The squat! One of the most basic and functional movements we have all been doing since a child! There are often many concerns regarding proper technique and modifications but we are here to give you some tips! For #TrainingTuesday I’m breaking it down for you so you can perform the squat with proper form and avoid injury!
1) Begin by standing with feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart, with toes pointed outward slightly. Ensure the hips are stacked over the knees and the knees are stacked over the ankles.
2) Maintain a neutral spine and roll the shoulders down, keeping them from hunching up towards the ears. It is important not to create any excess stress on the lower back by keeping the muscles of the back engage.
3) There are multiple variations you can perform with your arms to make the squat more challenging but we will start off with the simplest variation! Depending on which is more comfortable for you, you can have your arms extended out in front of you, palms facing down, or you can bring the elbows in close to the body, palms facing each other and thumbs pointed towards the sky.
4) To initiate the movement of the squat we begin by inhaling, engaging the core and glutes, bending through the knees while sending the hips backwards. As your butt begins to stick out ensure the chest and shoulders stay upright and the spine remains neutral. The head should stay facing forward and eyes gazing straight ahead.
5) Keep bending until your quads are parallel with the floor and your body reaches a 45 degree angle.
6) You can then begin to return to the start position, exhaling as you rise, pressing through the feet and ensuring the chest remains up and open with a neutral spine
Things to Avoid:
1) Rounding of the back as this could create pressure in the low back region, keep the chest open and tall!
2) Ensure your knees follow the angle of your feet so you do not create any excess pressure on the outsides of the knees.
1) Add weight by holding a kettlebell or dumbbell to your chest.
2) Alter the base of your stance by placing your feet much wider than shoulder width apart. This “Sumo” squat puts additional emphasis on the muscles of the inner thigh but requires great hip mobility. This is not recommended for beginners.
The squat is a great full body movement and can be challenging in a variety of ways! Your only limitation is how creative you are and how far you are willing to push yourself!