We believe that Crossfit is great for your body and your health – you’re getting stronger, moving more, and making improvements in many different areas outside of the gym too. However, when your joints start to hurt during, after, or even before your workout, you should be taking steps to protect those joints.
In some cases, pain develops slowly over time without revealing any obvious red flags along the way. There are many different reasons for this. You may be repeating movements coupled with volume or weight that causes more stress than your joints can recover from.
Today we will focus on improving your technique.
The bones of our skeletons are beautifully designed to interlock, slide and glide, and support heavy forces. Have you ever played a game of Jenga? A very tall tower can be constructed even if each block is slightly off, but if each block is carefully placed in the best possible position, the tower would stack up higher and me more stable. It would also support a heavier load.
Let’s go back to the squat now – even if you have the ideal squat form in your mind you may struggle to get into those positions. The important thing to remember here is if your knees are hurting when you squat, it doesn’t necessarily mean your knees are the problem.
Here are 3 simple standards that you should be able to pass:
- Hip Flexion
- Heal to Butt
- Hip Rotation
- Ankle Test
Run yourself through these simple test – it only takes 2 minutes! (Okay – but seriously, go do it now and then come back!) Scroll down until you see the quick videos using this link https://members.thereadystate.com/blogs/knee-pain-squatting/
How did it go? Did you pass? Great! If you didn’t quite meet the criteria, that’s ok. Your new mantra to follow is: slow things down until you can own all positions of the squat pain-free. There may be days when you can come into the gym and squat below parallel and there may be some days where you cannot.
The value of being able to squat is immeasurable. Our priority is to keep you healthy and kick your knee pain in the butt. Goodbye! To get there, you might need to re-mold your movement patterns. Our brains have the amazing ability to re-wire itself and learn new behaviors.
Tempo squats are a great way to rewire these new behaviors and slow things down. Try adding these in before or after your workout. Set up into your squat position. Moving slowly through the squat to correct any misalignments as you near the bottom of the sqaut. Count 1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi and so on.
Spend Time at the Bottom of the Squat
Another great way to correct wrong movement patterns is by spending some time at the bottom of the squat with some isometric holds.
Here is an example: 3 count squat to the bottom of the squat (do not bottom out but remain engaged) hold for 3 seconds and press elbows into knees (driving the knees out) release and return up to the count of 3. Repeat 3 times.
Then repeat 3 more times with a small kettlebell. Perform these 3-5 times a week before or after you WOD. You will see major improvements!
Another way to improve your squat would be to take this challenge! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7XwKnk16Zbs
Be sure to tell us how long you make it in the comments below!