Workout of the Day:
(Optional Finisher – Complete 100 Overhead Squats with 75/45 lbs. in as few sets as possible.)
The Pronated Squat – So Ugly, So Dysfunctional
Written by C.J. Martin
Pronating (rolling to the arch of your foot) while squatting is an ugly beast. On the descent (or sometimes only on the ascent from the bottom) we see the knees cave in toward each other and the weight roll to the arch of the foot. Any hope of proper hip, knee and ankle alignment is gone. The result is an increased likelihood of knee injury and drastically decreased ability to generate power.
The pronated squat (or valgus squat – meaning that the knee drops inside the base of the foot) is symptomatic of a lack of hip and pelvic control. Muscle imbalances (too much quad and too little glute) and poor activation of the glute medius is typically to blame. Repeatedly grooving this nasty and deficient pattern can set you up for all sorts of maladies. When the knees cave in, pressure is shifted to the medial aspect of the knee (the inside of your knee) and all the precious ligaments that keep your knee from buckling in. Those cues you hear, “push your knees out” or “press into the outside edges of your feet,” are designed to ensure that everything stays nicely aligned in an optimal position.
But it’s not just the potential for injury that should scare you into assessing your squat. The bigger issue is efficiency. A proper squat is one that recruits the most powerful hip extensors (the glute max and hamstrings). But these monsters are virtually shut down when your knees cave together. Don’t believe me? Stand up from your computer right now, roll to the arch of your foot and draw your knees together and try to contract your glutes (i.e., squeeze your cheeks). It’s not easy. Now push your knees away from each other and roll to the outside ridge of your foot and squeeze your cheeks. It’s like magic. Those big powerful caboose muscles are what we want to power us through the squat, and they simply don’t work when the knees are rolling together and the feet are pronating.