You might be thinking “well you just bend your knees and stick your bottom backwards” right? Well yes, but there is a correct way to do this whether you do a deep squat or a partial squat. The majority of us haven’t grown up squatting low to the ground as a habit like some cultures, so what we see often is that many have lost the art of squatting properly yet it is a primal movement that we are genetically engineered to do. For some the mere idea of squatting is seen with dread as they experience pain in the lower back, hips, knees or feet hence they avoid squatting. If you think you never need to squat, think again. Obviously you squat to reach the toilet seat or to sit in a chair. What about getting in and out of a car, which is a squat, bend and twist and also squatting to pick something up off the ground, particularly if there is some weight involved. Often people will bend at the hips with a rounded back and yep you guessed it, there is a greater chance of injuring yourself!
Squatting is a compounding movement that recruits many muscles (hips, back, shoulder, core, arms and joints). Let’s look at the basic squat movement and practice it at home, encourage your family to join you and teach them the proper technique, it’s not just a great exercise it should be a natural movement pattern for you which is why we incorporate squatting into nearly everyone’s program though different variations of course.
- Stand with your feet a good shoulder width apart, toes maybe slightly turned out 5-30 degrees max, feel your feet firmly planted on the floor, this can ensure your knees don’t cave in. Stand tall, chest up, engage your core slightly.
- In initiating the squat bend your knees and push your hips back, your knees should track over your first and second toe. Your thighs should be parallel to the floor, how low can you go is up to you but if you experience pain then stop and only squat as far as comfortable and your feet should still be firmly planted on the floor (no heel lifting off the ground)
- To stand, drive through your feet, in particular your heels, this goes up the posterior chain located in the back of your body including hamstrings and glutes. Remember to inhale as you go down and exhale us you come up.
Remember: Stay in your comfort zone, look ahead or in front of you, keep a neutral spine and only squat with weights that you can handle.
The benefits of learning how to squat and utilising this as an exercise in your program will benefit you in your day to day life including the following. Squats help to;
- Improve stability, flexibility and joint, bone and muscle strength.
- Improves blood circulation, digestion and heart health.
- It can also burn more calories, enable greater jumping and speed.