Do squats always hurt for you?
When they are programmed, whether it’s in a Metcon or the strength portion of class, do your knees immediately begin to ache? Maybe you instantly reach for your knee sleeves? Are you not squatting to depth? Do you begin to do weird shit with weird parts of your body that you wouldn’t normally do? Or do you just grab your gym bag and head home?
Now RELAX – I am not going to preach mobility by telling you to do a wall stretch for 30 minutes followed by rolling the bajeebus out of your quads. I am not doing this because mobility is a given. If you do not mobilize, you might as well stop reading now and jump into that wall stretch. I also won’t get all scientific and overload you with fancy names of all the bells and whistles that make the knee do what it does. As Coach Byron always says, “the knee is a dumb joint”, and this is true. But nonetheless, the knee is made to squat. So, if squats are hurting us we must fix that.
Maybe you came to class where back squats were prescribed, and while you were doing your 3×8 the coach yelled from across the room, “GREAT JOB BILLY BOB!” But one week later, there were wall balls in the workout, and the same coach was utterly disgusted that none of your 850 wall ball reps were to depth. Then, the next week during the overhead squats you got yelled at again for not standing up all the way. Lets not forget the air squats where you basically were doing good mornings. Don’t worry, though! When goblet squats were in the workout you redeemed yourself – those things were pretty.
See what’s happening here? Every time we do squats something different is going on.
We need to be consistent!
Our squat depth should not change just because we go from an air squat to a back squat. Squats are squats and you should train them to complement each other. If your overall goal is to back squat quadruple your body weight, then you should start by treating the Air Squat with the respect it deserves. Squat all the way down (to your FULL range of motion), keep your chest nice and high, and drive your knees out over your feet. Maybe squats hurt so much because you’re doing something different each time, whether it’s with your stance, depth, or torso angle.
Our bodies like consistency, and that’s just the way it is.
The knee is dumb enough, so let’s try not to confuse it every time we squat.