Proper Squatting Techniques and Tips23 Jul 2014, Posted by Blog in
We want to share with you our techniques and tips for safe and proper squatting!
The squat is one of the most effective lower-body exercises you can do. What’s great about it, is that you can do it, pretty much anywhere! While brushing your teeth, watching TV, at the office, even in line at Starbucks! Squats are very simple, yet effective, if done correctly. Physiotherapists use Squats in their exercise plans for a variety of patients needing to build core, leg and hip strength! Contrary to popular belief, squats won’t destroy your knees — as long as you’re doing them correctly! That’s where Physiotherapy and Kinesiology come into play. They are the people you need to help you make sure you’re using proper squatting techniques to most benefit your body!
Your physiotherapists or kinesiologist will first assess if you are a good candidate to use squats in your exercise routine. People with specific injuries or health conditions may not benefit from adding squatting to their program, or may need to build up to them.
It is becoming more apparent that adults are terrible squatters, if they aren’t shown how to correctly. Toddlers on the other hand, are expertise squatters! If you ever need a refresher on proper technique, put a toy on the ground in front of a toddler and see how they pick it up!
Proper Squatting Techniques
No need for an adding weights or any fancy gear right away. All you must do is pay attention to a few key pointers:
• Plant your feet shoulder-width apart (or slightly wider), with your toes pointing straight forward.
• Keep spine in a neutral (not flexed and not extended) position, and then send your hips back, as if sitting in a chair.
• Concentrate on keeping your knees wide, roughly in line with the second toe of each foot.
• Drop your hips until they are roughly in line with your knees or lower (you might need to work up to this), then drive through your heels to stand.
What you decide to do with your arms doesn’t matter, as long as it doesn’t cause your lower back to arch, or your shoulders to elevate or hunch. Try keeping your arms level in front of you, tight by your sides or even over your head.
If you can’t quite get the feel of it, try squatting with an actual chair or bench behind you. Tap it gently with your behind and you’ll know you’re doing it right! Aim to take about two seconds to drop down, and then another two seconds to come back up.
Once you’re a master of the traditional squat, your physiotherapist can start get more creative. They may recommend adding weight, but there are also some fun and easy ways to up the squat ante with just your body weight. Always consult your treating therapist before adding additional weight.
Isometric exercises build muscle strength and endurance with minimal movement. An Isometric Squat can sometimes be called the squat hold, this variation involves spending more time at the bottom of your squat. At first, try holding the position for five seconds before returning to standing. Gradually, you can work your way up to lengthier holds. You can even try it against a wall if you need a little extra support.
Widening your stance and point your toes slightly outward allowing you to recruit smaller lower-body muscles as well as the larger muscles. In this position the glutes are around 25 percent more engaged when you do a deep squat than when you only drop it as low as your knees. As long as you’re using good form, these squats wont be damaging to your knees. If you experience any discomfort, you body might be ready for this squat yet.
Some more advanced variation of the traditional squat are the Single-Leg Squat and the Rear Leg Elevated Squat. Not only will you be placing a greater amount of weight on that one leg, you’ll also be calling on stabilizing muscles in your core to help you stay upright. In the rear leg squat, start in front of a stable surface, like a weight bench or chair. Rest the toes of one feet on the bench, which should ideally be slightly below your knee. Lower down and back (still imagining you’re tapping that chair), keeping the front knee behind the foot and in line with the second toe.
ALWAYS CONSULT WITH A PHYSIOTHERAPIST OR KINESIOLOGIST BEFORE STARTING OR ADVANCING ANY EXERCISE PROGRAM. IT IS IMPORTANT TO CONFIRM YOU ARE A GOOD CANDIDATE FOR OPTIMAL BENEFITS OF THE EXERCISE AND THAT YOU ARE USING PROPER TECHNIQUES TO AVOID INJURY.