Breaking down the lower body during the squat

by | Feb 14, 2022

Performing a squat is one of the basic human movements and we’re born with the best squat form! Don’t believe me, just look at a toddler squat. When they pick up their toys, they squat to do it and they didn’t have a personal trainer teach them how to perform a squat properly. As we get older, we lose our ability to do a squat properly unless we start working on it. One of the biggest reasons why we lose that ability is we go to grade school. Yep, I’m blaming my poor squat form on the educational system. We start sitting for hours upon hours a day which, overtime, creates tight hip flexors and hamstrings. When we squat, we need proper knee and hip flexion and if that is inadequate, our form becomes compromised.

One of the most common reasons why people have pain during a squat is from limited ankle dorsiflexion. In the picture above, the you can see how the knee is moving forward during the squat. This, relative to the ankle, is dorsiflexion. This is my experience the number one reason why athletes have trouble with their squats or have pain when performing them. There are several reasons for this. Previous ankle injuries that weren’t rehabilitated correctly is very common. When most people sprain their ankles the RICE method is most commonly used. Res, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. After a few days/weeks the ankle will heal with some scar tissue depending on the severity and the athlete will slowly start to get back into competition without any proper rehabilitation. This will cause the ankle to lose mobility which can limit ankle dorsiflexion in the squat. This can also limit ankle inversion/eversion. You might be wondering what is ankle inversion/eversion. Think of your foot rocking side to side. This helps create a stable base for our feet when we do a squat. Another big reason for loss of dorsiflexion is tight calf muscles. Our calves in general are very tight unless we stretch them. We sleep for several hours a night with our toes pointed or slightly flexed and when we walk the push off phase requires plantar flexion. Tight calf muscles won’t allow the ankle to dorsiflex.

Finally, we need good hip internal and external rotation. This helps stabilize our hips and pelvis and keeps our femur and tibia from excessively rotating during a squat. You can see hip mobility issues in athletes that can’t perform a squat when they try and make up for that lack of movement by laterally deviating during the squat. The squat should be performed in the sagittal plane and limited hip mobility can cause it to shift, which could potentially cause injury.

There are lot of moving parts in the lower body when performing a squat. It’s important for all of these movements to work in unison to enable an athlete to perform a functional squat. When mobility issues arise in the lower body, our squat form will become less efficient which can lead to injury. If you’re experiencing pain during the squat contact your local functional movement specialist for an evaluation. It’s better to find out any small issues before a serious one occurs.

#foco #fortcollins #fortcollinschiro #sportschiro #functionalmovement #squat #squatanalysis #injuryprevention #dorsiflexion #hipflexion #kneeflexion #anklemobility #hipmobility #elevateyourheatlh #elevatesportandspinecenter

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