#348–If squatting makes your knees hurt, I’d say you’re squatting incorrectly. And there’s a rule in rehab: if you can’t, you must. You actually squat everyday in real life. That is, unless you never have a bowel movement; or you stand at work, to eat, to drive a car, etc. So if you cannot squat safely in the uniform environment of a gym (or where ever you strength train), what do you think happens when you try to function in the “real” world?
Think about what how you get in a car. You squat, laterally shift your weights so that you’re supported outside your center of balance by primarily one leg, and then lower yourself into the driver’s seat. That’s a lot more complex than a simple squat in the gym! If you don’t want your knees to explode, you must develop the basic movement first. How? By descending the squat pattern (i.e. making it easier) to whatever level necessary so that you can do it pain/symptom free.
An example of a descent for someone with severe movement deficits with the squat pattern would be to use a physio ball to learn the movement. Standing with the back to a wall and a physio ball placed in the small of the back, the person bends the knees to lower the glutes toward the floor as far as possible without pain. They then return to the start position, building strength/function in a shortened ranges of motion until proficiency with the full movement is obtained. Reliance on the ball or other supports is eventually stopped once the baseline squat is mastered.