Here’s a Quick Fix For Cranky Knees

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As I write this I am sitting in Logan Airport (Boston) waiting for my flight to Chicago. I’ll be putting on a staff “in-service” for a group of Equinox trainers on Friday and then my wife (Dr. Lisa Lewis) and I are putting on  our Strong Body-Strong Mind Workshop on Sunday.

Our little guy, Julian, is tagging along on this trip so I suspect a #popupjulian cameo this weekend.

Or two.1

Anyway, I got to the airport a bit early this morning and figured, “hey, I have some time to write something.”

I’ll just leave this here…

Quick-n-Dirty Knee “Fix”

I am not a wizard.


But this “trick” I’m about to show you has worked wonders – as in instant relief – for various clients of mine who have complained of cranky knees.

A few brief notes:

1. I receive no affiliate income or kick-back (other than unlimited hugs) from ACUMobility for recommending their product(s).

2. It’s unfortunate many health/fitness professionals fail to look BELOW the knee with regards to knee health and function. The knee joint is pretty stupid and it often at the mercy of either the hip or ankle. By all means I’d be remiss not to encourage practitioners (which isn’t my role as a lowly strength coach) to assess the knee to see if there’s any nefarious nonsense happening there.

However, in my own experience, when trying to dig a bit deeper as to WHY someone’s knee may be bothering them (outside of the actual knee itself), the lower leg gets the shaft.

3. One component is looking to see if the individual can actually rotate their tibia (lower leg bone) in relation to the femur. Many patellar tracking issues, for example, can be attributed to a lack of tibial rotation…

…AND NOT A WEAK VMO, for the love of god.2

In terms of a list of what affects patellar tracking  the most it would likely look like this:

1. Lack of ability to rotate tibia.

2. ITB/adductor “tightness.



5. Lower leg (calf) griminess (see below).

18. Brexit.

19, Kitty cuddles.




412. Weak VMO

The tibial rotation thing is something I do want to address and is something I may write about soon. In the meantime, if you just can’t wait that long, Dean Somerset and I cover it in the (Even More) Complete Shoulder & Hip Blueprint.

However, with regards to some “general” knee pain I’ll typically start with a technique audit on exercises such as squats, deadlifts, and lunges, and then make some modifications in terms of volume/load and which variation of those exercises someone performs.

After that I’ll try to address tissue quality…particularly in the calves; an often neglected area.

The gastronemius (or gastroc for those of us who are lazy) is a bi-articular muscle that crosses both the ankle AND knee joint.

It’s a nasty area that, for lack of a better term can “get nasty as fuck.”

I often find if I have someone work on their tissue quality in that area that they’ll find immediate relief in their knee(s).

It’s not fun, but it works:

Did what you just read make your day? Ruin it? Either way, you should share it with your friends and/or comment below.

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Plus, get a copy of Tony’s Pick Things Up, a quick-tip guide to everything deadlift-related. See his butt? Yeah. It’s good. You should probably listen to him if you have any hope of getting a butt that good.

I don’t share email information. Ever. Because I’m not a jerk.
  1. Or three.

  2. I mean, if you think patellofemoral pain is caused by a weak VMO on the inner quad, think again, seeing as how the fibers line up to pull in a direction that can pretty much have no impact on patellar tracking whatsoever. Kudos to Dean Somerset for that mic drop.

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