One of the toughest things to accomplish in training is perfecting your technique on an exercise that doesn’t come naturally. I had a pretty awesome video call with a client this week working on squat technique. We had one of those epiphany moments where everything came together.
In her movement assessment I noticed she had flat feet and knee valgus. Knee valgus sounds more intense than it really is… It just means that the knees collapse in toward each other. It’s very common. Flat feet are pretty self explanatory. It’s also super common to see flat feet in combination with knee valgus.
We started her training program with a lot of stretches for her tight muscles and strength exercises for her underactive muscles. We also did a lot of practice pulling the knees out and practice forming the arches in the feet.
After about a month of this, she made a comment that perfectly encapsulates what changing your technique feels like. She said, “When I pull my knees out a little bit it feels okay, but when I really pull my knees apart it feels weird.”
I said, “Perfect! It should feel weird!” It should feel weird because we’re trying to change the way her body naturally wants to move. Changing what feels natural will, by definition, feel weird. Furthermore, when I watched her try the squat, her knees were actually perfectly aligned. It only felt like she was “really pulling (her) knees apart” because she’s used to the feeling of her knees collapsing inward.
She went on to say, “It feels like the middle of my foot lifts off the ground and I feel the muscles that run along the bottom of my foot working really hard.”
She described exactly what it feels like to form arches in your feet! It’s a strange feeling if you’re used to moving with flat feet in your daily life.
It takes a ton of practice, discipline, and body awareness to make a change like this, but it is SOOOO worth it because she’ll be able to stay injury free with 10x the intensity she could have handled without the change. Good technique safely allows for more intensity, which leads to faster and better results!
For those that are interested in seeing it, here is a quick video demonstration of how to do a squat: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6tcQJO5pupE