A few months ago there was a comment made in the daily training talking about Maximus working on his caving knees and how he's now corrected this and that it shows in the way he's walking. I have a similar problem and can usually maintain the knees out on a Squat since I'm thinking about it but if I film myself doing box jumps or cleans (anything fast), I can see that my knees are always caving in. So I am wondering what was his approach to this problem. Could you give me some guidelines and exercises to help me correct this?

Answer

When I was concentrating on keeping my knees from caving I realized that it happened mostly when I was in a state of fatigue or when the load on the lift (i.e. squat, clean) was so heavy that I was more concerned with just lifting the weight as opposed to being concerned about my caving knees.

The key to fixing this problem is purposeful practice in the "specific warm-up" section of a training session. In general we teach that the Training Session can be divided into the following sections:

a) General Warm-up (i.e. 10 minutes cardiovascular activity)
b) Specific Warm-up (get ready for the focus of the day, practice technique, etc)
c) Workout (main focus of the day. i.e. circuit, lifting)
d) Supplemental (extra work needed to build a high level of fitness)
e) Cool Down (i.e. 10 minutes cardiovascular activity)

As stated above I used the "specific warm-up" section of the training session to include movements that would help fix the issue. I included plenty of slow controlled squats where I would cognitively push my knees out. At the bottom position of the squat I would push my knees out as far as I could, pause for a second, and then stand up with the knees in perfect position. I would do this for my Wall Squats, Squats, and Goblet Squats. I would also do this when I was working up to a heavy weight (i.e Front Squat). Therefore if the workout called for 5x2 Front Squats @ 80% 1RM then I would practice perfect technique in the work up (i.e. 10 reps @ 30% 1RM, 8 reps @ 50% 1RM, 5 reps @ 75% 1RM).

You could also extend this approach by using the same methodical approach during your warm up for Box Jumps and Cleans

This is not a solution that will work overnight but bad habits can take quite some time to overwrite. Be patient. Do some purposeful, meaningful, practice every single day, and it will improve.

Note that this approach doesn't just apply to the squat. It can apply to almost any technique.


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