So here I am on my Saturday night, living the crazy life of a PT typing programmes catching up on emails and writing up this blog post but all is made better by the utter heaven that is my foodporn flexbowl! (If you don’t know what this is check out my Instagram or add me on snapchat (scmfit) to see what I mean).
Now this post is perhaps a little blunt (as I sit in on my Saturday night ) but I have written it to help you and stop you making the same mistakes I did. I got into PT after studying sports therapy for 3 years realising that I lot of the problems I was treating could actually be prevented in the first place from correct use of exercise and teaching correct technique but enough of the waffling and as always please let me know what you guys think as always any feedback much appreciated.
So worst may be a little strong but due to the squat being a compound (multi-joint) movement it does of course bring huge benefit to your training for both weight loss and strength ‘booty’ gains, but on the flip side if not taught/performed correctly it can cause all sorts of joint/muscular pain and problems.
What is a Squat?
A squat is a movement we perform everyday and have done for years yet bring it into the gym and it creates all sorts of issues. Far too often do I see people performing squats with dipped back, their weight tipped forward, knees wobbling all over the place yet they still continue to pile on the weight spending the next few days stretching and foam rolling out their tight hips, quads and backs. Now I have nothing against foam rolling and stretching in fact both have huge benefits (more in a future post) but shouldn’t we stop and think, hold on a squat being a natural human movement this shouldn’t be causing us pain?
Role of Our Core Stabilisers
The core, as talked about in my previous post, is there to protect and support the spine throughout movement, holding our spine in neutral (vertebrae aligned as they should). So if we arent able to contract or feel our tummy muscles working something else has to to stop our spine from, putting it bluntly, breaking. This is where tight lower backs and hips are formed.
In any movement we should always be focused on keeping the spine in neutral and so surely in the squat we would expect to feel a hell of contraction in our tummy muscles when pushing our weight back and against the force of gravity, in particularly when lifting heavy weights. However rarely (my younger self included) do we think about this and instead naively continue with an arched back believing it is a great workout as although we may have a bit of a sore back our legs still ache so it must of worked right. Wrong, and for ladies (and gents) trying to get those ‘booty gains’ without correct technique you have a very slim chance of working anything other than quads, hip flexors and back extensors – result = tight hips and bad backs – duck posture!
How Poor Technique Could be Hindering Your Chance of Shapely Legs
So if bad back, tight hips and poor posture wasn’t enough to make you stop and think then maybe hearing that in fact perform squats in correctly could be preventing other muscles in your legs working correctly will. Ladies in order to get those sculpted legs or lads looking to increase size listen up.
As I touched on earlier our muscles work together, so if our hips flexor and quadriceps muscle groups becomes tight and over active another muscle/muscles have to give – often meaning our adductors (inner thigh muscles) hamstrings and gluteal (bum) muscle groups will become weak and inactive. Starting to make sense now why you can never really get those dream legs no matter how many squats you do!
So next time you are doing a squat bodyweight or weighted, check:
- is my back arched/dipped?
- can I feel it in my lower back?
- are my abdominals (tummy muscles) working?
- where is my weight/centre of gravity?
- what is my foot position like?
- do I feel stable?
- can I hold the bottom phase comfortably?
- are my knees collapsing in/out?
Use a mirror or get a friend to video you. Don’t be afraid to go back to basics – it is much better to spend the time correcting technique now and yes it may not be the most exciting thing to do but trust me it is so worth it and your body will thank you for it.
Not sure how to check if you are doing it correctly or anything you don’t understand please do drop me a message or book in a session with me at The Park Club, Milton. I definitely recommend checking out this awesome video that Sam from Team Vaughan did a while back – simple and effective and in my opinion the best way to learn how to squat correctly.
Take care and hope you all have a great weekend 🙂