I hear a lot of patients mention that “they haven’t done a squat in years” or “squats are terrible for knees”, along with many other fears and negativities associated to a squat.
In reality, the squat is a functional movement pattern that humans have performed since being toddlers. As we grow older, the squat is required to perform functional tasks like lifting from the floor. Unfortunately, this movement is often done incorrectly due to form and alignment, along with decreased motor control and strength to support it.
The squat is a full body movement pattern. It requires movement in the ankles, knees, hips and trunk (includes arms and shoulders too when weight is added) in order to adequately perform. Whether there is restriction in any of these joints or weakness in the lower extremities and/or core, there will often be an abnormal stress placed somewhere along the biomechanical chain. This is the cause of pain and injury.
Many aches and pains associated with squatting can be fixed by a correction in alignment. Some key components include:
- Keeping spine in neutral and avoiding excessive lordosis or flattening
- Dropping hips behind the knees in order to target the glutes rather than overstress the knees
- Make sure ankles have enough mobility so that weight is not going into the toes. Weight should be distributed through the heels
The squat is a great exercise for strength and power. It can be used as a sport-specific gain or even a functional exercise for ease of getting up from a chair. It can also be very beneficial to add to a workout routine for weight loss and toning.
For those that want more information or an assessment, PhysioFocus is hosting a free squat clinic on August 14th from 5-6 pm. This is a great opportunity to learn the proper mechanics, mobility and motor control in order to perform in a pain-free manner! Professionals with provide individualized feedback to help each person perform with ease. Call the clinic for more information at (980) 224-7958.