Reduce Strain with Proper Squat Mechanics
Let’s face it, many of us are limited with the exercises, equipment and space we have available within our home. With that being said, one of the most common exercise movement being performed is the squat. There are many different variations to the squat, but we are going to focus on body weight squat mechanics and discuss proper form to reduce strain through our knees, lower back and increase muscle efficiency.
- The first thing we want to look at is how wide our stance is. A good rule to follow is starting out your stance at shoulder width apart with your feet slightly pointed out (external rotation at the hips).
- To help balance your weight when performing this movement, you can bring your arms out in front of you.
- When you begin to lower into your squat, you should feel your weight in 3 parts of your foot: the ball of foot, forefoot and heel. This allows for proper stabilization through your feet/ankle and will enable your glute muscles to work more efficiently.
- While going into the squat, it’s best if you can be in front of a mirror or reflective surface making eye contact with yourself. This will force you to have your chest up high and allow for your spine to maintain a neutral position (think of a straight line).
- The next step is easy: Come back up to your starting position in a controlled, smooth motion!
Bonus Tip! – While going down into the squat, glance down at your knees. Are they protruding past your toes? If so, this means you have your weight shifted too far into the front of you on the ball and forefoot. For an easy correction, shift your weight back to your heels. You should also feel your glute muscles engaged more with this correction.
We covered the basics for squat mechanics and how to avoid common errors, but if you encounter any pain or have additional questions, please give us a call at (602)808-8989 and don’t forget to Stay in the Game!
– Eric Strode, PTA
Tags: Back pain, Health, injury prevention, knee pain, Physical Therapy, squat mechanics, Tips, Workout