Saturday, September 10, 2011

"Adding" to your squat

     Good day people! It's another beautiful day in the middle east.... Ok, so it's like 120 degrees outside, but still. Anyway, it's time to give some form to the Rambles. A week or so I wrote a piece about proper depth squatting. Libbie asked the question, "wouldn't strong adductors cause your knees to come in?" Well, I've done my due diligence and i think I have an answer for you... let's check it out!

     So, one of the biggest parts of your adductor strength goes to your Adductor Magnus. It's a big ol' fan shaped muscles attached on your inner thigh (pictured below). This is one of the main pieces when we talk about adductor strength in squatting. The other pieces comprise of the Adductor Brevis, Adductor Longus and the Gracilis.  So let's get a little more in depth.

The big weight mover... Adductor Magnus

     As we perform a squat we go through moving eccentrically (down, or muscle lengthening) and then concentrically (up, or muscle shortening). So, as we descend the Adductors "should" be stretching under load and contracting as we ascend. Now, if our Adductors are strong that's exactly what will happen.

     If we have weak adductors, your knees will cave in at the bottom of the squat. That means they are not strong enough to be stretched under that load and contract before ever making upward movement. If they are strong they will remain stretched and aid in the concentric portion and shorten as we rise... did I lose anyone?

     What's the fix to this? Well, they are options with machines and cables, but it's not something we routinely find in a Box, unless you WOD at a Globo-Gym. So, an easy option to strengthen our adductors is wide stance and deep squats (like the gentleman pictured below).

     I hope that I answer this question, and didn't make things more confusing. Again, the take away is that a weak set of adductors are the reason our knees cave in. Post any thoughts or additional questions to the comments. So there you have it: knees out, squat more... and do burpees!

3,2,1 GO!

Yesterday's Training:

Clean Pulls (weight x sets x reps)
135 x 1 x 5
185 x 2 x 3
205 x 3 x 2
235 x 4 x 1

Sumo Box Squats
135 x 1 x 5
185 x 2 x 3
225 x 3 x 2
265 x 3 x 1

Accessory Work:
Dips 4 x 5
Glute Ham Raises 2 x 15
Overhead Walking Lunges 45 x 2 x 10 each leg
Weighted Situps 100 x 3 x 12

Day 149 Burpee Challenge / 11053 Burpees Completed
Tomorrow is the day... 150 for time!



  1. Is there such thing as applying too much outward pressure with your adductor when you are squatting?

  2. Well put, Frosh! Great reasearch! Andrew, just to add to what we were talking about in terms of outer knee pain when squatting. I had the same thing happen after a month is squatting every 4 days with my toes straight. I sent my toes out laterally a little and spent painful minutes foam rolling IT Band area, and the pain has went away. Very frustrating period of time dealing with that knee hick-up.

  3. Thanks Libbie. This type of research helps me as muuch as it helps you.

    Andrew, yes there could be such though. Specifically when your knee is far outside of your toes. Just like when your knees cave in this will cause rotation of your knee and could lead in injury. Best possible outcome is to stack your knees over your feet while hitting proper depth.

    I hope this helps!

  4. Libbie, here's a great article from Greg Everett about the toes out approach. He specifically speaks about K-Starr's toes straight approach. But at the end (and very important) he says that you need to do what works for you.