Squats are a great exercise to build strength, muscle, power and improve/maintain function. As we get older, maintaining the ability to squat is essential to maintain health and function.Things like getting out of a chair, squatting to pick something off of the floor, and getting in and out of the car require us to use those muscle However, if done incorrectly it can cause injury. Here are some tips on proper squatting technique.
1) Hip Hinge:
If your the knees protrude far over your toes, your butt goes straight down, and the heels come off the floor, you are not doing a proper squat. An proper squat requires you to hinge at your hips. Each time you squat you should hinge at your hips so that your butt moves backwards, as if you were sitting in a chair, during the down phase of the squat. Your knees should not go over your toes. The pressure of the squat should be on your heels and not on your toes.
2) Keep your head up.
Do not look down at the ground while squatting. You want to keep your eyes facing forwards, so that your neck is always in neutral.
3) Keep you low back in neutral.
Arching your back too much, or rounding your back can put significant pressure on the intervertebral discs and can cause a herniated disc or significance back pain. Make sure your lower back maintains a neutral curve throughout the entire squat.
4) Knees in line with the toes.
Pushing your knee out too far or not enough will create abnormal forces at the knees and may cause injury. You want your knees in line with you feet, ankles and toes to reduce stress on your knees, hips and back.
Take the squat challenge and do 10 squats a day!
Samuel Hopkins, PT, DPT, MBA, OCS