T Nation

Squat (Knees Caving In)

90% Squat
Not so bad looking from the side

Same weight, same session, same form but from the back:

A couple DL videos since strength deficits on one lift can be seen on another but I don’t think it’s anywhere as bad as my squat.

From the front at 90%

From the side at 90%

This is only a problem that starts at 85%ish

I don’t know for sure… but I think my legs aren’t strong enough so my knees go in and my back take over…

The other possibility is that my abductors aren’t strong enough.

I wanted some additional opinions before I started going after weaknesses so I don’t waste time on the wrong stuff.

I would say that it’s the opposite. Your knees sweeping in is letting your quads take over. Knees out normally helps you better engage your butt, knees in is quads grinding it up.

While it’s definitely something to be careful about - you don’t wanna tear your knees up and shit - some pretty big and strong squatters have a bit of knee cave. I honestly think it’s something that varies from lifter to lifter, whether you should be afraid of it or not. It’s like back rounding on deads, butt wink on squats, knees coming past the toes, etc. Everyone is different. What is acceptable for me, might not be for you and vice versa. I’m not saying you shouldn’t work to fix it… but I am going to provide examples of some big squats with knee cave haha.

and specifically john north in this vid

Fletch, hit the ‘good girl / bad girl’ machines and strenghten up those adductors / abductors. If you don’t have those machines do seated adductors with a band. JL Holdsworth has answered a similar post from someone named Simon. His advice to that guy was similar. He’s replied again with additional advice you may find useful. Hop on the efs Q&A to check it out.

[quote]StrengthDawg wrote:
Fletch, hit the ‘good girl / bad girl’ machines and strenghten up those adductors / abductors. If you don’t have those machines do seated adductors with a band. JL Holdsworth has answered a similar post from someone named Simon. His advice to that guy was similar. He’s replied again with additional advice you may find useful. Hop on the efs Q&A to check it out. [/quote]

Good to know the potential solution will be recovery inexpensive. Yeah… I haven’t hit that machine since rehabbing my SI joint a couple years ago. I’ll check out the Q and A.

Man… Your back is in a FUCKED up position on your deadlift… Good god.

[quote]DallasV wrote:
Man… Your back is in a FUCKED up position on your deadlift… Good god.[/quote]
x2

Get your ass DOWN at the start of your pulls so you can get your back in a good position and hold it there.

Between the way you pull (basically straight legged) and your knee cave, you have a glaring glute weakness.

I have the same problem. Hasn’t hindered/injured me yet, but playing around with foot position and feet angle helped a little bit.

Letting my knees move in a little bit actually lets me move faster when I’m front squatting, which I don’t quite understand.

When you are doing your set up how you are locking out your knees/pushing your hips up is good for getting a stretch reflex/tension, but you shouldn’t just be bending your knees after that, you should sit back/down as you arch your back. The purpose of this technique is to basically be a “spring”, but you are essentially just putting yourself in a bad position without maximizing the tension it is supposed to create in your body.

When you are in position there should be a lot of tension on your hamstrings, your abs should be braced, your back should be held in a tight arch (or slight upper back round), and the slack out of the bar pulled out, but you should still spend little time in that position.

I also second what kakarat said, get your glutes stronger (all parts), and get your hamstriings stronger. You are pretty much one big quad/erector at the moment. :wink:

So at a minimum… I think I’ll do some good girl/bad girl machine work and some wide stance free squatting in chucks focusing on keeping my knees behind the front of my foot and my knees tracking over my feet properly. I don’t think I want to opt for the Westside style box squat because I want to keep the movement relevant to my style of squat.

You should consider a lot of what Dave talks about in this article.

“Load the hips first (hip hinge) and then break at the knees. This increases glute and hamstring involvement.”

Get plenty of volume with good form around 80-85% of max (the heaviest you can lift without the knees caving), and maybe try some Romanian deadlifts to strengthen your glutes and hamstrings and reinforce back position for the deadlift. I had this issue and solved it through practice. Good luck.

[quote]Kakarat wrote:
You should consider a lot of what Dave talks about in this article.

“Load the hips first (hip hinge) and then break at the knees. This increases glute and hamstring involvement.”

[/quote]

[quote]Dave Tate:
If the bar feels heavy. Step one is to grow a set of balls. Seriously. Sometimes shit is heavy â?? that’s why it’s powerlifting. You want easy weights, go hop on a leg press, preferably the pin loaded version. That way you can pump out reps while you read the paper or update your Facebook page. Pussy.
[/quote]

God I love reading Dave Tate’s articles.

[quote]The Hoss wrote:
I have the same problem. Hasn’t hindered/injured me yet, but playing around with foot position and feet angle helped a little bit.

Letting my knees move in a little bit actually lets me move faster when I’m front squatting, which I don’t quite understand.[/quote]

It’s a quad thing. a lot of olympic lifters do this, some elite ones intentionally. I am with NK on this, if you are an experienced vet it may be a personal thing. (I would never train newb to do it though).

Knees caving in = weak VMO and tight glute med.

[quote]Aragorn wrote:

[quote]The Hoss wrote:
I have the same problem. Hasn’t hindered/injured me yet, but playing around with foot position and feet angle helped a little bit.

Letting my knees move in a little bit actually lets me move faster when I’m front squatting, which I don’t quite understand.[/quote]

It’s a quad thing. a lot of olympic lifters do this, some elite ones intentionally. I am with NK on this, if you are an experienced vet it may be a personal thing. (I would never train newb to do it though).[/quote]

I’m inclined to agree. In fact, the reason I don’t squat Westside style like Dave Tate and Louie Simmons suggests is to take stress off my hips since they’re most delicate part of me when it comes to heavy lower body lifting. This is why I’ve adopted a style closer to that of a WL squat. In fact, most raw lifters don’t squat like they do in Westside, although that’s not to say it’s necessarily wrong to do so.

I want most of the stress on my quads and and back because experience has taught me they’re much sturdier, but I do think the sweep in I have up there is excessive and so is the middle and upper back rounding on my DL.

Do you know what Olympic Lifters do to fix excessive knee cave in for they’re lifts? I’ve seen Oly lifters do paused squats so I might do that… but I’m not sure if that’s why they do them.

Your knee cave looks excessive, and I bet some of the above suggestions will help, but I thought I’d leave this here for your reference:

Glutes you say?

Cable pull throughs.

Ok, I’ve decided exactly what I’m going to do.

I’ll do paused squats to build my hips and make sure I keep good back positioning in the hole and maybe some sumo sldl’s along with some good girl/bad girl machine. Maybe lay off of the SSB for at least a little while since it’s not working anything I’m weak(er) at and the same for leg pressing. I’ll keep front squat rotated in because they really they don’t even work my quads much, just mostly middle and upper back.

[quote]mutantcolors wrote:
Glutes you say?

Cable pull throughs.[/quote]

Or even take some wisdom from the DJ article & use a KB.

i had the same issue… did some adductor/abductor work at max weight for low reps, then light weight high reps for about a month after my 5x10 531 assistance… worked well for me.