Are You Squatting Correctly? Part 2

Post by Laura Gold, PT, DPT

Last week we introduced the idea that errors in squatting form are very common and can usually be fixed. We looked at a couple of common problems with trunk and lumbar spine posture and gave you some hints for healthier back (and stronger core!) when squatting. This week we’re talking about knees!

The Knee Diver
If you have this little hiccup in your squat, you might also be experiencing some knee pain! With this movement pattern, the knees creep forward over and past the toes as the squatter gets lower to the floor. This style of squat puts lots of pressure on your knees – especially at the knee cap. Luckily, it is a pretty easy one to fix!

How it should look: Again, watch yourself from the side in a mirror. As you lower towards the ground, where are your knees in relation to your toes? If you drew a line from the knee straight to the ground, would it pass through your foot or front of your foot?  Make sure those knees stay behind the toes!

Left: Incorrect. Also, note the heels rising off the ground. Your heels should be the on the ground for the full depth of your squat. If you can’t keep your heels on the ground, it’s a sign of ankle that are too stiff or calves that are too tight.
Right: Correct. Note that Ryan’s knees do not pass his toes. SquatBlogKneeDiver

Kissing Knees, Bowing Knees
Looking at the squatter from the front, do the knees stay in line with ankle and foot throughout the squat or do they lean towards one another or even away from one another? These deviations can be a sign of poor control from the hip stabilizers. Again, these errors can be hard on the knees and are viewed as a risk factor for ligament injuries in the knee (gasp!).

How it should look:
As the squatters lowers the knee should not waiver to the inside or outside but should remain steady and in line with the ankle. This one can easily be observed by watching yourself face on in the mirror. Think you are good to go no problem with this one? Try it single leg style. This makes it much more difficult, but it is a great one to practice – the muscles that stabilize the knee for the single leg squat are weak at epidemic proportions. Take the opportunity to strengthen them!

Left: Incorrect. Center: Incorrect. Right: Correct SquatBlogKneeKissingBowing Next week we will move on to the foot and ankle, and we’ll take a look at the overall motion you need to achieve to build strong glutes.

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