The Joint Ventures' Blog

Proper Squatting Technique

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Even though the squat is considered by many to be a lower body exercise, it’s really a full body movement that works just about every muscle group in the body. Not only that, but it mimics a ton of natural movement patterns in everyday life.  In my opinion, squats are the most useful exercise we can do when it comes to strength training.

A simple bodyweight squat uses a variety of muscle groups in the body – and if you add a dumbbell or barbell into the equation, I would say that you use every single major muscle group to complete.  Just think about it – in addition to your legs, you need your hips, your back and core, your shoulders and arms.  Nothing is left out with this movement. However, if done incorrectly, we can put additional strain to our lower back, knee and hip joints, and musculature surrounding these areas. We will now go over some keys points to think about when you are squatting with weights and body weight squats (same technique applies). The following picture illustrates the proper squatting technique contrasted to poor technique.
 


Let’s breakdown the steps involved:
1. Break at your hip and push your butt back.  Keep sending your hips backwards as your knees begin to bend.  It’s important that you start with your hips back, and not by bending your knees.
2. Keep your back straight, with your neutral spine (abs tight), and your chest and shoulders up.  Keep looking straight ahead at a spot on the wall.
3. As you squat down, focus on keeping your knees in line with your feet. Watch your knees! When they start to come inside the toes, push them out (but not wider than your feet). 
4. Squat down until your hip joint is parallel to your knees). We are looking at your hip joint here, not your thighs. Depending on the size of your thighs, your squat may appear to be less deep than it truly is.  
5. Keeping everything tight, breathe out and drive through your heels (keep the balls of your feet on the ground as well). 
6. Drive your knees out the same way you did on the way down, and squeeze your butt at the top to make sure you’re using your glutes.

If you have an questions with regards to squatting technique, please feel free to come by our Kendall Square office or contact me at Laura.Demchuk@JointventuresPT.com

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