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-   -   Knee/form question regarding pistols, front squats and back squats. (http://board.crossfit.com/showthread.php?t=51825)

Kelly Hewitt 10-05-2009 11:04 AM

Knee/form question regarding pistols, front squats and back squats.
 
When I do anything below 90 degrees with a lot of weight, anything that requires seriously pushing my quad's strength limits, my left leg kind of pigeons inward on the way up. I can't get the weight up without doing this, it's 'natural' in that I didn't even really notice I was doing it until the other day and it's not conscious. On the pistols it happens even unweighted, but I have only done pistols once and couldn't even get one weighted one done, so pushing the strength limit still applies.
Anyway, today I did the run/pistol/sit up workout and I have to walk a mile and a half after my workouts on Mondays. After the walk the inside of my knee feels stiff/sore.
Any ideas on strengthening/PT exercises or something I can do to fix whatever's going on as far as the knee pigeoning in?
Thanks a lot in advance,
Kelly

Richard Paul Ham-Williams 10-09-2009 06:04 AM

Re: Knee/form question regarding pistols, front squats and back squats.
 
Practice negative only pistols/high steps with the main focus being on keeping your alignment spot on.

Force yourself to keep alignment with a little lighter weight.

Steven Low 10-09-2009 08:52 AM

Re: Knee/form question regarding pistols, front squats and back squats.
 
Don't do pistols. It's hard to control that because it's relatively higher strength move for most people.

Here's what you need to do:

1. Stretch out your calves thoroughly EVERYDAY. In a lot of cases, especially women with greater Q angle there is a tendency for the knee to track in as teh calves get tight because of loss of ROM, and it feels more stable.

2. SIT BACK in your squats. You are squatting with improper form. Coupled with 1 this is highly problematic because of the correlation of quad dominance and inward tracking knees in female athletes tends to give rise to the like 9 fold increase IIRC in ACL tears.

3. Work with unweighted squats, and progress to light loaded. If you can buy Starting STrength or use the resources here to learn the cues to squat correctly. Focus on form, not weight. Coming out of the hole you should be focusing on spreading the floor with your legs.

4. Stretch your quads out thoroughly, do strengthening work for your hamstrings.. glute ham raises are good. Anything of that nature. Need to get posterior chain strength up. The stronger your hammies are, the less strain is going to be placed on your ACLs if you're doing something unstable or tough.

5. Depending on how good your mobility is in your hips you may need to do specific stretches for that as well.

Sigh, I have an article in the works on a bunch of lower body dysfunctions that tend to stem from this but I don't have the time to write it currently. ANyway, this is a series problem especially if it has been going on a while so you shoudl address it immediately. Otherwise you are on the road to something devastating like an ACL tear (also, I was assuming you're a women with the name Kelly.. though there are men with the name too soooo if you're not my bad).

Ben Moskowitz 10-09-2009 09:18 AM

Re: Knee/form question regarding pistols, front squats and back squats.
 
First, I agree with everything Steven said. If you do want to build up to the pistols directly, you might also consider the following posts/articles:

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steve Maxwell
January 05 2006

In almost every case that I have seen, knee pain while performing pistols is caused by mis-alignment of the knee, foot and hip. This is caused by several factors; inflexibility (achilles, groin, hip flexors, hamstrings) and a simple lack of strength in the involved muscle structures. In almost every case, the problems were solved by teaching the person to hold the bottom position of the pistol for extended periods of time (over a minute) while maintaining proper alignment. Proper alignment includes, heel flat and engaged, middle of the knee cap lined up over the index toe and the head forward over the knee. Hold onto a pole or rail for time while keeping perfect alignment. Keep increasing the timed holds and slowly wean yourself off of using your hands for balance. When you can hold the bottom without using the hands for a minute, you will be able to do 3 to 5 pain free pistols. Remember, it must be perfect alignment. Steve Maxwell

and

Pistol Power: Mastering the One-Legged Squat
by Steve Cotter (WFS)

The above article includes a troubleshooting section that deals with inflexibility, knee instability, etc.

