Every day our body goes through the motion of a squat. Even if you don’t go to the gym and practice squats, you perform the same motion every time you get up from a chair, out of bed, off a toilet, or in and out of a car. It is worth learning how to do this motion efficiently to reduce unnecessary stress to the knees and back.
A proper squat uses the following principals:
Keep the knees behind the toes. If you can’t see your toes when squatting down, your knees are too far forward. Throw you butt backwards and hinge forward from the hip a little more to stay balance.
The knees should be tracking directly over the feet, not inwards or knock-kneed. Practice in front of a mirror to check if your knees cave inwards. If they do, pause and push them outwards until they are directly over the feet.
The spine should be straight, not hunched. This doesn’t mean vertical, it’s okay to tilt the trunk forward as you squat down with the butt moving backward. Just be sure that the spine is not curving. It maybe useful to practice holding a yardstick along the back as a reminder to keep the hips and shoulders pressed against the stick. If your back comes off the stick, your back is curving too much.
It’s quite possible to get by in life with a less than optimal squat technique, but as we age, muscle strength diminishes and joint cartilage wears away. So in elderly life it may be difficult to rise up to standing or impossible due to weakness and inefficient movement techniques leading to an eventual loss of independence. By practicing good squat technique, we build strength and protect the joints of the knee and spine, which will carry us though life with better mobility, decreased pain, and freedom of movement.
If you are needing assistance with learning your squat technique, please contact us! We'd love to help you out.
Alex Glades PT, DPT