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Knee Injuries - prevention
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danger


Mar 3, 2011, 5:56 AM
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Knee Injuries - prevention
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(MOVED from techniques)
Today at the gym I was doing some pretty wild overhanging routes, and ended up doing some intense drop knees and felt some pain in my knee at the time.

Drop knees are part of climbing -- you can't really avoid them, but they seem to clearly stress knees as a search on the forum shows.

Is there any way to strengthen knees in the same way we can strengthen our shoulder's rotary cuff, like through some antagonist exercise so that they are more resistant to injury from intense climbing?


(This post was edited by danger on Mar 3, 2011, 6:01 AM)


danger


Mar 3, 2011, 6:00 AM
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Re: [danger] Knee Injuries - prevention [In reply to]
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michael1245 wrote:
do you go to a gym? ask a trainer about "negative squats". may, or may not be right for you...but, it's helped me quite a bit with buidling knee strength.

Will try that.

I wonder why people always mention antagonist training and warming up but never mention knees.


(This post was edited by danger on Mar 3, 2011, 6:02 AM)


onceahardman


Mar 3, 2011, 7:33 PM
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Re: [danger] Knee Injuries - prevention [In reply to]
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In reply to:
I wonder why people always mention antagonist training and warming up but never mention knees.

People do. In fact, there is undoubtedly more scientific literature regarding avoiding knee injuries than avoiding elbow and finger injuries (combined).

Lots of good stuff here:

http://sportsmetrics.net

Perhaps the problem is, too often, when one person asks about knee injuries, others chime in with strengthening ideas, like squats, hamstrings, plyometric box jumps, etc., and others argue back, saying there is no evidence that weight lifting will help your climbing, and all you need to ever do is read The Self-Coached Climber, and everything will be all better.

Not being injured will allow you to climb more. Climbing more, and smarter, will improve your climbing.

Resistance training and intelligent movement are not opposite ends of the same spectrum.


danger


Mar 3, 2011, 9:26 PM
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Re: [onceahardman] Knee Injuries - prevention [In reply to]
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Cool! that site seems to be on the right topic, but it seems like its mostly advertisements for info that you have to pay for.

Looks like I'll have to do my own research on this for now -- I've googled a bit but there isn't any climbing specific info i could find about knee injuries

I already do squats and deadlifts at the gym- they're great for building leg muscles and core stabilization, but not knee stabilization as far as i know.

One thing I know I'll try to start doing is single leg squats aka pistol squats where you go down on one leg.

I believe there may be some knee stabilization involved in this exercise since you are held up by only one leg. Pistol squats are actually mentioned in "Training for Climbing" since it mimics when you push out a high step, so either way it should be beneficial


aerili


Mar 5, 2011, 12:48 PM
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Re: [danger] Knee Injuries - prevention [In reply to]
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danger wrote:
I already do squats and deadlifts at the gym- they're great for building leg muscles and core stabilization, but not knee stabilization as far as i know.

Are you kidding me? In what way is your knee not stabilizing during a squat or deadlift?

I would argue that most one legged squats (such as pistol squats) actually increase glute activation and reduce quad activation because you have to lean forward a lot more in order to not fall on your ass.

The other thing is that hip abductor strength affects knee kinematics. So you would probably do well to be training the outside of your hips with exercises like clamshells and sideways walking with tube bands to help your knees "stabilize" better during knee flexion.


onceahardman wrote:
Perhaps the problem is, too often, when one person asks about knee injuries, others chime in with strengthening ideas, like squats, hamstrings, plyometric box jumps, etc., and others argue back, saying there is no evidence that weight lifting will help your climbing, and all you need to ever do is read The Self-Coached Climber, and everything will be all better.
Hilarious and soooo true! PiratePirate


danger


Mar 5, 2011, 2:29 PM
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Re: [aerili] Knee Injuries - prevention [In reply to]
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In reply to:
Are you kidding me? In what way is your knee not stabilizing during a squat or deadlift?

If you never did squats before it may help your knees, but i've done them for years so it doesn't make a difference either way.

When you do a squat you have 2 feet on the floor, and they're parallel so there is no significant sideways force on your knee. Your knees mainly just bend naturally as you go up and down, with most of the force from the weight going straight through your leg if you have good form.

