Ever get that achy pain on the top of your knee during squats. It feels like it’s running slightly to the right or left of your knee cap and tends to hurt most after the squats. You usually end up bending your knee and trying to stretch it to work the ache out. Don’t be too concerned, this is a common issue that results from incorrect squat form. The reason I’ve chosen to post this short article is learn a technique to easily correct this issue before you have long lasting knee pain.

Diagnosis:

Aside from the knee pain, there are a few things we can do to determine whether or not my trick will work.  First off, perform a BELOW parallel squat with a bar.  This could be either high bar or low bar, but you’ll traditionally see it more with the high bar aquat.  Pay careful attention to your toes and focus on where you push from.  Do you push from your heel, midfoot, or toes.  Do you find that  you have tension on the front of your knee cap as opposed to in you glutes/hamstrings/and quads?  If you see that you put pressure on your knees and focus a little too much on your toes during the squat…you may benefit from the trick I will outline below. As the weight goes up on your squat form the issue will become more pronounced.  You’ll LEAN forward and push with your toes to grind out at last rep instead of staying on a straight up and down motion path.  This wobble results in a putting excess pressure on your knee cap and shins which causes the knee pain!

The Fix

From now on FOCUS ON YOUR HEEL.  Push with your heel and midfoot as opposed to your toes. Significantly reduce your squat weight and work on that motion path.  Learn proper bracing techniques and hand positions as well to preserve your natural arch and maintain stronger form during the lift.  Just focusing on the heel was enough for me to significantly reduce the pain in my knee because I was making a conscious effort not to come up on my toes.  Yes, your weight will likely be lower, but I’d rather take a hit to my ego rather than suffer a major injury and knee pain for years.

If focusing on your heel still has you performing a balancing act on your toes every time you squat, your problem likely is ankle mobility.  There are numerous articles out there on resolving ankle mobility and maybe I’ll cover it in a later segment, but if you want to correct the issue entirely you’ll need to work on this. Tight ankles are hard to diagnose because they just aren’t that flexible to begin with, but this is why guys put 5lb plates under the heels and wear squat shoes.  They are avoiding the issue of correcting their ankle mobility by providing themselves with an ankle support.  I don’t recommend this method for the long haul.