This week we want to teach you how to fix your knee pain AND PR your squat at the same time. We will do this by not even focusing on the squat at all, but rather teach ourselves to actually hinge at the hip, because at its core the squat is in fact a hip hinge.
Knee pain isn’t normal people! We usually see this from the quads being overactive and the hamstrings being underdeveloped. The most common reason for this is the individual not knowing how to hinge properly, and as a result, simply flex and extend the spine. If our hips stay neutral and we flex and extend the spine, there is no need for the hamstrings to turn on and thus forcing the quads to pick up the slack. This quickly feeds itself and before you know it we have these huge quads and tiny hamstrings (shout out to all the insta “fit” girls out there).
The hamstrings also play a huge stabilizing role in the squat. If we have weak, underdeveloped hamstrings, our ability to support a heavy load in the squat is greatly diminished. As our hips hinge and we descend into the squat, our hamstrings (with the help of the rest of our posterior chain) are what hold us up. An easy way to tell if you have weak hamstrings relative to your quads is your hips will shoot up out of the bottom of the squat and you will good morning the weight up. Once we teach the hips to hinge the hamstrings can now do their job, allowing us to hold a better position in the squat and find our full potential in the squat!
How do we fix it? We force ourselves to hinge properly. A tool we can use is the Single leg RDL. Remember this exercise the the essence of what we are trying to achieve in the squat, therefore, we need to apply these movement principles to all things we do.
Something to keep in mind during the single leg RDL is to alway prioritize the movement of the hip rather than the depth of the hinge. Your body will want to cheat and flex at the spine in order to get lower because that in some way is “better.” don’t fall into this trap. For some of us we may only be able to have 20-30 degrees of movement and that’s ok, it will get better, but cheating the movement to make yourself feel good will only feed the issue.