In fact the entire point of good squat form is to lift as heavily as possible, safely, with the force of the weight going through your leg as safely and efficiently as possible. Definitely not sideways. You can check out http://exrx.net/...mus/BBFullSquat.html if you want to see the muscle activation

In reply to:
I would argue that most one legged squats (such as pistol squats) actually increase glute activation and reduce quad activation because you have to lean forward a lot more in order to not fall on your ass.

I don't think i was actually arguing with anybody, but since high steps are like pistol squats, that certainly explains why climber girls have great butts =D

Anyways, I just want to do it as a plyometric knee strengthening exercise. I'm not trying to pistol squat my way to monster quads.

On one leg there is no other foot to counterbalance, so your individual knee is forced to balance all 360 degrees. Check out all the stabilizer muscles involved:
http://www.exrx.net/...WSingleLegSquat.html

Oh and I'll look into the hip exercises. thanks!


(This post was edited by danger on Mar 5, 2011, 2:35 PM)


onceahardman


Mar 5, 2011, 6:00 PM
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From the website you linked to, these are the relevant muscles involved in the squat:

Target

Quadriceps
Synergists


Dynamic Stabilizers

Hamstrings
Gastrocnemius

These are the relevant muscles from the pistol squat:

Synergists

Quadriceps


Dynamic Stabilizers

Hamstrings
Gastrocnemius

By "relevant" I mean the muscles which cross the knee joint. For simplicity, I deleted the muscles which do not cross the knee joint.

In general, I suspect drop-knees (and any other dynamic, full weightbearing full knee flexion movement) spell trouble for the menisci, due to the shape of the femoral condyles. I'm not aware of an exercise regimen known to "toughen up" the meniscus.

Probably most people cannot do pistol squats. I know I can't! If you can, that's great, I'm jealous. Let us know how your training works for you.


EDIT: ps...any time you are bending the knee in closed kinetic chain (ie with the bottom of the foot on the ground), you will be co-contracting hams, quads, and gastrocs, and this is well-known from numerous EMG studies. When you co-contract things which cross the knee joint, you are increasing the stability of the knee.


(This post was edited by onceahardman on Mar 5, 2011, 6:04 PM)


aerili


Mar 6, 2011, 1:10 PM
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Re: [danger] Knee Injuries - prevention [In reply to]
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Okay, I realize that when I wrote my first two sentences, you took them to be real questions, but actually, they were rhetorical.


danger wrote:
If you never did squats before it may help your knees, but i've done them for years so it doesn't make a difference either way.
Not true.

Btw, I should let you know that biomechanics is my specialty. I am not an expert, but I have a lot more knowledge than the average person out there. Also, I've been a trainer for many years, so I very familiar with almost all weight room exercises.

I do know and have performed one legged squats. I do not believe they force your knee to stabilize harder against sideways forces. I would say they force your ANKLE and HIP to stabilize a bit harder, but not your knee.

You are incorrect that regular squatting does not place any lateral (side to side forces) on the knee. Many people have inside and outside movement of their knees while squatting. (This should not happen, but it can.) To be accurate, this is actually not really knee motion occurring anyway, but rather the whole upper leg moving from the HIP.

To follow up on that point, knees do not move in 360 degrees (per your comment). They are a hinge joint, regardless of whether you are double-leg squatting or single leg squatting. As I stated, inside and outside motion occurs for the femur at the hip. The knee is the end of the femur. Everyone's knee will have a slight degree of play from side to side, but it is very minimal....thus, the "hinge" joint classification.

Your pistol squats are NOT a plyometric exercise, either, just fyi.

I would also say that heavy double-leg squatting is more likely to build stability in the knee than single leg squatting because you can use more quad and less glute under higher loads.

As oahm said, there is no way to directly strengthen the MCL (that I know of, and if he doesn't know either, it's a pretty good bet). Your knee is not like your shoulder for a few reasons:

1) your shoulder is a ball and socket joint. Your knee is a hinge joint. This means:

a) your knee lacks a "cuff" of small stabilizing muscles which are surrounded by larger muscles that do "bigger" movements for the joint.

b) The knee's main stabilizers are the same large muscles that do the "big" motions for it.

Hinge joints do not require the same kind of stabilization that ball and socket joints do (like shoulder and hip). Hence why even double leg squatting can and DOES stabilize the knee.

My recommendation would be to do BOTH double leg and single leg squats and avoid doing a lot of drop-knees where extreme forces are put on that MCL.


(This post was edited by aerili on Mar 6, 2011, 1:12 PM)


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