without rounding the waist.

Remember, the body works as a single mechanism. Natural movements in unison allow a uniform redistribution of pressure between all elements of the biomechanical chain. Artificial restriction of movement in one joint leads to additional stress and stress on a separate part of the chain, which can lead to injuries that could be avoided.

If you are not sure if you are crouching properly, consult a specialist and make your workouts safer for the joints and lower back. If strength training plays an important role in your life, it's worth investing time and money to do everything right!

I suspected something like this. After knee injury on the lunges, I feel good when the load goes to the knees. I'm comfortable, for example, squatting slightly kneeling behind my foot, but when trying to control my knees begin to hurt.

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