Are You Squatting Right?

22 September 2022
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Squatting is one of the most common exercises to perform in the gym but often is done incorrectly. A good place to start is if we look at it as a movement rather than an exercise.

If we can fix the problems in a bodyweight squat you can create a greater capability to carry the load with the barbell.

The importance of the squat: 

Squatting is a functional movement. This is because if you look at most sports for example a tennis player waiting for the serve or a goalkeeper at a penalty. The starting stance of the squatting movement is a universal position that carries over into many other movement patterns.

Toe angle:

Different people have different mobility limitations and anatomical differences will impact the width of your stance. The goal is to place your feet in a position that will allow for a full depth squat while still feeling comfortable. Although overall placing your feet at shoulder width apart is a good starting position for most people.

When it comes to the feet for a bodyweight squat it is best to have a near straight foot position with a very slight 5 degree outwards rotation for your feet to be pointing. If you have difficulty performing the movement to full range with this foot position, it may indicate you have certain issues in mobility that need addressing.

In the clinic we can assess you to see where you are not getting the correct movement from and then treat the affected area. This will gain range of motion and mobility so you can perform better when squatting. 

A solid foot tripod:

When we create a good arch in our foot, you form what we call a tripod foot. The three points of the tripod is the heel, the base of the 1st toe and the base of the 5th toe. Th goal when squatting should be to maintain the arch of our feet and have our weight distributed evenly.

Creating hip external rotation

The last thing to think about before starting the descent for the bodyweight squat is to create external rotational with your hips. Creating this movement creates a tightness in our hips that will ensure our knees track with ideal alignment during the entire squat. This will help produce power and speed to your squat. 

To create this power at the hips think about squeezing your glutes and driving your knees out. When you do this you will feel the outside muscles of your hips engage.

  • Point your feet as straightforward as possible. 5 degree toe-out angle.
  • Maintain three points of contact with your feet in relation to the floor establishing the tripod foot.
  • Create external rotational forces at the hips by squeezing your glutes while maintaining the tripod foot.

Always remember that the squat is a movement first and an exercise second.

I hope this helps, but if you do suffer from tightness when squatting and would like us to have a look at your problem and run through advice to get you out of pain contact the clinic today on 0578678904 or book now. 

Yours in Health

Lawlor Clinic: Spine & Sport, Portlaoise, Laois

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