How to avoid knee pain when squatting| Well+Good

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There are two types of people in the world: The ones who love squats (ahem: J. Lo), and the ones who would rather be forced to spend three days at Fyre Festival than suffer through a set of them. Regardless of which category you fall into (ICYWW, I am very much in the second), we can all agree that they are effective at blasting booties and building muscles, and will almost definitely pop up in your schedule no matter which type of workout you’re doing. Which raises the oh-so-important question: How can you avoid knee pain when squatting?

To understand how to avoid it, it’s important to figure out why exactly it happens to begin with, which is actually pretty simple.  “Knee pain stems from improper form,” says Karl Smith, Director of Residential Well Living at Cortland, DHEd, noting that doing the move properly is the number one way to ensure you don’t hurt yourself in pursuit of a more perfect umm peach.  “When looking at form, make sure your feet are flat on the ground. Then, when you start the move, engage your glutes immediately by pushing them back and hinging from your hips allowing your body to go down in a smooth motion.”

The problem is compounded, however, by certain muscle groups not being strong enough to carry out the motion. “A lot of the times it’s not that people don’t know how to squat. They understand the concept of it, but they they just don’t have the neuromuscular strength, explains Aaptiv trainer Michael Septh. “They don’t know how to access the muscles that should be doing the work to make the squat happen.”

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