Pistols are also discussed here by Jim Bathurst. (WFS)

Still, nothing builds the requisite strength like the two-legged squat. If this is a bit of info overload, I would just stick with Steven's advice.

Blair Robert Lowe 10-10-2009 09:04 PM

Re: Knee/form question regarding pistols, front squats and back squats.
 
Hmm, when I first learned the pistol it was before any BB squatting at all. We did do a lot of lunges or hindu squats or hindu squat front kick while standing up besides squat stance. Bare in mind, I had been doing duckwalks since I was young (lots of them for misbehaving in judo :D).

Pistols came pretty fast.

Kelly Hewitt 10-12-2009 11:56 AM

Re: Knee/form question regarding pistols, front squats and back squats.
 
Hey, thanks for all the replies. I don't have internet at home so just getting back on here.

Steven,
I am female and I was wondering if this was going to come into play. I used to wrestle in high school and some in college and heard a lot from the female basketball players about ACL tears and dominant quad strength in women. Will crossfit alone not balance this out for me if I drop load amounts and focus on form? Or should I do like you mentioned and maybe put in some extra hamstring work (we all want bigger, more shapely hamstrings anyway, but who has the time/energy?)? Is a weak 'posterior chain' (as you called it) potentially why my deadlift is so horrible (besides not having proper form coaching)? What is a "Q angle"? Thanks in advance.

Ben,
Thanks for the links, I'll check them out tonight later. Holding the bottom position does seem like it would help with both flexibility and balance.

Blair Robert Lowe 10-12-2009 12:23 PM

Re: Knee/form question regarding pistols, front squats and back squats.
 
Google "q"-angle but basically it's the angle in the leg between the female hips and knee.

Your DL could be weak for a lot of reasons, one of them being a weak posterior chain (glutes and hams). It also could be your midline or your shoulders are all 3. Where do you feel it when you heavy DL?

You can do extra glute and hamstring work post WOD if they were not really worked in the WOD by the movements of the WOD.

Kelly Hewitt 10-12-2009 12:40 PM

Re: Knee/form question regarding pistols, front squats and back squats.
 
Blair,
I don't actually feel anything on heavy deads. I used to have lower back pain afterwards but now I've got my back flattened out and it's gone away. But I actually just feel at one point I can get the weight up (185) and then suddenly the next one I can't, but I don't feel an inability in one part of my body and I don't feel sore at all the next day ever after deads. Is that maybe then a mental block? I can squat more than I can dead lift, but I'm also new to dead lifts, is that normal? Thanks.

Steven Low 10-12-2009 06:10 PM

Re: Knee/form question regarding pistols, front squats and back squats.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Kelly Hewitt (Post 678691)
Hey, thanks for all the replies. I don't have internet at home so just getting back on here.

Steven,
I am female and I was wondering if this was going to come into play. I used to wrestle in high school and some in college and heard a lot from the female basketball players about ACL tears and dominant quad strength in women. Yep...

Will crossfit alone not balance this out for me if I drop load amounts and focus on form? Yes, focus sitting back on heels in any of the lower body lifts.

Or should I do like you mentioned and maybe put in some extra hamstring work (we all want bigger, more shapely hamstrings anyway, but who has the time/energy?)? Can't hurt to work glute ham raises or weighted glute bridges

Is a weak 'posterior chain' (as you called it) potentially why my deadlift is so horrible (besides not having proper form coaching)? Yes.

What is a "Q angle"? Angle made with ASIS, patella and tibial tuberosity -- larger in women b/c of wider pelvis

Thanks in advance.

Ben,
Thanks for the links, I'll check them out tonight later. Holding the bottom position does seem like it would help with both flexibility and balance.

Wouldn't really recommend any specific pistols work.

Blair Robert Lowe 10-12-2009 08:24 PM

Re: Knee/form question regarding pistols, front squats and back squats.
 
If you haven't worked the deadlift, especially heavy deadlifts (1-5rm) a lot, you just may not be very efficient at pulling motor units to work. Which means you should work it more, pretty much. How much more is a different question.


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