T Nation

Squatting Form Problem

well i guess this has been a problem for quite some time now, but i certianly cannot avoid adressing it any longer

anyways when i squat (most notibally when i squat heavy) my right knee sort of caves in towards my body, no matter how hard i try to prevent this it still happens. this causes my squat to edge over to the left side as i come. its sort of like im coming up on an angle.

Now i do have a bit of a history with this knee, it was injuried playing highschool football, it seems i have a meniscus that repeadetly sprains itself, however i havent hurt it since novemeber and day to day it doesnt really bother me. (although i hurt it 3 times in 2 seasons of football) anyways in my current routine i squat twice a week once in a 6-8 rep range, and another in a 10-12 rep range. on the 10-12 day the weight is lighter and the problem is less appearant but still present!

So whats my solution here? lower the weight even more?imbalance of strength?

please shine some light on this for me, i am very pissed about this problem after a heavy squat session tonight.

Gotta get your glutes working. Couple of articles from right here at T-Nation…

http://www.T-Nation.com/readTopic.do?id=495189

Search “Squat rx #1” on youtube and watch the entire series.

so do you guys think it could be a hip mobility problem?

another thing that must not be helping is more very poor hamstring mobility/flexibility

I suspect that you use a stance that is too narrow. i.e feet too close together and/or don’t have enough toe flare. Try a wider stance with your toes pointing out more, this will keep your knees more inline with your toes on the way up.

Experiment with your stance with a lighter weight untill you find one that feels just right.

Also contrary to popular belief a wide stance does not work the quads and glutes any less. You should use the stance that allows you to use the most weight in good form.

Maybe use a knee brace? if you have a history of injury, might want to talk to a doctor

i actually have a knee brace from physio which they wanted me to wear when i played football…the idea of wearing it while squatting did come into my mind, but then i reminded how the physio therapist told me not to wear it while doing strength exercises for the knee

as for my stance, its actually fairly wide, before it was narrow and the problem was even worse, widening it helped a little but not enough to solve it…anyways im going to take the next month or so to seriously work on my mobility/form. im only 18 so i have plenty of lifting ahead of me…

If you squat in sneakers, try slipping them off before you start squatting and do it in your socks (or barefoot). Sneakers tilt your weight forward when you want to keep it in your heels, destabilizing you and emphasizing weaknesses you already have.

But, really, it sounds to me like you have a serious muscle imbalance (atrophy of the muscles around the right knee which help to stabilize that knee, or weakness in the internal rotators of that leg). I would reccomend, personally, that you skip the squatting altogether for a couple months and do high rep (12-20 reps) bulgarian dumbell split squats until both knees are rock solid, then go back to your back squatting. The light weight bulgarian squats will iron out your muscle imbalances and weakness, build that knee up again, and teach you how to fire the correct muscles–again, try 'em barefoot or in Chuck Taylors.

Good luck

When your “in the hole” each rep…try and tear the floor apart with your feet. This will activate your hip abductors and give you better control of your knee tracking on the way up. Start with lighter loads and re-teach your body to recruit like this. Over time, it should clean up your form with the heavier sets…

thanx guys, those last two posts were quite helpful

redbones… this is the advice i was looking for…i think you have something when you say there is a muslce imbalance in my right leg, i am definately going to try some bulgarian squats…as soon as i find out what they are!

There are so many different things that could be going on here it would pretty irresponsible to try to diagnose the problem over the internet. Obviously your body does not want to open up the knee joint and does not want to use the VMO.

This could be the issue, or it could be that you are going much to heavy and have to go back down and work at a weight where your form stays true. If you are squatting so heavy that one knee buckles and not the other, bad idea. Get a knowledgable strength coach in your area to help you out.

I have the exact same problem. There is a mirror in front of where I squat and it looks very awkward. Two things that helped. The first thing is that I look up at the ceiling while I squat. This puts more of the load back instead of forward. I think most of the problem was when I wasn’t looking up, the weight was going forward and my hips were compensating for the lift. I don’t know why, but my knee kinda buckles when I do this.

The second thing that helps is really focusing on driving through your heels. When I put extra focus on this I noticed that I wouldn’t have this problem anymore. However, whenever I was fatigued I noticed it return. So it probably is a muscle imbalance issue that will be worked out as I get stronger.

[quote]GrindOverMatter wrote:
well i guess this has been a problem for quite some time now, but i certianly cannot avoid adressing it any longer

anyways when i squat (most notibally when i squat heavy) my right knee sort of caves in towards my body, no matter how hard i try to prevent this it still happens. this causes my squat to edge over to the left side as i come. its sort of like im coming up on an angle.

Now i do have a bit of a history with this knee, it was injuried playing highschool football, it seems i have a meniscus that repeadetly sprains itself, however i havent hurt it since novemeber and day to day it doesnt really bother me. (although i hurt it 3 times in 2 seasons of football) anyways in my current routine i squat twice a week once in a 6-8 rep range, and another in a 10-12 rep range. on the 10-12 day the weight is lighter and the problem is less appearant but still present!

So whats my solution here? lower the weight even more?imbalance of strength?

please shine some light on this for me, i am very pissed about this problem after a heavy squat session tonight.[/quote]

I reckon, lower weight, learn perfect form and solve the imbalance you obviously have by forcing the form correct under easy conditions, then build up slowly.

Check your knee under heavy/med leg presses and work the leg(s) from different angles. Try lunges with BW and slowly build up to bexternal resistance if the knee,hip and ankle are not in perfect alignment; starting with the RHS leg first…

Joe