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What a load of old Squat!! How you should squat, even if you have back or knee pain.

A common occurrence in the clinic is people coming in with knee or back pain and saying "my GP told me I shouldn't squat" or "I can't squat". This is "A Load of Old Squat", most people with knee or back conditions will benefit more from learning how to squat rather than avoiding squatting.

Squatting is one of the most common daily movements we all do, even if we don't perform them as exercises. We squat when we get in and out of a chair, when we pick something up from the ground, put washing in the washing machine, when we get in/out of the car, etc. Problems come around when we hinge too much from our knees or our waist (Spine) causing a repetitive strain to our knees or back. The goal of squatting is to hinge at our hips so as to spare our knees and backs.

How Should I Squat?

The answer to the aged old question "How Should I Squat?" is an easy one; HINGE FROM YOUR HIPS. Squatting from the hips can be taught with a few simple squat variations:

The Goblet Squat

  • Look at a spot on the ground approximately 6 feet in front of you.

  • Lower the body down until your elbows graze the inner thigh.

  • Feel your weight go back onto your heels.

  • At the bottom of the squat you should feel that you can wiggle your toes ( this ensures that you are using your gluteal muscles more than your quadriceps by shifting your weight to your heels)

(Keep your lower back slightly arched forward)

The Potato-Sack Squat

  • Start with your feet shoulder width apart.

  • Have your arms hanging straight down.

  • Squat until your arms graze your inner thighs.

  • Feel your weight go back to your heels.

(Keep your lower back slightly arched forward)

The Sumo Squat

  • Start with your feet shoulder width apart and feet slightly turned out.

  • Grad the to of the dumbbell.

  • Keeping your arms hanging straight down, raise and lower the dumbbell.

  • Your arms should graze inner thighs as you squat.

  • Feel your weight go towards your heels.

(Keep your lower back arched forward and avoid bending your elbows or shrugging your shoulders)

The Sumo Heart Beat

  • Grasp the kettle-bell by the horns.

  • Squat down until your hips are below your knees.

  • Your elbows should be between your thighs.

  • Quickly pulse the kettle-bell forward until your arms are straight in front of you.

(Keep your lower back arched forward)

How Often Should I Do This?

  • At first perform one set of 6 repetitions of the goblet and potato-sack squats. Once comfortable with this progress to 3 sets; Set 1 - 12 repetitions, Set 2 - 8 repetitions, Set 3 - 4 repetitions.

  • When this can be performed add the Sumo squat with 4 repetitions only.

  • When this can be performed add the Sumo heart beats for 4 repetitions only.

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