Today’s “Morning Motivation” comes once again from fitness trainer and raw food enthusiast Koya Webb. This morning we are going to feature squats. Body weight squats are an essential element to a leg workout, but sometimes squats are done in a manner that is damaging to one’s knees and ankles, which makes squatting tedious and painful.

The truth is that squats is synonymous with pain. But there is big difference between pain and injury.  Protecting you knees with knowledge when squatting alleviates any extra pain that will undoubtedly occur after performing your sets. Seven different types of tissue comprise the knee – bones, ligaments, tendons, muscles, synovial fluid (bursa), adipose tissue, and articular cartilage. You must protect them all!

Once any of these tissues go, it’s difficult to continue to workout, and a doctor’s visit is on the horizon. So, why not learn proper technique now, so just in case President’s Obama health care law is ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, you’ll won’t need to take advantage of its benefits.

The first problem many people have is that when they squat their feet have a tendency to pronate, or “cave in,” towards the inner side. When this happens, the knees are also forced inward, leading to a constant strain on the medial collateral ligaments, excessive shear force on the meniscus, and improper patellar tracking, which in turn can lead to chondromalacia.

If your feet tend to pronate anyway, or if you’re prone to being “knock kneed” (and these two conditions are very often associated with one another), it’s imperative for you to practice with your own body weight how to squat properly.

Whenever you squat, hack squat, or leg press, your foot position is an important variable in determining not only the results you’ll obtain from the exercise, but also the safety of your knee joints.

The quadriceps muscles can contract more efficiently when the feet are pointing slightly outward. They should NEVER point straight ahead. If you squat with a very wide stance, your adductors tend to assist the quads. This can result in stress to the medial collateral ligament, abnormal cartilage loading, and improper patellar tracking.

My number one issue with novice squatters is their inclination to let their knees extend over their feet. The further your knees travel over your feet, the greater the shearing forces on the patellar tendon and ligament.

Now let Koya show you how to properly squat:

Squatting is a great way to strengthen your quads and should be a staple to everyone’s leg workout. Remember, always warm up and stretch before performing any exercise, and if you have never had a consistent workout regimen, consult a physician first, so you can know if you’re healthy enough to engage in strength training.

Hopefully this video and my tips motivate you to get your leg workout done on a Monday instead on Friday when working your legs seems like torture.

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