The Squat is another full body movement that we use to build strength and protect your joints. To squat without pain, like all of the other movements so far, it’s important to get the foundation down before adding weight or doing crazy variations.
Entire books have been written on the subject or squatting. For our purposes (limiting impact on our joints), we will only cover the basics you need to know to perform this movement safely.
Find The Squat Stance Best For YOUR Body
The first step is finding the right squat stance. When learning to squat many people (me included) were taught the ‘hip width, toes pointed forward’ advice. Because each person’s hip anatomy is a bit different, we all will have a unique squat stance. The best way to figure out yours is to play around and find what feels most comfortable. Adjust the width of your stance and your toe angle until you find the best position for yourself. Watch the following video for a quick trick.
Unlock At the Hips (vs. Unlocking at the Knees)
It’s important to initiate the squat movement by ‘unlocking at your hips’ rather than ‘unlocking at your knee’. The first movement should be sending your hips back and then dropping your hips to the floor. This will keep our center of gravity over our weight bearing joints and prevent too much force from going through our knees.
Don’t Go Too Low (Avoid Any Spine Rounding)
For our purposes (limiting impact on our joints) we want you to stop when your thighs get to parallel to the floor. While you may be able to sink lower, what can happen is your pelvis starts to tuck under and puts your spine in an unstable position, which can be a problem when we start to add weight.
Once you’ve mastered the air squat you can progress to more advanced variations. If you’re still having pain when you squat it may be time to have it looked at by a medical professional. Learn more about Dr. Baird’s Online Coaching Sessions to see if he can help get you moving without pain and back to your favorite strength training routine.