ALL THINGS SHIN SPLINTS
The Squat is a fundamental movement pattern to life, whether you are an athlete trying to squat 300kg or an elderly person trying to get out of your chair. For athletes, it’s a great exercise, if not one of the best to increase your explosive hip power and overall strength. The squat requires a lot of mobility in the ankles and hips in order to allow you to achieve depth without jeopardising your back and knees. It also requires great stability from your knees and lower back to keep you grounded and braced throughout the entire movement. In addition to mobility and stability, correct motor patterns are essential to firing your muscles at the right time throughout the movement. This is your body’s ability to coordinate itself to make sure you get in the right positions necessary and hold these positions whilst under load and tension. Understanding the importance of mobility, stability and correct muscle coordination is vital to execute the perfect squat.
In this article I’ll address what a perfect squat is and the common faults we generally run into along the way.
WHAT IS A PERFECT SQUAT?
This answer varies from person to person due to the individual’s bony anatomy. For example, a difference in femur length and/or femur position (more anterior or more posterior) in relationship to the hip joint (acetabulum). The squat stance essentially comes down to the individual’s comfort. This means no two athletes will have the same squat pattern.
However, no matter how wide or narrow (to an extent), here are 4 key points to be mindful of when executing a squat:
- Feet should remain flat and toes pointing relatively straight, if not, slightly pointing out.
- Knees should remain over the midfoot and track over the 4th and 5th toes.
- Lower back should remain relatively straight or neutral with no rounding or hyper extending.
- The squat should be initiated with the hips moving back first, not the knees moving forward.
COMMON FAULTS TO LOOK OUT FOR WHEN SQUATTING
1. The athlete’s feet may externally rotate as they descend into the squat
2. The athlete’s heels may lift as they reach the bottom of the squat.
3. The athlete may have valgus knees (knock knees) where they let their knees collapse inwards
4. They may initiate the squat with the knees rather than their hips
5. The athlete rounds their lower back at the bottom of the squat (butt wink)
DO ANY OF THESE SQUAT PATTERNS LOOK FAMILIAR?
In our following articles we will further direct the mobility, stability and motor pattern issues holding you back from executing the ‘perfect squat.’
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