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I discovered this little muscle at the end of last week and it has helped in so many ways.
If you have trouble keeping your big toes on the ground, purposefully engaging the popliteus may help. I’ve always struggled with this, and now I can do barefoot squats without lifting my heel or big toe. Granted I could do this before when I had some weight on my back, but it was sometimes tough when I was just using my body weight.
My understanding is that this muscle internally rotates your tibia when you begin the descent of a squat. Which helps keep that big toe on the ground and helps me engage my inner thigh muscles. It helps to think about it when squatting, but also in everyday activities like going up stairs, running, or doing plyo work. Even when you’re already in a bent position with a load, as long as you start with your toes pointed forward, the popliteus will stabilize the tibia and helps keep it from rotating outwards which I feel influences valgus faults and arch collapse.
The reason I bring it up – I’ve watched tons of Kelly’s video’s, but I can’t remember a single one where he’s mentioned this little guy. And for the amount of improvement, stability, and performance enhancement that it’s had I figured it was worth mentioning.
This muscle also seems to enforce the “torque mentality”. This guys rotates the tibia internally while you’re focusing on pushing your knees out and rotating the femur externally. Your hamstrings are pulling back and your quads help rotate up. All kinds of forces in so many directions! But when you visualize it from the third person, you can really see the torque in action and see exactly how the body should be moving mechanically.
Anyways, let me know if the combination of pushing your knees out and rotating your tibia in (through the use of the poplitues) helped out at all. I’m interested in seeing who else benefits from this.
Has anyone found a video featuring info on popliteus? I’ve got big issues with mine currently and would love a video with some Kelly input on this