• Olivia Freeman

THE SQUAT




Introduction

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.



Form

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.


The Decent

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!


The Ascent

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


Tips

  1. Establish a strong stance

  2. Have good contact with floor

  3. Keep chest up

  4. Push the floor from underneath during the upward phase

  5. Finish strong

Benefits

  • 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!


Olivia

BSc Hons Sports Therapy MSST

MSc Strength and Conditioning

07761887778

olivia@injuryrecoverycentre.co.uk

References

UKSCA- The UK Strength & Conditioning Association



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