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Knee Pressure During Squats

I have a concern about my knees because when I do just BW A2G squats, I feel like 5 lb plates are sitting on my knees. It happens when I stop at the bottom and am coming up. It also does not hurt at all but it just minor pressure that I don’t think I had before. I feel no pain inside or outside of the gym and I don’t feel this minor pressure when doing my front squats (but maybe that is just because I’m not focusing on that). Is this a precursor to real knee problems?

For the past about 2 months I have done legs 2x a week (out of 4) with no deloading week because I have had no problems with positive progression and have proper recovery. I have been hittin it hard all the way through. But, this is my first routine with 2 leg days a week (quads and hams both days).

Let me know if you would like me to post my leg routines.

Disclaimer: I have searched extensively on info. concerning knee pressure but found nothing that was quite like my situation.

Posting your leg workouts may help so it couldn’t hurt. As for the pressure does it occur right when you hit bottom? Or is it progressively setting in as you descend from parallel to the ground?

My knees cope fine with weighted squats, but dislike bw squats. If they cause you discomfort, don’t do them.

This may help: pressure on the knee joint reaches its maximum at 90 degrees. If your knees go past 90 degrees (ie, squatting lower) the pressure will actually be less. And going lower will also kick in the glutes and hammies, which may not be firing right and thus putting excess pressure on the knees.

I’d do some hip flexor stretches and, (carefully avoiding the mocking eyes of any T-Nation readers) possibly also some side leg raises as well to get the hip muscles firing properly before you squat.

Good luck
DF

Try changing your stance. Go with more of a power lifting stance. Legs slightly wider than shoulder with apart and toes pointed out about 30 degrees. Also, try warming up with leg lifts.

[quote]Skrussian wrote:
Posting your leg workouts may help so it couldn’t hurt. As for the pressure does it occur right when you hit bottom? Or is it progressively setting in as you descend from parallel to the ground?[/quote]

Here is the breakdown of leg workouts on Tuesday and Friday:

Day 1
Quads
Close-stance lunges 4 sets of 8-10
Superset: Leg extension 3 sets of 8-10
Superset: BW sissy squat 3 sets to failure (12-14)

Hams
GHR machine 4 sets of 6-8
Good morning 3 sets of 6-8
Lunge 3 sets of 8-10

Day 2
Quads
Front squat 4 sets of 4-6
Superset: Leg press 3 sets of 8-10
Superset: Frog squat 3 sets of 6-8

Hams
GHR machine 4 sets of 6-8
Superset: Standing cable leg curl 3 sets of 8-10
Superset: Reverse hyper 3 sets to failure (10-12)

I think the pressure occurs during the time that I complete my A2G squat and am coming out of the hole. That’s when I feel it happen although it is subtle.

[quote]sharetrader wrote:
My knees cope fine with weighted squats, but dislike bw squats. If they cause you discomfort, don’t do them.[/quote]

Interesting. And this doesn’t worry you at all? The only time I do BW squats is as a part of my mini warm-up while adding warm-up weight to the bar.

[quote]hoosegow wrote:
Try changing your stance. Go with more of a power lifting stance. Legs slightly wider than shoulder with apart and toes pointed out about 30 degrees. Also, try warming up with leg lifts. [/quote]

Thanks for the response. The only thing about changing my stance to that of a PL is that I’m not one and am trying to put the pressure on my quads more. And, I forgot to say but my legs are shoulder width apart and are pointed out about 30 degrees already.

I know leg extensions are supposed to be terrible for your knees, try backing away from them…i may have skipped it in ur workout, but why not any front squats??? or step ups?? both are great for leg development and overall strength, especially front squats!! id try to work them in somehow and i think it may help alot

and yes u do front squats, my bad, i completely overlooked it my bad bro…but about the leg extensions, not the greatest thing for your knees!

[quote]IronDude17 wrote:
sharetrader wrote:
My knees cope fine with weighted squats, but dislike bw squats. If they cause you discomfort, don’t do them.

Interesting. And this doesn’t worry you at all? The only time I do BW squats is as a part of my mini warm-up while adding warm-up weight to the bar.[/quote]

No, it doesn’t worry me. I am 54, I have to expect some things will not work like they used to! I think it is because bw squats one tends to do for higher reps. I do 5 reps or less for pretty much all my lifting these days.

[quote]sharetrader wrote:
IronDude17 wrote:
sharetrader wrote:
My knees cope fine with weighted squats, but dislike bw squats. If they cause you discomfort, don’t do them.

Interesting. And this doesn’t worry you at all? The only time I do BW squats is as a part of my mini warm-up while adding warm-up weight to the bar.

