Health & Fitness

Pull off the Perfect Squat

By in Health & Fitness
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Movement provides a window into the body. Observing movement and assessing faults gives us clues to identify underlying dysfunction that may be holding you back in your workouts or chosen sport.

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Are you pulling off the perfect squat?

We all know squats are a core exercise to help build not only leg but overall body strength, but did you know there are few better diagnostic tools than the squat that help us uncover dysfunction in our bodies and our movement?

There are two elements to successfully completing safe, efficient and effective movement. The first comes down to a motor control issue – does the individual have the skill required to complete a squat? In many cases, the majority of movement faults can be avoided or overcome by correct coaching. There comes a point however where even the best coaching cues cannot overcome structural issues in the body. These structural issues may make it physically impossible to assume the positions required for a squat to be safe, efficient, and effective.

If the underlying ‘environment’ of your body means you cannot physically go into the positions required, then it’s time to get to work on correcting them. Here, we discuss the major clues we can pick up from the squat, and some of the culprits within your body they point to.

Technique Fault: Posterior pelvic tilt in the squat.

What it means:

  • Gluteal tightness.
  • Hamstring tightness.
  • Lower back weakness.
  • Hip flexor/adductor tightness.

Technique Fault: Knee valgus (knees fall in) in the squat.

What it means:

  • Femur medial rotator tightness.
  • Femur lateral rotator weakness.

Technique Fault: Forward torso angle in the squat.

What it means:

  • Thoracic tightness.
  • Internal rotator tightness.
  • Shoulder flexor/extensor tightness.
  • Pec. tightness.

Technique Fault: Unable to reach full depth in the squat without loss of neutral spine.

What it means:

  • Gluteal tightness.
  • Hamstring tightness.
  • Lower back weakness.
  • Hip flexor/adductor tightness.

Technique Fault: Unable to reach full depth in the squat without turning out the feet.

What it means:

  • Tight Achilles / calf musculature.

In essence, weak and under-active structures need strengthening, and tight structures need lengthening. This is a simplified approach, but rings true for the vast majority of cases. As always, although this can provide you with a good generalised starting point for movement therapy, an individualised approach will always be the gold standard.

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