Squats and knees

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    Squats and knees


    Does going all the way down on squats make your knees more prone to injury or does it actually do the opposite and strengthen them?

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    It can put added stress on your patella tendon. It's more of a problem though if your knees are out over your toes - that increases the potential for possible tears.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kmac6225
    It can put added stress on your patella tendon. It's more of a problem though if your knees are out over your toes - that increases the potential for possible tears.
    Thanks, mac. I haven't squatted for a little over amonth now due to an injury that I think came from doing leg curls too heavy. But this pain is actually in the back of my knee. Getting better tho.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kmac6225
    It can put added stress on your patella tendon. It's more of a problem though if your knees are out over your toes - that increases the potential for possible tears.
    damn, it's official then - I tore patellar tendon from squats
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    where is the patella tendon? I tore something above my calf muscle.
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    i found this on JB.com

    Myth #1: The Knee Shall Never Cross The Line Of The Toe

    Every new trainer loves to spout this one off as a display of his or her biomechanical knowledge. They constantly scour the gym-goers movements on a noble quest to ensure patellar safety across the land. Unfortunately this unsubstantiated notion is perpetuated and accepted as fact in gyms everywhere. These are the same trainers that allow a gross deviation of the patella to the medial or lateral aspect during an exercise (the knee pointing a different direction than the foot), which actually is dangerous and degenerative.

    If one were to assess knee injuries in athletic (read as: sport) environments, it becomes apparent that a high percentage of patellar trauma cases are sustained while the knee is beyond the all-sacred toe-line. In a misguided attempt to avoid knee injuries, the exercise community has therefore made this knee position taboo. In reality, the opposite reaction would have been preferential. Since this knee position is unavoidable in sports, or even in everyday life (try walking up or down stairs or a hill without your knee crossing your toe line) the proper way to prevent injuries is to strengthen the musculature around the joint by allowing the knee to travel into the “unsafe? zone in a controlled environment.

    All joints contain feedback mechanisms inside the connective tissue and joint capsules called proprioceptors. These communicate with your nervous system to tell your brain what position your joint is at. This is how you can close your eyes and be aware of exactly what angle all of your joints are at without actually seeing them. To simplify a complicated issue, the more time you spend with your knee past your toe-line, the more you teach your nervous system to activate the protective soft tissue around the joint therefore PREVENTING injury during athletic situations (Supertraining, Siff & Verkoshansky, 1993). Close your eyes and think of a highly succesful strength coach. Yep, he agrees. Somehow, this news just doesn’t buy column space in Muscle and Fatness.

    So remember this - the “golden rule? that the knee should never cross the line of the toe during any type of lunging exercise should be buried in the ocean with the lost city of Atlantis. (Of course, if this position causes consistent pain, then you should avoid this particular variation of the exercise).

    Myth #2: Full Squats (below parallel) Are Bad For The Knees

    More squat myths?!?

    We’ve all heard it, if you dip below parallel during a squat, your kneecap will blow off and land in the front desk girl’s mocha latte. Well it just ain’t true! What’s that, you need a little more evidence? Ok boys and girls, its time for today’s episode of Fun With Musculoskeletal Anatomy.

    The knee has four main protective ligaments that keep the femur from displacing on the tibia (ACL, PCL, MCL, LCL). These four ligaments are most effective at their protection during full extension and full flexion. Full extension would be when you are standing; full flexion would be when there is no daylight between your hamstring and your calf. When the knee is at 90 degrees of flexion (the halfway point), these four ligaments are almost completely lax and cannot exert much if any of a protective force at the knee (Zatsiorsky V. Kinematics of human motion. 1998 - published by Human Kinetics - p.301).

    Unfortunately, the position where the protective ligaments of the knee are not doing any protecting is the common recommended stopping point of a squat. Therefore, as it as it turns out, this is the exact worst place you could reverse the motion under load.

    If flexibility allows (heels staying planted, torso not flexing forward past 45 degrees), then a full squat where you lower yourself all the way to the ground is far safer on the knees than the traditional half squat. Guess what joint angle most leg extension machines start at? If you said 90 degrees, give yourself a pat on your healthy knee. This makes a full squat even safer than a leg extension machine (Wilk K et al. A comparison of tibiofemoral joint forces and electromyographic activity during open and closed kinetic chain exercises. Am J Sports Med; 24(4):518-527).