No, it doesn’t worry me. I am 54, I have to expect some things will not work like they used to! I think it is because bw squats one tends to do for higher reps. I do 5 reps or less for pretty much all my lifting these days.[/quote]

I am 20 so I am not so sure this is normal . . . maybe its an effect of hittin legs hard 2x a week for 2 months with no back off weeks? I’m not sure.

[quote]IronDude17 wrote:
sharetrader wrote:
IronDude17 wrote:
sharetrader wrote:
My knees cope fine with weighted squats, but dislike bw squats. If they cause you discomfort, don’t do them.

Interesting. And this doesn’t worry you at all? The only time I do BW squats is as a part of my mini warm-up while adding warm-up weight to the bar.

No, it doesn’t worry me. I am 54, I have to expect some things will not work like they used to! I think it is because bw squats one tends to do for higher reps. I do 5 reps or less for pretty much all my lifting these days.

I am 20 so I am not so sure this is normal . . . maybe its an effect of hittin legs hard 2x a week for 2 months with no back off weeks? I’m not sure.
[/quote]

I’ve just a a look at your schedule. Definitely drop the leg extensions. They are about the worst thing you can do for your knees. See how the bw squats go without them.

I suspect you will find the pressure sensation you are feeling will be gone. If it isn’t, I would drop the bw squats as well. Do leg press for your quads. Just be careful not to go too low, make sure your butt doesn’t start to lift off at all. This will f@#k your back real quick.

Try putting some more posteriorly dominant moves as your first movement rather than just front squats. Deadlifts and all kinds of their variations as well as box squats will allow you to work more on the glutes, hams, and low back. Knee pain is to be expected pretty often in those that are overly quad dominant.

And drop the leg extensions and sissy squats. Especially the latter, pretty terrible for your knees and with very little redeeming qualities. Try substituting cable pull throughs instead of the leg curls.

And lastly, maybe try a backoff week of not going to failure when you feel like you need it. If you’re doing more heavy training this will be more often. But after 8 weeks, it’s probably time to take it down a notch for a week.

-Matt

[quote]Matt McGorry wrote:
Try putting some more posteriorly dominant moves as your first movement rather than just front squats. Deadlifts and all kinds of their variations as well as box squats will allow you to work more on the glutes, hams, and low back. Knee pain is to be expected pretty often in those that are overly quad dominant.

And drop the leg extensions and sissy squats. Especially the latter, pretty terrible for your knees and with very little redeeming qualities. Try substituting cable pull through instead of the leg curls.

And lastly, maybe try a backoff week of not going to failure when you feel like you need it. If you’re doing more heavy training this will be more often. But after 8 weeks, it’s probably time to take it down a notch for a week.

-Matt[/quote]

So what you’re saying is to put posterior chain working exercises in my routine because you think I’m quad dominant? Just asking. Is being quad dominant an effect of my training or just how I’m built?

And I will lay off the leg extensions (did them for the whole two months I think but no problems until now). But how are sissy squats bad for the knees? I’m not challenging you, just questioning.

And the leg curls I’m doing are standing cable curls because I did do pull-through last month and wanted to change it since the cable weights max out at 160. Standing leg curls are problematic?

I’ll take next week as a back off week but I never really did one before cuz I never had to. How does the workout change for the back off week and do you think I should back off on my upper body days too or just the lower body days? Anyone is welcome to answer these.

Thanks for your input though!

[quote]sharetrader wrote:
IronDude17 wrote:
sharetrader wrote:
IronDude17 wrote:
sharetrader wrote:
My knees cope fine with weighted squats, but dislike bw squats. If they cause you discomfort, don’t do them.

Interesting. And this doesn’t worry you at all? The only time I do BW squats is as a part of my mini warm-up while adding warm-up weight to the bar.

No, it doesn’t worry me. I am 54, I have to expect some things will not work like they used to! I think it is because bw squats one tends to do for higher reps. I do 5 reps or less for pretty much all my lifting these days.

I am 20 so I am not so sure this is normal . . . maybe its an effect of hittin legs hard 2x a week for 2 months with no back off weeks? I’m not sure.

I’ve just a a look at your schedule. Definitely drop the leg extensions. They are about the worst thing you can do for your knees. See how the bw squats go without them.

I suspect you will find the pressure sensation you are feeling will be gone. If it isn’t, I would drop the bw squats as well. Do leg press for your quads. Just be careful not to go too low, make sure your butt doesn’t start to lift off at all. This will f@#k your back real quick.[/quote]

Dropping the leg extensions.

I do leg press for my quads already as a part of a superset and I make sure not to let my butt up and end up using glutes and hams.

Let me know if you find anythin else wrong with my leg days. Thanks!

