Many people are plagued with knee pain and pain at just about every joint in their body. There are  many medical reasons for this, but if you are feeling pain at the knees after starting a workout regime, poor technique in your lifts could be the culprit. 

Working in a gym as a personal trainer, I see poor technique in lifts almost everyday. The technique flaws that I see are so small, normal people without a coaching eye would never notice.  The most common flaw that I see occurs at the ankle when people do a variation of the squat. 

It is a very subtle technique flaw, the arch of the ankle collapses inwards causing internal rotation of the shin and puts the knee in a compromised position when lifting. Internal rotation simply means your shin moves inwards and towards the middle of the body. This rotation of the shin when lifting can likely be the cause of knee and hip pain. The human body is an all encompassed and connected system. What happens at one end of the body can effect things further upstream. 

How Can I Fix This?

The solution to this issue is to imagine your foot as a tripod. Keep an even distribution of weight on the three contact points at the bottom of your foot. The heel, big toe, and lateral side of the foot will be where you feel your weight distributed. Keeping an even weight distribution, imagine you are standing on a carpet and push the feet down and outwards to ‘tear the carpet apart’. This will create an outward corkscrew motion, but keep your feet in place. 

Doing this motion will engage your hips to turn outwards creating external rotation. This is the opposite of internal rotation which is what we do not want in the squat.


What it Should Look Like?

When this is done properly your feet will not collapse inwards when you perform a proper and safe squat. This will save the integrity of your knees and hips giving you a more efficient squat. 


Try This:

The next time that you are in the gym lifting, watch yourself in the mirror performing the squat.  Stand face to face at the mirror to get a good view of the ankle and shins. Keep careful attention to the ankles. Are they collapsing inwards as you descend in the squat? If they are, try the tripod method and ‘rip the carpet apart’ as you descend into the squat on the next set. Observe, lift, analyze and repeat. 


A Third Eye:

If you are still confused on what your ankles should look like, schedule a free one on one assessment so that a professional personal trainer can take a look and give you in-depth advice on how the mechanics of your lifts are looking.

Warren Bartlett. NSCA CSCS.

Personal trainer at Fit Focus Laconia