Where does the knee go…where it has to!


This is not a new debate. When I first started weight training in 1963 the big debate was on full squats. Were they safe? As you know in a full squat the knee goes out over the toe. Even at that time it did not make sense to me to limit where the knee should go. Remember a full squat is breaking parallel. Even at that time as high school student when I did what was taught as “strict” technique my back hurt after squatting. We were told to do quarter squats, half squats and even bench squats (the pre cursor to back squats) None of them felt natural. The full squat felt right. This may have been the first time when I began to suspect that the experts did not know everything. Around 1965 or 1966 I got a hold of a book written by a man named John Jesse. He was a pioneer in training. He was essentially a physical therapist who had a real extensive sports background. In this book, unfortunately I cannot remember the title; he cited a study done at the University of Texas in the 1950’s where they looked at over a thousand baseball catchers. As you know catchers squat full and deep and the knee goes way out over the toe. They found no unusual knee problems in that population. There was also a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research published some time in the last 18 months that looked at the result of restricting forward knee movement in squatting. (Sorry I do not have the exact reference at my finger tips) In essence it said that restricting forward movement of the knee puts more stress on the low back. Remember the body is a link system, it we restrict movement in one part another part must make up for that movement.
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Vern Gambetta

Vern Gambetta

Director at Gambetta Sports Training Systems
Vern is the Director of Gambetta Sports Training Systems. He has been the a conditioning coach for several MLS teams as well as the conditioning consultant to the US Men's World Cup Soccer team. Vern is the former Director of Conditioning for the Chicago White Sox and New York Mets. He has lectured and conducted clinics in Canada, Japan, Australia and Europe and has authored six books and over one hundred articles related to coaching and sport performance in a variety of sports. He has a BA in teaching with a coaching minor and an MA in Education with an emphasis in physical education from Stanford University.
Vern Gambetta


Athletic Development Coach & Consultant. Founder of GAIN Network. Proud dad. Love to read everything.
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Vern Gambetta

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