Squats are one of the most fundamental functional movements in our lives. We are designed to squat; we’ve been doing it since we were babies. However, as we get older and sit in more unnatural positions all day, our squat form can be altered.
The squat is a dynamic strength training exercise that requires several muscles in your upper and lower body to work together to produce both a downward and upward phase. In addition, control of breathing, bracing and trunk activation are vital when progressing this movement.
Start and Finish Position
Keep the head looking forward
Maintain a normal curve in the lower back throughout
Keep chest up, shoulders back
Aim to keep feet flat on the floor, approximately shoulder width apart, turned slightly outwards, roughly in the 10 & 2 o’clock position
(foot placement can be individual to allow for postural differences)
Your weight should be felt over the mid foot, so ideally not shifting back onto your heels or rolling onto the balls of your feet.
Take a deep breathe in, when advanced, we’d like to see this held for the entire movement, releasing the breath at the top of the squat
Flex (bend) at the hips and knees simultaneously
Try and keep trunk upright throughout the movement, stopping the decent if you begin to tip too far forward/lose balance/or find yourself using your upper body for more range of motion
Knees should travel in the same direction as the toes following in line with their placement
As you travel down body weight will be shifted towards the heels
The downwards phase should be completed with control before progressing
The Bottom Position
The typical ‘gold standard’ movement is for the hip to pass below the centre of the knee joint.
However, true movement is the desired outcome here, so do not jeopardise good movement for full range of motion if you do not have it. It will come!
From the bottom position, drive upwards, returning to the start position, leading the movement with the chest!
From the bottom position, drive upwards to the start position
Try and keep the chest pointing forward and trunk as upright as possible
Hip and knees need to extend (straighten) simultaneously
If the hips lead the movement the trunk will lose its upright position and stress can be placed to the lower back
Weight will transfer to the mid foot again
Establish a strong stance
Have good contact with floor
Keep chest up
Push the floor from underneath during the upward phase
Strengthens your core and lower body
Reduces the risk of injury
Can be used as a rehabilitation exercises when experiencing hip, knee and ankle pain
Improves sporting ability
Varied movement keeps motivation
Versatile on location
With outdoor gyms now open this week and inside gyms set to come back on the 12th April take a read of this informative blog for some top tips when it comes squatting. Remember these pointers can be carried over from a body weight squat to a loaded back squat.
Thanks again for reading, hope this was helpful!
BSc Hons Sports Therapy MSST
MSc Strength and Conditioning
UKSCA- The UK Strength & Conditioning Association