T Nation

Squats & knees

What will happen if I don’t make my knees go out (to the sides) when I squat? People who have this problem (not me anymore) usually get told to use a piece of string to keep their knees apart if you know what I mean.

Natey: This is what is known as “opening up your groin.”
Without this maneuver, it would be almost IMPOSSIBLE to
squat down very far with any appreciable weight. Think
of it as lowering yourself through the legs. Without
“opening up your groin,” you would forced to derive YOUR
entire range of motion through the front hip flexors
or the lower back…OOOOOUUUUCCHH!!! “Opening up your
groin” is therfore VITAL in helping the body “get out of its
own way!”

P.S., This also applies for leg-presses and dead-lifts.
Natey, keep on squatting! Joey Z. ::::----::::

Sorry Joey Z, but I have to disagree with you. I think what Natey is reffering to is a powerlifting squat, where you are supposed to force your knees out to the sides (in order to activate more hip muscle). But if he is doing a traditional squat (legs a 1.5-2ft apart) there is really no reason to spread your knees. Now I would like to say that while your legs do not have to be forced out, they should be in a fairly straight line, if your knees are leaning in excessively, then that can also propose a problem. So in conclusion, (like anything else) it depends on what Natey’s goals are and what type of squat he is trying to do. If you have any other questions ask. Best of luck. (And Joey Z. if you can’t do a full squat without forcing your knees to the side you need to work on your flexability.)

Yeah, what happens if the knees go in excessively?

Date: Wed, 18 Apr 2001 10:58:13 -0700
From: Jason Burnell deepsquatter@deepsquatter.com
Subject: Re: Breathing and squatting

The following quote is taken verbatim from the above article

“…As I start the descent, I want to sit back. I’m thinking about
pushing back with my butt while keeping my knees out. Eddy
Coan calls this opening up your groin. At the bottom, my
torso is inside or between my legs…”

Because I forgot to mention that “Spreading the knees helps
activate gluteal muscles, too,” that makes my other statements
incorrect? (Did you ever see a power lifter or a body builder
squatting HEAVY go to the floor WITHOUT throwing the knees
wide open? Or how about the catcher in baseball… could this
be the flexibilty you speak of?) Anyone who has ever legitimately
squatted over double their body weight for reps knows the
importance of lowering themselves “through” their legs, not to
mention “opening up their groin” to gain balance and DISTANCE!
I wonder if you have ever squatted over double your B/W to the

P.S. - I probably started training before you were born! But
thanks for the lesson, Bro. And thanks for making me search
the web for over an hour to locate where I initially came across
the “opening up your groin” quote. Thanks again, Joey Z.

Natey, I think, Coach Poliquin put it best in an old “Question of Strength” column.
"Q: My knees collapse when I squat. I heard of a trick where the lifter wraps a belt around his thighs and concentrates on pushing against it while squatting. It’s supposed to cure the problem. What’s your opinion on this technique? Also, when the knees fall in, is it a problem with strength or flexibility?

A: The creator(s) and proponents of this technique really screwed up on this one. Their interpretation of the knee-buckling problem is that it's caused by weak hip abductors. Then they make you fire your hip abductors while doing an exercise that primarily recruits the hip extensors, thus sending confusing messages to the brain.

Eventually, you’ll be forced to use a dinky load that doesn’t overload the hip extensor chain properly. You’ll develop a brand new faulty recruitment pattern, and you won’t fix the real causes of the problem.

I find this technical approach rather idiotic, at best. It doesn’t address the real potential sources of the problem, like having a weak vastus medialis and/or adhesions between the adductor magnus and the medial hamstrings. These sort of symptoms are very common in hockey players and figure skaters because of over-recruitment of the vastus lateralis and the overuse of the hip adductor and hip extensors chains.

How do you correct this problem? Well, it goes beyond the scope of this column, as it takes about eight hours of private seminar time to cover. But one thing’s for sure, the belt trick won’t alleviate the situation. If you want to learn how to solve this and other biomechanical problems, you can either host or come to a private seminar—I only accept up to five people. I will be giving one of these in New York City, Phoenix, and the Bay area in the near future. Email ghursh@hotmail.com if you want to attend or host one of these seminars."
Jason Burnell, I’m glad that I was able to get you in-touch with you groin.

Hello?? WHAT HAPPENS?? Will someone just be weaker & not be able to lift a lot or is is dangerous? If it’s dangerous, what will happen & how serious?