My knees hurt when I squat. Should I be doing it?
Your knees can hurt for many reasons – the most common being misuse or underuse. In fact, you’re likely to have bad knees because you aren’t squatting or you’re squatting improperly.
The knee (and entire lower body structure) is designed to compress fully and rest in a deep squat. The squat is the human body’s natural position for sitting and going to the toilet. Every baby squats. Children play in the squat. As we age and start to use things like toilets, chairs, desks; and as we stop being on ground, we stop using the squat. Look at places where the lifestyle is still to squat, like in Eastern countries. You’ll see people of all ages cooking, eating, gardening, working, even waiting for the bus comfortably in a squat. So losing the squat position is a consequence of lifestyle and nothing else.
The full squat position is where the back of your upper leg (the hamstring) covers the back of your lower leg (the calf) with heels flat on the ground and a torso comfortably upright. If your knees and lower body have lost this mobility due to years of neglect, it could be painful (and inconceivable) to get into a full squat.
Luckily, there are a few potent, tried-and-true ways to restore this mobility. The best one is for you to start squatting every day. The 30-day squat challenge is the most bang-for-your-buck way to make a huge difference in your squat mobility. All you need to do is accumulate 30 minutes in the squat position each day for 30 days. The key is to accumulate – so try setting a timer for 1-2 minutes spread across the day, adding up to 30 minutes. If it isn’t comfortable, you can try elevating your heels by placing one (or 2) books under the heels, then once you feel comfortable, reducing the elevation until your heels are on the ground.
If you’re looking for help, we offer a few different classes that will help improve your knee health and your squat. Email us or WhatsApp 491-7728 for more information. Follow us on Instagram at @athleticengineeringsvg to be a part of our community.
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