My journey to Safe, Pain-Free Squat Technique

Squats are renowned as being an exercise you should do. Some go so far as insisting it’s the single best exercise there is. But if you’re not blessed with short femurs and a long torso, or simply don’t know how to do it, it can be an awkward movement that leads to constant pain and injury.

That was the case with me, squats always hurt my knees and back. Over the years I kept experimenting with technique and finally found a method that permitted a very deep squat with no knee or back pain. It can be distilled down to two things:

  • Rethinking the squat as a hip exercise as opposed to a leg one.
  • Consciously using my glutes to keep my hips open throughout the movement.
Squat Technique
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An Exploration of Back Pain Cures: What Worked & What Didn’t

Lumbar spine

There are few certainties in life. Proverbial wisdom counts death and taxes among them, but back pain should be on that list. Everyone seems to suffer it at some point, and it can be incredibly debilitating because our backs are involved in almost everything we do.

This article is an exploration of all the things I tried to heal back pain. What finally worked was completely rethinking how I use my back, and, surprisingly, heavy resistance training—specifically progressive range of motion squats and deadlifts.

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Bench Press for Chest Growth

It’s chest day, and that means it’s time to the bench press. You walk into the gym ready to produce so much power that you shift the planet’s orbit—there’ll be no choice for your stubborn chest but to grow.

But afterwards you hobble out, shoulder joints stinging, deltoids and triceps aching, and chest feeling annoyingly fresh. Not exactly what you had in mind, so what went wrong?

Bench press for chest growth: muscle anatomy drawing
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Lifting and Joint Health

If you lift weights you’ll eventually be forced to give some thought to joint health. Well, unless your name is Ronnie Coleman and you have bomb-proof joints. But even Ronnie Coleman succumbed to injuries and required corrective surgery. [Edit, boy did he ever. It emerged he had a number of surgeries well into the double figures.]

Thankfully for the rest of us, lifting and joint health aren’t mutually exclusive.

Old anatomy picture of knee joints
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