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Not all Knee Cave is Created Equal

Today I want to talk about knee cave with squatting. So a lot of the times knee caving when squatting gets a bad rap. And what I mean by knee cave is that when we squat, our knees are inside our toes. When really, we want them to be tracking right over our toes.

So a lot of people say to always keep your knees out wide over your toes. And that any kind of knees-inside-toes angle is bad for you. When in fact, that’s not always true. We just need to look at why the knee cave is happening to determine if it’s okay or not okay.

When the cave is acceptable

You can let it be when it is coming from the adducting groups, so the inside of your thighs. Your adductor muscles are responsible for 50% of the hip extension out of the bottom of a squat. So what I mean by that is when you get your hips below parallel, in a squat, your adductor muscles are doing 50% of work to get you out of that position. What that will look like when your knees go inside your toes because of your adductor group is: when you go all the way down and to get out of the hole, there’s a little bit of that knee drive in. It is then corrected as soon as you get out of the hole. We call this the abductor whip. And that’s that’s okay, I don’t correct in or out of the adductor whip.

When knee cave is not as acceptable
  • When it’s maybe un-corrected out of that abductor whip. So I squat, I did an adductor whip, but then as I keep going, I don’t correct those knees and they stay caved in.
  • Another one is if it’s maybe unilateral. So maybe I only have one knee, that caves in. That might be a glute control issue or a hip range of motion issue. But again, one sided, can cause unwanted straining through the knee or even a shift to the opposite side. We want to work on that and correct that.
  • And then the other one is maybe a knee cave on the way down. So right off the get-go my knees are kind of tracking inside my toes. Again, this can put excessive strain on unwanted tissues.

So those are some instances in which I would try to get people out of that knee cave habit. But again, just keep in mind that not all knee cave is created equal and not all knee cave is bad. It just matters where that knee cave is coming from.

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