Pain vs. Progress

Here’s a question for you: If you visited your orthopedist and said, “My knees hurt when I squat,” what do you think the response would be? 

If your guess is, “Well, then stop squatting,” you would be correct.

Squatting happens to be one of my favorite exercises, and it’s undeniably one of the most valuable exercises for maximizing your relative strength. But what if it causes you pain?

When something hurts, it’s crucial to understand why it hurts.

– Are you executing the movement incorrectly?

– Is your stance too wide or too narrow for your body’s unique anatomy?

– Could tight quads, inflexible ankles, or tight hips be the culprits?

– Is there a strength imbalance, where one leg dominates the movement, leading to compensation and pain?

All these answers can be found through a straightforward assessment, so that’s where we should start. If it’s a matter of skill, it might be time to set aside the barbell temporarily and focus on rebuilding and relearning the squat pattern correctly and safely.

If it’s your stance, we can determine the ideal and most comfortable stance based on your individual anatomy and flexibility.

If the issue is related to tissue flexibility or joint mobility, you might need to dedicate some time to corrective exercises aimed at improving those areas. Simply doing more squats won’t suffice.

In the case of a strength imbalance, consider concentrating on an array of effective single-leg strength exercises such as split squats, lunges, and step-ups until the weaker side catches up.

Can you see why discontinuing an exercise because it causes discomfort can potentially hinder your strength gains? It’s far better to seek guidance to dig deeper into the issue.

If you have questions or need assistance, please feel free to reply so we can work together to troubleshoot your specific situation.