Fixing My Squat: The Knees

Okay, if you're just picking up here, we're unpacking how I transformed my squat over a period of about 5 years from something truly atrocious to something... better than that. I suggest you go back and first read about how I changed my elbow position and learned to brace.

Now, if you're a reader of elitefts, you know how many lifters advocate box squats – and, more generally, a "sit-back," posterior-chain-dominant style of squatting. But that doesn't work for me.

When I try to sit back in the squat, I'm forced to lean forward to maintain balance – too far forward for good leverage. Admittedly, if my hips could support the weight better, I would be able to really take a wide stance and stay more upright. But instead, I chose to double down on my strengths and moved towards a narrower stance with more forward knee displacement. That position emphasizes my naturally strong quads and also allows me to stay more upright and keep my hips closer to the bar.

It may also be why I get so much out of using knee wraps. Wraps effectively strengthen knee extension, and so wearing them benefits me more than a lifter who relies mainly on hip extension to complete a squat. In fact, my (completely unproven) generalized theory is that lifters with relatively strong knee extension will benefit less from wraps than will those with strong hip extension.

One last note: remember that I'm just using myself as an example here. I'm not saying you need to use more quad or push your knees forward more. The point is just to remember to be as open minded as possible when it comes to finding what techniques work for you.

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