    So am I telling you never to do parallel squats? No! Am I saying that you’ll injure yourself on a parallel squat? No, again! What I’m trying to do is simply make an argument for the safety of full squats, thereby relegating squat myth #2 to the fiery pits of hades.
    http://www.johnberardi.com/updates/j...3/na_myths.htm
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    Quote Originally Posted by handzilla
    where is the patella tendon? I tore something above my calf muscle.
    It's patellar refering to the knee, that was i was told... Direct middle of knee I believe. Jump Squats can do it to you quick, injury is common to basketball. It's only 5-6weeks for recovery following sugery.
    Still I avoid surgery and keep squatting...
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    I constantly see these arguments but when it comes down to the real world i know that until i spread my legs way out so my knees wouldn't go too far foreward, i was having the most extreme pain in my legs when I would squat.
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    Bobo, wanna throw down your 2 cents?
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    I used to be a very wide squater and would get to parallel, but that was the lowest my hips would allow for, with your feet closer together you can get deeper, if you compare a wide stance to a narrow stance, and go to parallel in both, the wide stance just utilizes your hips much more, while a narrow stance utilizes your quads, once you drop below parallel though, a narrow stance requires the same hip explosion that a wide stance squat does
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    I use a medium width stance but go all the way down. I've read many, many studies and opinions on both sides of the argument also, it seems that the best documented, well written, and convincing articles to me say that going all the way down is better, just focus on form. Drop your weight and focus on getting the form right (ass to the grass if you can) then increase weight again. Also you should notice more emphasis on your hams this way, at least I do.
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    Good ****. My injury seems to be getting much better since Thanks-Gimp-ing. Hopefully I'll be squatting strong again by the time I start my cycle.
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    Quote Originally Posted by handzilla
    Bobo, wanna throw down your 2 cents?
    I place my feet just outside shoulders and go down until my thighs are parallel to the floor. This shifts the weight off your knees to your gluts and hamstrings. People who usually have knee problems either don't don't go far enough so the full weight inflicts a large amount of pressure on the joint or go all the way down and do their "bounce". THe full range of motion is different for everyone depending on body structure but for me if I keep my thighs parallel to the floor, I achieve a full range of motion.

    My 2 cents...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bobo
    I place my feet just outside shoulders and go down until my thighs are parallel to the floor. This shifts the weight off your knees to your gluts and hamstrings. People who usually have knee problems either don't don't go far enough so the full weight inflicts a large amount of pressure on the joint or go all the way down and do their "bounce". THe full range of motion is different for everyone depending on body structure but for me if I keep my thighs parallel to the floor, I achieve a full range of motion.

    My 2 cents...
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    Quote Originally Posted by handzilla
    Thanks, mac. I haven't squatted for a little over amonth now due to an injury that I think came from doing leg curls too heavy. But this pain is actually in the back of my knee. Getting better tho.
    I have torn my acl/pcl/and mcl....and the pain you have in the back of your knee is a acl problem....you may want get it checked before you tear it all the way...it may be a simple scope job and your on your way pain free !
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    Quote Originally Posted by big_D
    I have torn my acl/pcl/and mcl....and the pain you have in the back of your knee is a acl problem....you may want get it checked before you tear it all the way...it may be a simple scope job and your on your way pain free !
    Well it's feeling much better now. And I actually was able to work legs last Sunday. What do you mean by scope job and how would that rid me of the pain?
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    getting your knee scoped is surgery. from what i understand, they go in and remove all the excess cartilage or something to that effect.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beelzebub
    getting your knee scoped is surgery. from what i understand, they go in and remove all the excess cartilage or something to that effect.
    Oooooweee, I don't think I need all that just yet man. Since I started my cycle, I've been rubbing some 1-test and 4ad directly on there to bring the ligament from 95% back to 100%. It actually seems to be helping.
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    if you're getting pretty high in weight start using knee wraps, anything over 315 for me kills my knees, I can do that and more if I take a wide stance and just sit it to parallel, but if I stand narrower and go that extra inch or two my knees definitely feel it, think about getting knee wraps and also icing your knees when you get home from squatting
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    You can't do a decent squat without having your knees go passed your toes unless you're a dwarf. At 6"1" it would literally be a half squat for my knees not to go passed my toes. People are built different but for me it's just a ridiculous idea to stop there.
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    ^^if that's the case then just try to squat with a wider stance...that way your knees are prone not to go out over your toes so far.
    When i was narrow with my squats, i always had severe back pain and knee pain, even going parallel or ass to grass. When i change and started going wider(just outside shoulder width)i immediately felt way better squatting. I can get way deeper also with a wider stance, back doesnt hurt as much afterwards, and knees are thankful for it.....the quads arent as emphasized, but i do leg presses with toes pointed out(slight angle) in order to help "tear" the inner quads down with my leg workout..
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    Deep squats are good for your knees. Keep your toes pointed in a natural direction. I.E. as your legs become further from each ther--have a wider stance--you should allow your toes to do what they want to do naturally, and that is point out. Ass-to-grass baby! I had knee problems and I hurt my knees and made the issue worse doing cookie-cutter squats. I was told by a good PLer to take off my shoes, squat (and dead) barefoot, go ass to grass and keep my toes pointed in a natural direction. I keep a pretty wide stance. My knees not only don't hurt from squats anymore, but now they are stronger than they have EVER been.

