It's true that knee instability is more common in women, and the knee varus - inappropriate knee movement toward the midline - is what you'll most likely see. Part of this has to do with the 'q angle', or the fact that the femur tends to angle inward more due to larger relative hip width.
However, I think more of it has to do with the fact that women tend to have less muscle mass and strength developed in the lower body. The solution to instability is not accepting permanent movement limitations, but developing strength and stability. Hence, those with instability and general poor movement mechanics are the ones who need to squat the most... and lunge.
Squatting and lunging in free space are the most basic practical movements required of the lower limbs in life and recreation. In the absence of pathology, anyone who wants to be able-bodied would do well to develop strength and stability in these movements. Training them properly means, by definition, always doing the moves with proper body mechanics, at an appropriate intensity level, and then working up.
At a minimum, I think people should routinely do these exercises with their body weight. In my view, anyone who expects athletic performance from their lower limbs should routinely train these moves with additional weight - the benefits include stronger bones, joints, muscles, injury resistance, and mobility/function into old age. Stretching or any of the warmups routinely done at the beginning of Aikido classes are of marginal significance to long term knee health at best, whereas development of basic strength, stability, and sound movement habits are essential.
Last edited by Kevin Wilbanks : 05-23-2003 at 03:38 PM.