Fix Your Knees, Get Bigger & Stronger

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It’s kind of hard to achieve the holy grail of brohood – i.e., bigger, faster, and stronger (and tanned) – if you’re constantly banged up and/or hurt.

Our knees take a beating as it is, but if you’re a meathead this statement is exponentially true.

But even if someone says “my knees hurt!”……what does that even mean? Knee pain, or how smarty pants people refer to it – anterior knee or patellofemoral pain – is a very subjective term and doesn’t help explain the mechanism or cause of the pain in the first place. Hell, many scientist can’t even explain or agree what the term pain means or where it manifests from!

I guess to be more precise I should allude to the actual diagnoses of patellofermoral pain. There are many and it’s hard to pinpoint one major culprit over the other. We have patellar compression syndrome, patellar instability, general biomechanical syndrome, direct patellar trauma, soft tissue lesions, and overuse syndromes to name a few.

Too, we can’t deny that many people just move like complete shit. And while squatting is often poo-pooed or pointed to as Public Enemy #1 with regards to eating up someone’s knees, quite frankly (and more often than not) their squat pattern is atrocious. Sometimes all it takes a one minor tweak to their technique which can make all the difference in the world.

And then there’s other stuff like how to coach someone to perform a more “knee friendly” lunge, addressing weak hips, addressing alignment, mobility deficits, and engraining in people that you can always, ALWAYS train around an injury.

In my latest article on T-Nation.com I discuss all of the above and then some.

Continue Reading……

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  • Andrew Cammarano

    Excellent article on T-Nation Tony.

    I completely agree, the knee is rarely the culprit, but often the victim of other issues like poor movement patterns or mobility. Another thing to be aware of his anthropometry of an individual and how factors like a large Q-angle can predispose them to knee issues. This is not to say they are forced to live a lift of unavoidable pain, but rather, increase pro-active and preventative work needs to be completed to ensure pain-free and optimal movement.

    -Andrew
    https://forzahealth.wordpress.com/

    • TonyGentilcore

      Yep, that is VERY true Andrew. Which is why I can’t stand it when people chime in one the ONLY way to squat is ass-to-grass. Some people, based off their anatomy, will never be able to squat deep(er) without pain or causing damage down the road.

      What’s important is finding out what an individual’s own (safe) squat depth is and tweak from there.

  • replacement

    As usual, great article.

    Quick follow up on torso angle during split-stance exercises… Mike Robertson advocates a vertical torso, as highlighted here:

    http://robertsontrainingsystems.com/blog/mike-rants-exercise-technique/

    I asked him some follow up questions about this in the comments (I even put a link in to your older post about forward lean). Would love to hear your thought on the discussion. Mike claims that the more vertical torso position loads the posterior chain more than a slight forward lean. Assuming tibia angle is the same, it doesn’t seem like should be true.

    Lastly, do you coach a slight forward lean for all clients, or just those with APT/extension issues?

    Thanks for your time!

    • TonyGentilcore

      Well, I guess it just depends on if someone is in pain. I’ve found that if someone has knee issues, it helps to have a slightly more forward lean. It may be my own anecdotal bias, but it’s what I like to use when working with athletes and clients with a history of knee pain.

      In the end, it just depends on which variation feels best for any one individual.

  • Shane Mclean

    Nice work Tony, covering the basics with some good suggestions in there. Really like the flow based warm ups.