    2 Ariel, B.G., 1974. Biomechanical analysis of the knee joint during deep knee bends with a heavy load. Biomechanics. IV(1):44-52.


    There are several schools of thought on squat depth. Many misinformed individuals caution against squatting below parallel, stating that this is hazardous to the knees. Nothing could be further from the truth. (2) Stopping at or above parallel places direct stress on the knees, whereas a deep squat will transfer the load to the hips,(3) which are capable of handling a greater amount of force than the knees should ever be exposed to. Studies have shown that the squat produces lower peak tibeo-femoral(stress at the knee joint) compressive force than both the leg press and the leg extension.(4) For functional strength, one should descend as deeply as possible, and under control. (yes, certain individuals can squat in a ballistic manner, but they are the exception rather than the rule). The further a lifter descends, the more the hamstrings are recruited, and proper squatting displays nearly twice the hamstring involvement of the leg press or leg extension. (5,6) and as one of the functions of the hamstring is to protect the patella tendon (the primary tendon involved in knee extension) during knee extension through a concurrent firing process, the greatest degree of hamstring recruitment should provide the greatest degree of protection to the knee joint. (7) When one is a powerlifter, the top surface of the legs at the hip joint must descend to a point below the top surface of the legs at the knee joint.

    Knee injuries are one of the most commonly stated problems that come from squatting, however, this is usually stated by those who do not know how to squat. A properly performed squat will appropriately load the knee joint, which improves congruity by increasing the compressive forces at the knee joint. (8,(9) which improves stability, protecting the knee against shear forces. As part of a long-term exercise program, the squat, like other exercises, will lead to increased collagen turnover and hypertrophy of ligaments. (10,11) At least one study has shown that international caliber weightlifters and powerlifters experience less clinical or symptomatic arthritis. (12) Other critics of the squat have stated that it decreases the stability of the knees, yet nothing could be further from the truth. Studies have shown that the squat will increase knee stability by reducing joint laxity, as well as decrease anterior-posterior laxity and translation. (13,14) The squat is, in fact, being used as a rehabilitation exercise for many types of knee injuries, including ACL repair. (15)
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    My knees don't hurt nearly as much when I go ATG. I can't lift nearly as much weight either, but even so, I feel it way more in the muscle and not in the knees during and after ATG squats.
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    Quote Originally Posted by natedogg
    My knees don't hurt nearly as much when I go ATG. I can't lift nearly as much weight either, but even so, I feel it way more in the muscle and not in the knees during and after ATG squats.
    ditto
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    Yeah I wanted to bump this up again...a kid I went to high school just started going to my gym and today he was telling me how he's a gym teacher now, went to school as a Phys Ed major.

    I went over and started squatting, and after my 225x12 set he came over and told me wanted to protect my knees, and that they were just in front of my toes when I squat. Now I've never videotaped myself, but I know that about a year ago when I started squatting, I had knee pain bad. I eventually dropped the weight, worked on my form, and now I feel it is pretty good.

    My current form is legs almost to the edge of the power rack (I'm 6'1", all legs), toes slight outwards, bar low on my traps, abs tight, back arched, head up. My upper body stays at about 45 degrees throughout the bottom portion of the movement. Since I've been using this form I have zero pain when squatting (well, zero bad pain) and everything feels like it's working well. No back pain, no knee pain, no injuries. My hams and glutes get sore as **** from squatting, so I feel like I'm sitting back far enough.

    Any thoughts, or should I have someone in to videotape?
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    thanks for bumping this for me alt, i'm going to ask a trainer to help me/watch me with squats when my knee is better. I HAVE to do squats the right way cuz i messed up my knee and it hurts like a mofo now.
    What should i look for now? my knees should be completely behind my toes on a squat?
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    Your knees can only be behind your toes if you're short. Things like ankle and hip flexibility can also play a part. I was having some knee pain from constantly walking for my job and then I started squatting, going low and leaning a little forward. People say you're supposed to do it only a certain way but like all exercises there are different ways for different body types. Most of the time people who say they squat with perfect form and keep their knees behind their toes are short people. Over 6 feet for most of the people I've talked to, there has to be at least a slight bend in the back as well.
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    I doubt it has less to do with height than it does with appendege proportion. It may just happen to be that many of the more ectomorphic people have certain traits that make it more difficult, but I doubt it has anything to do with height and everything to do with proportion of appendages.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alt+F4
    Yeah I wanted to bump this up again...a kid I went to high school just started going to my gym and today he was telling me how he's a gym teacher now, went to school as a Phys Ed major.