Are your knees rolling in a little on the way up? use a technique called “spreading the floor” on the way up. to do it you push out on your feet as if you are trying to spread the floor with your feet. this will take the pressure off your knees.

meat

[quote]IronDude17 wrote:
Matt McGorry wrote:
Try putting some more posteriorly dominant moves as your first movement rather than just front squats. Deadlifts and all kinds of their variations as well as box squats will allow you to work more on the glutes, hams, and low back. Knee pain is to be expected pretty often in those that are overly quad dominant.

And drop the leg extensions and sissy squats. Especially the latter, pretty terrible for your knees and with very little redeeming qualities. Try substituting cable pull through instead of the leg curls.

And lastly, maybe try a backoff week of not going to failure when you feel like you need it. If you’re doing more heavy training this will be more often. But after 8 weeks, it’s probably time to take it down a notch for a week.

-Matt

So what you’re saying is to put posterior chain working exercises in my routine because you think I’m quad dominant? Just asking. Is being quad dominant an effect of my training or just how I’m built?

And I will lay off the leg extensions (did them for the whole two months I think but no problems until now). But how are sissy squats bad for the knees? I’m not challenging you, just questioning.

And the leg curls I’m doing are standing cable curls because I did do pull-through last month and wanted to change it since the cable weights max out at 160. Standing leg curls are problematic?

I’ll take next week as a back off week but I never really did one before cuz I never had to. How does the workout change for the back off week and do you think I should back off on my upper body days too or just the lower body days? Anyone is welcome to answer these.

Thanks for your input though![/quote]

An individual’s being quad dominant would most likely be due to his training methods. I’m not sure if you’re quad dominant, but most people don’t include enough work for the posterior chain anyway. Also, keep in mind that on movements like parallel back squats, box squats, romanian deadlifts, deadlifts, good mornings, pullthroughs, and pretty much any other “rear end” movement, flat soled shoes like converse will be better. On most deadlift variations, you can even go barefoot.

I wouldn’t say standing leg curls are problematic. But they just may not be all that beneficial. I’d stick to glute ham raises and just vary the loading, sets, and reps. You don’t need more than 1 “isolation” type movement for hamstrings in a single workout. Try throwing in some more compound moves for the hamstrings as well…perhaps romanian deadlifts.

To make sure we are referring to the same sissy squat, I’ll include this video. http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/Quadriceps/WTSissySquat.html
Machine would be essentially the same thing here. The farther the knees are in front of the toes during a squat, the more pressure will be placed on the knee. This is not to say that it should never pass the toes, but it should be limited. Your hamstring and glute strength should be strong enough that you can “sit back” into a squat. Sissy squats are the extreme here…the levels of pressure on the knees is great and without much benefit in my opinion. There are far better exercises for putting size and strength on the quads without putting your knee in such a disadvantaged position.

As far as your backoff goes, generally you want to reduce the volume of your work. If you were doing really heavy training, you might want to back off of reps between 1-4 as well.
http://www.elitefts.com/documents/deload.htm

As far as the upper body goes, it depends on how you feel. If you feel like you need a brake all over, then take one. If you are still progressing on upper body lifts and aren’t experiencing pain, then keep goign with it.

Good luck, keep us posted.

-Matt

[quote]maraudermeat wrote:
I think the pressure occurs during the time that I complete my A2G squat and am coming out of the hole. That’s when I feel it happen although it is subtle.

Are your knees rolling in a little on the way up? use a technique called “spreading the floor” on the way up. to do it you push out on your feet as if you are trying to spread the floor with your feet. this will take the pressure off your knees.

meat[/quote]

YES! After paying close attention to it, I realize this was my problem. Pressure on the inside of the knee as they roll in a tiny bit. I’ll try your tip. I guess this doesn’t mean anything problematic?

[quote]IronDude17 wrote:
maraudermeat wrote:
I think the pressure occurs during the time that I complete my A2G squat and am coming out of the hole. That’s when I feel it happen although it is subtle.

Are your knees rolling in a little on the way up? use a technique called “spreading the floor” on the way up. to do it you push out on your feet as if you are trying to spread the floor with your feet. this will take the pressure off your knees.

meat

YES! After paying close attention to it, I realize this was my problem. Pressure on the inside of the knee as they roll in a tiny bit. I’ll try your tip. I guess this doesn’t mean anything problematic?[/quote]

nope… It’s a common form problem that many people have. The knees want to role in. You have to consciously think about pushing out. Besides the benefit of keeping your knees healthy you will also have more power.

congratulations for being intune with what your body is doing! Most people don’t listen to their bodies until the problem becomes an injury.

I’ll give you another freebie to help maintain proper position during your squat- when you are coming out of the hole consciously pull your elbows forward. they will naturally want to drift back. think of it as if someone is standing in front of you and pulling your elbows towards them. you will be amazed at how much more power you have and it will help you maintain a tight arch as well.

good luck,
meat