Try these 4 different types of squats to keep your knees healthy and strong.

Runners are notorious for not listening to their bodies. Last year I was two months away from the New York City Marathon when I learned that I’d developed patellofemoral pain syndrome—also known as the dreaded runner’s knee. A mixture of poor form (think over-stride and heel strike), weak hips, lack of strength training and overuse (turns out you can actually run too much!) all led to my knee screaming for help. Luckily I found Finish Line Physical Therapy, where I met my Physical Therapist Mike Riccardi. He helped me run a pain-free marathon and made me an advocate of “pre-hab” over “rehab”.  

The fastest way to obtain a running injury is to neglect your cross-training and strength exercises. Looking for a great exercise to prevent runner’s knee? Make squats your new BAE! Don’t forget to try different types of squats with varying foot positions! According to Mike, by varying your positions “It forces you to use your muscles slightly different each time, which trains them more effectively and thoroughly.”

Here are four of my favorite squat variations to incorporate into your strength training.

Neutral Squats

neutral squat

Step 1: Stand comfortably with your feet shoulder width apart.
Step 2: Start the motion by sending both your hips and butt down and back.
Step 3: Keep your weight on heels.
Step 4: Make sure your chest stays up with your head facing forward.

Wide Squats

wide turn out squat

Step 1: Stand comfortably with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart; toes turned out.
Step 2: Start the motion by sending both your hips and butt down and back.
Step 3: Keep your weight on heels.
Step 4: Make sure your chest stays up with your head facing forward.

Staggered Squats

staggered squats

Step 1: Stand comfortably with shoulder width apart. Then take one small step forward.
Step 2: Keep your heels planted and start the motion by sending your hips and butt back and down.
Step 3: Keep your weight on heels.
Step 4: Make sure your chest stays up with your head facing forward.
Step 5: After you’ve completed your target number of reps, switch feet.
(I’m really good at this one…as you can probably tell.)

Narrow Squats

narrow squats

Step 1: Stand comfortably with your feet slightly apart.
Step 2: Start the motion by sending your hips and butt back and down.
Step 3: Keep your weight on heels.
Step 4: Try to keep your knees separated throughout the squat.
Step 5: Make sure your chest stays up and with head facing forward.

Do 2-3 sets of 10 reps each. Don’t forget that you should be cross training and strength training 2 to 3 times per week! Happy squatting! Until next time, #RunSelfieRepeat.

dance party squat

 

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