Squats The 5 Biggest Mistakes
In our modern world the invention of chairs and western toilet seats have a close correlation to musculoskeletal disorders, most notably the age old lower back pain. Sitting in a chair is easy, there is little requirement of postural muscle engagement, no challenge on the joints to maintain full range of motion and is socially the norm. The following are the 5 biggest mistakes and misconceptions of squatting:
1/ Squatting doesn’t have to be viewed as resistance exercise rather a mobility drill and a part of our own bodies degree of freedom or normal movement pattern.
2/ Squatting correctly to a full range if there is full range available with control is not bad for your knee’s unless you have had some sort of trauma, for example a broken leg or shattered knee cap. There was a recent study that found there are insignificant joint pressure differences between a parallel body weigh squat, 120 degrees of knee flexion squat and a full squat.
3/ Going for depth in a weighted squat when joint range and control isn’t available is like trying to go to barefoot running after a lifetime of running and living in very stiff rigid stability shoes. Lower back, upper back, hips, knees and ankle mobility and strength should all be worked on in alternate safe squatting positions e.g. with heels elevated or working on single leg hip strength first.
4/ If you don’t have the ability to squat correctly with adequate control, range and symmetry in a body weight squat, then squatting with high resistance will only cause amplification of potential damage.
5/ DO NOT be embarrassed to do a body weight squat hold or with repetition for technique practise at home or in the community (e.g. at school, gym, waiting for a bus, work, or on the beach)
One other thing, a leg press machine is not a replacement of squatting. Partial squatting receives partial benefits.
Joel Watkins (APAM)
M. Physiotherapy / B. Exercise Science / Personal trainer