More on the Squat
Squatting is GREAT! Squatting is the best. Do it! Sometimes it is hard especially if you have fascial restrictions and sometimes you just aren't built to squat the same as everyone else. This can be due to many different things like the way the hip itself is formed and the way the head of the femur enters it or just limb length in general.
This does not mean we should not try to squat most optimally. There are certain truths for all squats. Such as we need to maintain a neutral spine. We have 3 sections of the spine before it runs into the hip known as the cervical spine, the thoracic spine, and the lumbar spine. The cervical spine and lumbar spine both sit in what is known as lordosis meaning the the vertex of their curve moves towards the midline . The thoracic spine sits in kyphosis meaning the opposite the vertex is away from the spine. During a squat we want to pull the thoracic spine towards lordosis to allow us to stack more bone.
Bone is mightier than muscle mass! Stack those joints.
Movement Practice or Smashing?
God I love a good foam roller or lacrosse ball as much as the next guy. But what if your squat sucks not because of nasty gnarly tissue just simply because you don't know what the position you are supposed to be in feels like? Then you just keep trying to push into positions in a weird way with a weird stack of weights on your body. Well here are some easy ways to add movement practice into your life before or after class or even in between squats.
Be Present and Thoughtful in Practice.
Sometimes we think oh its just a warm up its not the stuff that makes me better. This is the stuff that really makes you better when done appropriately. Rather than just flailing around and drinking coffee on wear pink Wednesdays listen to the coach and do the points of performance. So here are some great drills for the squat!
This is a great drill to learn how to take circumferential breaths into the abdomen to provide you the best base of support in a squat. Here is an awesome video from Quinn Henoch, DPT. HE coaches some great lifters out of Juggernaut Strength and Condition and runs a Clinical Weightlifting seminar.
Banded Ankle Mobility with Tibial Rotation
We love how it feels to smash and floss and do all that good stuff. Sometimes the most helpful things don't feel like anything. We are looking for a sympathetic response to applied pressures. This one creates space in the ankle joint to allow the tibia to move over the knee more freely allowing your hips to descend into a squat further before the femur has to be pushed back into the Pelvis. Thanks again Dr. Quinn!
The Foot: See Saw Walk
The foot is our base of support and an optimal position for the foot is to think big toe, little toe, heel when squatting so we don't go flat footed. When you go flat footed and your feet are no longer active you then begin the dreaded collapse! When you get those Bambi knees and they come together. This active foot drill can help you save your knees. A squat with an active foot is a powerful squat.
So try them out make them part of your routine and happy squatting!