Squats hurt my knees. Squats may hurt your knees but a lot of the time it’s because your squat form sucks. Sorry but it’s true, because as a personal trainer, I see it daily. Bad squat form doesn’t make you a bad person but it does make you a bad squatter. Good thing for you is it can get better with proper instruction! So let’s go over why your squat form sucks in the first place.


Tight Hips

I get it. You sit all day right? If you don’t sit all day then you stand all day. Well either one makes your hips tight. How many days per week do you stretch them? How about massage them? See where I’m going here? Tight hips also don’t make you a bad person but it does in fact make you a person, with tight ass hips. On top of being a person with tight ass hips, you are a person that squats sucky. So what do you do now that you are aware of those tight ass hips? If you think I’m going to suggest doing yoga everyday think again. Believe it or not yoga can make your hips tight as well. I think yoga is wonderful but instead of jumping on that bandwagon how about we talk about how to loosen those bad boys up without spending a dime! ***The penny hoarders go crazy!!!!!*** Keep reading, I have more to tell you about why your squat form sucks.

Tight Calves

In a squat we have what we call “triple extension.” When you finish a squat you flexed and extended at three joints.: the hips, the knees, and the ankles. So when your calves are tight the flexion at the ankle is going to be limited. If this is the case you will tend to lean too far forward in a squat putting pressure on the knees. Thus convincing yourself squats are evil and that they hate your knees. This is a false narrative and quite frankly very rude because squats just want to tone your glutes and make you look sexy. They also want to make you healthy and strong. If you’ve been doing this sucky form for awhile, you will probably develop tight quadriceps (front of leg) furthering the pain at the knee. Here’s a great way to know your squat form sucks. If you only get sore on the front of your legs (quadriceps), and not so much in the glutes (butt) or hamstrings (back of leg).

Weak Core

People always think the word “weak” is negative. Those people also see the glass half empty. Here’s a half full way of looking at it. If you are weak, you aren’t blind, deaf or dumb. You are just weak which means you can get strong. You are very in control if you want to be strong or weak. You ever hear the phrase “weak points?” That could be referring to you physically or it could be referring to the speech you gave at work. If you have a weak core that doesn’t mean you as a person suck. It just means your core strength sucks, which is completely in your control to change. I could write a whole article on how to strengthen your core so I will give you one thing you can start doing. Planking. Elbow planking, full planking (full push up position). I think we all know what a plank is but what you may not know is how to plank. Imagine this, you are on the ground, in a elbow plank position and someone is getting ready to kick you in the stomach. If this was the actual scenario I’d probably suggest blocking the kick and beat whoever butt just did that. However, this is for imagery purposes only. So if that was the case how would you tense up? Ok, thats how you should treat planks. All those 5 min, 7 min planks I see people do are all focusing on shoulder strength not core strength. Do 3 planks like this every day and your core will get stronger.

There’s definitely more reasons your squat form may suck but these are the top issues I see in 9/10 clients I see. So let’s get to how to improve your squat form now, today, with no cost to you! ***penny hoarders scream while counting pennies***

Box Squat

Below is a video of a box squat. I am demonstrating them using a 20” bench but you don’t have too. You can use a chair in your house, a sofa, or something that resembles either. Make sure the object isn’t too low where you are falling to sit down or too high where you are barely getting any knee flexion. I suggest something 20”-24” high give or take depending on your height. 

Key points

Check out my knees. They are sexy huh? Joking no ones knees are sexy. Check them out as in the position of them compared to my toes. They aren’t tracking beyond them, instead, they are staying behind my toes. This is because I’m activating my core, glutes, and hamstrings. I’m doing this by consciously squeezing those muscles and pushing my hips back. This is why the bench is there so I can sit back into it. I’m also forcing myself to stay upright and keep my chest up. If you have tight hips this will suck, just like your squat form, for now. Now looking at the forward angle, you can see how my chest stays up and my knees don’t fall inward but instead track in a straight motion. It’s always good to either videotape or look in a mirror when doing these. This my friends is good squat form that does not suck!

So you’re probably thinking how is this going to fix my tight hips, tight calves, and weak core. Well this is how you will fix it. Forcing yourself into good form, range of motion, and consciously squeezing muscles, will get you more flexible and stronger. Start with a higher box and work your way down to a box that gets your legs to a 90 degree angle at the bottom. Then work without the box. Then hold a 10lb weight up at your chest. Then watch your squat form not suck anymore!!!!!!