Squat mechanics are assessed in all major movement screens for good reason. It is a multi-joint movement that most people perform on a very regular basis. You squat down to your driver seat, to the toilet seat, to the chair at your desk, to the couch, and you repeat it, constantly. But, for some reason, patients come in and tell me their doctor tells them not to squat. And these aren’t patients that would be squatting with a 300 pound bar on their back as a power lifter. These are average folks that just need to get through their day without pain. Instead of telling you what you can’t do, doctors (PTs, OTs, DCs, etc.) should be teaching you how you to do the tasks you need to do, properly.
How to Squat:
Squatting is a motion that begins with the hips and the knees just follow along. To practice, grab a chair or box that you can sit on that leaves your hips parallel to the ground. Stand tall with the back of your legs close to the seat, feet slightly wider then hip width apart, and feet mostly straight. Poke your butt back like you are trying to tap someone behind you with your tush. Keep reaching your butt back and slowly sit all the way to the chair. How did you feel? I hope great!
Now, reverse that and stand up. Heels and toes should of stayed firmly planted in the ground. As you sit and stand think about separating the floor with the outside of your feet. Consider practicing barefoot to feel the ground better. Exercising barefoot or in flat shoes will increase the benefits of the exercise by improving proprioception and working through more ankle range of motion.
Consider adding the following squat variation to your program and always consider squatting fully to box or bench that leaves you at parallel to the floor:
- Goblet squat with KB or DB
- Goblet squat with cable
- Squat with DB on shoulders
- Saftey bar