When a Squat isn't just a Squat
Everyone loves a Squat don't they?
Looks easy as well doesn't it? Natures very own sitting position. Just check out anywhere where there are few chairs on the streets, people simply squat instead.
But it doesn't mean that everyone can perform a squat with correct technique. What are you looking for in your Squat? For starters, it depends if you do a front or back squat.
And just to point out, you don't have to squat in the sporting context. As a half range squat would be what you need to do to sit in a chair! Exactly the type of pre gym based exercise that we prescribe to people who have had knee surgery - it’s not all dumbbells and barbells you see.
On the surface of things, squat looks like an easy movement to perform doesn’t it? But there are reasons why someone might not be able to do it with good technique.
A squat requires good control of:
The low back (to avoid overload and place undue stress it)
Good hip movement to allow full range of movement
Good Knee control and joint range to avoid over stressing the joint.
And, good ankle joint movement to allow a full squat.
If any of your motions or control mechanisms are lacking, then there either needs to be a compensatory movement pattern to gain the full depth of the squat - ie, if the hips lack movement, then a person may ‘cheat’ with the back or knees. Less than ideal - and this isn’t what a trainer, coach or therapist wants.
So what's the point I am making here?
The Squat is a complex movement and requires excellent near whole body movement and control.
The Squat is a great exercise for the whole body and excellent for developing powerful hip extension - but your ability to perform one may be limited by weak Glutes, hamstrings or restricted joint mobility in the hips, knees or ankles.
A poor ability to squat might even be related to Low Back Pain - ever noticed how even moving from standing to sitting or sitting to standing hurts when you have a bad back?
Check out this piece for a dissection of ‘the squat’ and the movement requirements to perform a full and deep one.
So what’s the point of all of the above? Well…If back pain is causing pain in moving from sitting to standing or your hips, knees or ankles are causing restrictions in your ability to squat in training. Then maybe it’s time to find out what the underlying issue is?
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