Your form sucks.
You're trying to lift more weight then you can handle.
You've injured your knee doing something that was not squatting.
You're a combination of the three scenarios above.
It is unfortunate that the same myth continues to slap me in the face on a daily basis. I feel like I'm surrounded by it day in and day out at the clinic, with a potential client and/or a novice trainee under my guidance. "My knees hurt when I squat". My teeth cringe and my blood pressure rises every time I hear this said to me.
If your knees hurt when you squat, it is time we stop blaming the squats for the pain and start looking into why our knees are bothering us. We have been squatting since we were babies, why is it that all of a sudden squatting is the culprit behind our pain?
If "squats hurt you", here are a couple of things you might want to look into to figure out why you may be having pain.
- You lack full ankle dorsiflexion.
- That is the ability to point your foot towards your head. If you lack dorsiflexion, you will have to compensate at other joints to make up the lack or range. This often comes from the knees, or the low back (and possibly both).
- You lack core stability.
- Whether the abdominal wall, the lats or the hip musculature is weak, (all of these make up the core) abnormal forces will be transmitted through joints rather then through contracting muscles and tendons. This will cause excessive shearing at the knees and even the low back, which overtime can cause pain and dysfunction.
- Transverse/Frontal plane deviations.
- As athletes, gym-goers and sedentary individuals, we train and live mostly in the sagittal-plane (think front and back movement like walking). Squatting is a sagittal-plane movement. Often time when some one squats, we see them sit more towards one leg than the other or rotate their bodies. This is common especially when someone is trying to lift a weight that is too heavy for them. This becomes a sure fire way to cause an angry knee or low back.
Watch the video below to see how I teach the squat and how it may help you squat pain free.