I just witnessed my 3-year-old do 10 overhead squats perfectly on cue. If a toddler can do it that means you should be able to do a perfect squat too right? Probably not. Plenty of people think they can perform a perfect squat but more often than not they have something that they are doing wrong. Here are the top 3 mistakes I see in the office: forward flexion at the waist, knees going toward each other on the way down, and the knees going in front of the toes. What muscles do you feel the most when you perform a squat? If your glutes aren’t sore afterwards chances are you aren’t doing them right. Squats can be a spine saver when performed correctly. Here are things to keep in mind in order to do them correctly: perform them sloooowwwwly, feet at least shoulder width apart, keep your head and chest up while going downward, imagine sitting back into a chair, keep pressure down through your feet, and be aware of your knees to keep them from going inward.
If the above is too difficult to perform or you feel as if you will fall over then you need to modify your squats. The best way to relearn squat form is using an exercise ball. Put the exercise ball against the wall and stand in front of it with the ball resting on your butt. When performing your squat with the ball use the contour of the ball to guide your ability to sit back thinking about all of the things I mentioned above. I strongly suggest getting a resistance band and tying it lightly around your knees. Then, while performing your squat apply an outward pressure against the band and feel your glutes fire that much more. Lastly, only squat as low as you can with PERFECT form.
Homework: Perform a squat in front of a mirror or on a video with a front view and a side view looking for the errors I mentioned. If you see any errors start performing the modified squat with ball with 10 reps 2 sets daily for a week. Again only go as low as you can with PERFECT form. If you struggle with any of that schedule an appointment I’m sure we can help you out!
Dr. Alan Broering D.C., CCSP®
Eat Well. Move Well. Live Well.