    I went over and started squatting, and after my 225x12 set he came over and told me wanted to protect my knees, and that they were just in front of my toes when I squat. Now I've never videotaped myself, but I know that about a year ago when I started squatting, I had knee pain bad. I eventually dropped the weight, worked on my form, and now I feel it is pretty good.

    My current form is legs almost to the edge of the power rack (I'm 6'1", all legs), toes slight outwards, bar low on my traps, abs tight, back arched, head up. My upper body stays at about 45 degrees throughout the bottom portion of the movement. Since I've been using this form I have zero pain when squatting (well, zero bad pain) and everything feels like it's working well. No back pain, no knee pain, no injuries. My hams and glutes get sore as **** from squatting, so I feel like I'm sitting back far enough.

    Any thoughts, or should I have someone in to videotape?
    Squat like a powerlifter and knee pain disappears? Who would have guessed
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    Quote Originally Posted by exnihilo
    Squat like a powerlifter and knee pain disappears? Who would have guessed
    It's very true (this coming from a person whose goal is bbing).

    Ass-to-grass makes the pain go away.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kwyckemynd00
    It's very true (this coming from a person whose goal is bbing).

    Ass-to-grass makes the pain go away.
    PLers go to parallel .. olympic lifters go ATG

    .. at least i think..
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    Quote Originally Posted by glenihan
    PLers go to parallel .. olympic lifters go ATG

    .. at least i think..
    This coming from a guy who has "making PLers feel fat..." doesn't surprise me

    No, many PLers squat as deep as possible. When they're suited up, and it's contet time, they only have to hit parallel and the suit helps (as well as restricting their ROM).

    If you want to talk w/ a good PLer and get an idea of how they train, go to and look up exmgq. (aka pullinbig @ steroidology). He'll frequently take 1/2 of his 1RM (which is like 450, LOL) and do 20 x ATG squats. He was the one who told me to go ATG.
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    fair enough kwycke

    i was just talking about in competition .. i've never paid TOO much attention to how PLer's train .. once chains and something about benching with boards comes into play ... I'M OUT! lol

    i get way too much pain going ATG .. thighs parallel to the ground is perfect for me no pain or pressure anywhere that it shouldn't be
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    Hahaha, yeah, i'm not diggin chains, etc, either. But, I guess it works for them, eh? Increase resistance as the weight goes up...maybe it would help us BBers a bit, eh?

    parallel is good enough I just go down until i can't comfortable go down any further.
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    ahhhh, you're missin out, chain benching is one of my favorite exercises!! and board presses, come on you get to throw around like 20% more weight than usual!


    as for the squatting, being 6'2" and mostly legs makes below parallel really difficult for me and I end up sacraficing form, letting my upper half drift forward mainly, but if I'm using wraps I try to get part of my thigh closest to my mid section 1-2" below parallel, without wraps I gotta call it quits at parallel, knees just can't do it...I'm only 18, i'm gonna fall apart if I keep this sh*t up!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Newb017
    as for the squatting, being 6'2" and mostly legs makes below parallel really difficult for me and I end up sacraficing form, letting my upper half drift forward mainly, but if I'm using wraps I try to get part of my thigh closest to my mid section 1-2" below parallel, without wraps I gotta call it quits at parallel, knees just can't do it...I'm only 18, i'm gonna fall apart if I keep this sh*t up!
    You just described my squat conundrum perfectly.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Newb017
    I'm only 18, i'm gonna fall apart if I keep this sh*t up!
    I am also 18, and I already tore my meniscus in my knee from squatting. I've been losing mass on my legs also due to not squatting or doing leg exercises for about a month.
    Trust me, you will be much happier than you know by lessening the weight and watching your form. I can't wait to squat again, because now i will do it correctly.
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    Quote Originally Posted by handzilla
    Oooooweee, I don't think I need all that just yet man. Since I started my cycle, I've been rubbing some 1-test and 4ad directly on there to bring the ligament from 95% back to 100%. It actually seems to be helping.
    No big deal on having your knee scopped.

    Have mine done 4 times. Haven't had it done since I stopped playing ball though.

    Never found it to be a big deal.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cable626
    I am also 18, and I already tore my meniscus in my knee from squatting. I've been losing mass on my legs also due to not squatting or doing leg exercises for about a month.
    Trust me, you will be much happier than you know by lessening the weight and watching your form. I can't wait to squat again, because now i will do it correctly.
    What kind of weight and form were you using when you tore it?
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    I tore my MCL in 03, that's why i started usin wraps, my knees feel so fresh the rest of the day as well as the following day, ahhh to be a kid again and have fresh joints all the time....haha, o well, I'll worry about it in 4 years when I graduate school and am done with football
  

  
 

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