I continue to read about my ailments and how to move forward. A couple questions I’ve addressed are: 1) am I done with movements that cause anterior knee movement? and 2) am I done with squats?
I haven’t done much squatting since my PT suggested I stop doing most of my leg stuff for awhile. I squat at PT, but it’s bodyweight and the focus is on performing the hip hinge properly without a load. I also do some jumps similar to a box squat (squat to a box, jump, land correctly, repeat). The loading is non-existent and the focus is training proper movement patterns. Who would’ve thought that I need to practice my hip hinge even though I’m a posterior dominant lifter?
I found a trainer who claims to have fixed his own jumper’s knee problems (which is what I have). He claims he did the opposite of what doctors told him to do. Doctors kept saying rest, and he finally got tired of it and started training again. He makes some good points with the best being that the tendon needs to be loaded to get better. I need to expose my patellar tendon to stress and increase the load over time. That makes sense; it seems to work for muscles, right? It’s also in line with my PT exercises. So that answers question 1 - I don’t need to baby my knees; I need to train smart and push them back to health.
Now onto question 2. I looked back at my training videos and found videos of my old squat (high bar) and my most recent squat (low bar). I was conflicted because I recently saw one of my favorite coaches promoting the same shin and torso angle (both should be the same). Unfortunately, I can’t achieve this without serious anterior knee movement. That led me to research the “perfect squat mechanics” (as if there were such a thing). I stumbled across some good information and it’s pretty simple - neutral spine, bar stays over midfoot, and everything else is based on the size of the lifter and technique preferences such as wide or narrow stance and high or low bar. The best information from this particular coach was this: upright torso = greater shin angle and a more horizontal torso = more vertical shins. It’s nothing groundbreaking, but it helped me let go of the equal shin and torso angle idea.
I took some measurements and my legs are 52+% of my total body height and my torso is 47+% of my total height. If legs are greater than 49% of total height, then you’re considered to have long legs. If torso is greater than 32% of overall height, then you’re considered to have a long torso. Well, I have long legs and a long torso. The physics of my body and my injury history all point to low bar squatting. Based on my side by side pics, low bar squats actually allow me to have a pretty vertical shin.
The conclusion: I’ll probably start squatting again. I might even try low bar box squats for awhile. I know I talked about scrapping squats, but the reality is that I’m having a hard time training legs since I’m avoiding anterior knee movement. That’s eliminated lunges and RFESS for the time being and leg press is tough. Only half my foot is on the foot plate to ensure my shins stay vertical and the ROM is small.
Here are the snapshots from my squat styles. The one on my left is from May of 2018 during my post-hip surgery run of SGSS. The one on the right is from October of 2022. Sadly, I really did have to go back to 2018 to get a side view of a squat. It seems I only record my deadlifts .