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Know Your Squat

Man preparing to do a dumbell squat

The squat could be considered the most fundamental and functional movement of daily living. We began this movement as an infant and it continues throughout adulthood. Some may have lost the ability or find it difficult to squat for various reasons, injuries, tight muscles, muscle weakness or muscle imbalances. It is important to maintain this movement when picking up objects that have fallen, sitting, tying shoes, using the restroom, or climbing stairs.

Prime muscle mover(s) is/are the muscle(s) that provides the primary force driving the action. The prime muscle movers for the squat movement are the gluteus maximus and the quadriceps. During the upward phase of the squat, the glutes are responsible for the hip extension and the quads for the knee extension (standing). The squat is a most basic movement and there are several variations involving the same muscle groups such as single legged squat (Bulgarian squat), lunges (forward, lateral and reverse) and step ups.

As previously mentioned, the gluteal and quadriceps are the prime muscle movers for the squat, but other muscles are just as important to allow efficient and effective movement. These muscles are called the synergists and they include the hamstrings, adductors, trunk stabilizers (erector spinae, trapezius and rhomboid muscles of the back) and deep abdominal muscles (transverse abdominis). The synergist muscles work to assist in holding the body in position to allow proper squat execution. These synergists also work to help reduce the chance of an injury

Flexibility and mobility are especially important for proper squat execution. It allows the body to move unhindered in various degrees. As we age, our muscles become less pliable. Pliability does not imply the muscle being “squishy”. It applies to muscle tissue that is adaptable to the demands placed on the muscle. Stretching and mobility, via yoga, are actions to enhance flexibility and mobility. These allow for enhanced body range of motion. Flexibility movements can and should be performed daily (see printable PFD link)

The squat is an essential movement as it is a part of our daily activities. Prepare your body to ensure you are able execute it correctly.

Squat Technique

Step 1: Stand straight with feet about shoulder width apart.

Step 2: Tighten your abdominal muscles and upper back.

Step 3: Push hips back, keep chest up, back is angled (be careful not to lean too far forward), bend your knees and sit, as if sitting in a chair.

Step 4: As you stand up, press feet firmly into the ground, straightening your legs allowing the hips to return underneath your upper body.

Step 5: Repeat

Squat Videos

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