It’s no surprise to walk into any gym at any given time, to see someone squatting more weight than they can properly handle.
As a coach, I cringe walking through most gyms as I’m a freak about form and always want to give my advice and guidance to everyone that might need it.
Unfortunately, these days, when I’m not training at Iron Force Athletics, or training at my friends box’s/gyms, I’ve got my headphones on and not trying to talk to anyone. (Yes, I am a prick)
One thing that I always see are peoples knees caving in like an interrogation under a hot light.
No matter how bad they cave, they continue to add more and more and….more weight.
There are so many reasons why this is a horrible idea, so what this article will do, is explain a few things you can do, to make those knees… Not so cavey.
With today’s growing trend of youtube and instagram savages, posting unreal videos of them lifting their faces off, it’s no wonder we have the less experienced individuals trying to emulate their heroes.
I’m all for being inspired by my peers, in fact, I can think of all the times I used to watch Legions Of Doom from WWF and want to kick the ever living shit out of my brother (which we did daily)
But when we’re talking about lifting and training, you need to walk before you run, chew before you swallow, and learn to properly move your body before you add an external load.
So! Why are you knees caving in?
Well, it could be a combination of things.
Maybe your adductors are weak. Maybe your glutes are weak. It could be poor hip mobility, but for me, I’ve found to side with and agree with Gray Cook where he talks about “energy leaks”, which takes your view instead of a single muscle, he looks at the movement as a whole to find what the missing link is within that pattern.
So, like I always say, it’s back to the basics. If you’re finding that your knees are caving, you need to peel back the layers and get down to the root of what’s going on. I’ve found, that just using an empty bar, to make sure a poor motion habit has not been accumulated, will start you back to square one, to retrain yourself to develop a solid movement pattern. I also am a huge pusher for empty bar box squats which have a massive “re-train” effect to your squat.
Remember kids, slow progress is the BEST progress. Just because you see the freaks in your box or gym, crushing weight, does not mean that you should be doing that. Spend time developing and understanding the movement and reap the benefits later.
Band Knees Out Squats – Probably one of my favorite go to’s, to develop tension and understand what “spreading the floor” truly means. As you wrap the bands around your knees, keep your feet in your normal squat stance. Go through the descend and brace your abs in the bottom position. Think about your hips with someones hands around your waist turning them backwards while your knees push out hard and comfortable. Weight should be distributed from the middle of your foot to the back of your heel. Hold for 15-30 seconds depending on experience level. Repeat 4-5x’s.
Experiment With Stance – I’m a huge believer that at some point, that “magical” position we all find ourselves in will just stop working. So, over the years I’ve always tried to vary how I do things to see if it changes how a movement feels for me and in turn, give me a more effective recipe to execute. Unless you’re a powerlifter, which typically, you’ll see a much wider stance (I always say it’s like watching the heaviest Goodmorning on the planet) I prefect narrowing my stance. In theory, if you narrow your stance, you will be less likely to cave your knees, as they wont have as much room for error. But, as we narrow the stance, you may find that getting to parallel is challenging, which would shine light on poor hip mobility and more than likely a weak lower back.
Lateral Band Walks – Such a great way to build your hip strength and TFL strength. I like to keep a slight bend in my knees, and from the jump, develop tension in my hips before I start my lateral movements. Make sure you don’t use your ankly/foot as your leading part of this movement. Focus on the hip really leading the direction. It’ll be 10x more effective.
Unilateral Training – I’m like a god damn broken record when it comes to unilateral training because… Well, because it works and it works damn well. If you start to notice that your knees are caving, or, maybe it’s one side more than the other (I’d take a shot in the dark but I’d guess it’s your non-dominant side caving) Unilateral training will change the game 100%. It will strengthen so many weakness on that one side, and point out other areas that you never knew needed to be developed for a more focused protocol in your training. Here are a few single leg movements that I highly recommend.
Rear Elevated Split Squat
Single Leg Step Ups
DB Single Leg RDL
These are just a few things that you can do to start changing your squat game now. If you’re trying to find a happy balance to get stronger while training your weakness’s, make sure to check out our Inner Circle Program. You will love to hate us.
Tear It Down