T Nation

Weird Feeling in Knees After Squating


Hi guys,

It was recommended to me that I should post the following here rather than the beginners thread, so here goes:

I'd really like some help from some sciencey/medically folks, I'm pretty concerned about this. I've been on the Stronglifts 5x5 for about 2 months now, but only training it twice a week and playing 5 aside one evening.

I'm up to 165 pounds (5x5), but only weigh 155, so a fair amount for me personally. After my last session on Monday, during which I got a bit, but not unberable amounts, of pain in my right knee. Today (Tuesday), both my knees feel...weird. They're NOT hurting, but the way they feel is making me squirm... It's kinda like nails on a blackboard, or kinda like teeth grinding. I don't know how to describe a fairly intense feeling that does not hurt. I just feel squirmish in the knee. Urgh. Does this make any sense? Has anyone else had this?

I have no fluid (phew) in the knee, but I am getting a lot of clicking when I fully extend it, and I've got the strange urge to try to click it.

So questions:
1. What is this and should I be concerned?
2. What should I do about it?
3. My feet naturally stick out a bit (rather than being straight and paralell with each other) - should I get my knees to follow this path? Surley this is better than them ending up inside the line of my big toe?
4. Should I try to keep my feet straight (which ffeels uncomfortable in the knee and stops me going low, too)
5. I've today bought some knee strap things. These have small holes in where the knee actually is to allow full movement. Is this right, or should I get the kind without holes?
6. My next session is Friday... Can I still add on the regular 2.5KG? I'm on a tight schedule becuase I want to 5x5 250lbs by crimbo so I can do a 1 rep 300lbs....

Thanks a lot in advance guys, I'd really appreciate some advice here,



To your questions:
1. It could be a number of things. It doesn't sound like a major problem yet. It could just be the natural process of getting used to a new movement that works your body and stresses it in a new way.

  1. Evaluate your form. I recommend Mark Rippetoe's book Starting Strength and his free youtube video tutorials of how to squat, bench, and deadlift (I have seen better material on the olympic lifts). He's the only guy I know of who has actually bothered with examining and breaking down the big lifts as thoroughly as they should be.

  2. You should allow your feet to stick out slightly, especially if that is more natural and comfortable for you. Your knees should track along the same line (point in the same direction as your feet) and NEVER cave in. Ever.

  3. No. See answer to 3. PS If you are having trouble getting low, you may need a month or so of technique work with no weight or low weight. Doing a movement wrong with heavier weight just means improving your ability to suck. I.E. It makes you suck more, not less, which defeats the purpose of training in the first place. I suspect you need to look at bar placement and learn to sit back while descending in the squat too.

  4. Burn the knee straps. They are for competitive powerlifters. The point of training your legs is to increase their strength and ability to handle stress. The knee straps are contraindicated for that.

6a. No you cannot add 2.5KG. In fact, I think you should DECREASE the weight you are using in the squat by at least 10%, and probably more like 20%, your next workout and see how your knees respond. A hurt knee will set you back more in the long run and considering the poundages you are working with now, it will probably take you 2 years of dedicated work to reach respectable numbers in the squat (reps with good form with 4 plates is respectable for non-powerlifters).

6b. Burn your poundage schedule with the knee straps. Scheduling your goals at this point is ill-advised. Let your weight progressions come naturally until you have a good feel for lifting. For most people, that means squatting for at least 12 months, and often longer. Your goal for now should be to develop proper form and confidence in your lifting movements.

Best of luck. I hope the knees start feeling better soon. If not, see a doc.


when I began squatting I had a strange feeling in one of my knees. A kind stiff, awkwardness, and the joint would click quite a lot. I can in no way know or suggest that my problem was similar to yours, but I found keeping the knee warm helped. I bought a neoprene knee sleeve thing, and used it every time I squatted. It helped a lot.

Remember that the further forward your knees travel over your feet, the more pressure is put on the knee joint. Aiming for a more glute/hamstring, wider stance (powerlifting style) squat should take some pressure of your knees. Or perhaps even going back and doing simple bodyweight exercises which strengthen the knees could help.


To me it seems like your tendons and ligaments are just getting use to the increased load. It could also be a sign that its about time to start planning a deload.


Hey guys, thanks for the replies.

Couple of quick questions again! With the knee straps, I only bought them based on the article on this site about protecting your knees... Although you're argument is strong, is it deffo bad to wear them?

With the adding of poundage, I understand what you're saying, but the 5x5 stronglifts program is recognised and generally respected. The advantage of the regular poundage is you can see where you're going. Although obviously if it's going to bugger my knees it's not worth it. Is there no way of keeping to a regular pooundage schedule without doing my knees in?

Essentially though, having read your replies and other articles on squating, there is no way of telling what the problem could possibly be. I've read so many technical things, but I don't see anyway I can workout which muscles are weak etc...

I'll video record my squating on Monday and post that, so hopefully you guys will be able to say "your knees are doign XYZ, which indicates that XYZ muslce is weak, which means you need to do this exercise".

My other option is to find a personal trainer, but the ones I'ev met wouldn't have a clue about the level of detail you're talking about.

Can you tell a muslce imbalance by looking at the muscles?! Like, I think the muscles on the inside of my leg look quite big compared to the outer? Guess you'll see this on the video...

Thanks again for all your help,