Squatting is a basic and foundational movement used in everyday life. Every time you get out of a chair, get into your car, or bend down to pick something up, you are doing a variation of a squat. Squatting is essential to physical literacy.
Physical and Health Education Canada defines ‘physical literacy’ in the following way:
Individuals who are physically literate move with competence and confidence in a wide variety of physical activities in multiple environments that benefit the healthy development of the whole person.
In my practice, functional movement training is the foundation for physical literacy. Teaching people to squat, push, and pull effectively and efficiently are the first steps towards achieving physical literacy.
I teach squatting from an Olympic weightlifting perspective. This doesn’t mean everyone needs to practice Olympic lifting, but as Olympic lifters are the best squatters, it’s valuable to learn the principles and concepts they employ. These principles can then be modified for anyone. Here are some tips to help improve your squat!
Things to keep in mind before you start:
– These movements should always be performed within a pain free range of motion.
– In the beginning you will be training movement patterns, not “building muscle,” so keep the loads low.
– It can take a long time to change the way you move, so be patient! Some movement habits are built over decades, and won’t be changed overnight.
Step 1: The Set-up
Feet shoulder width apart with toes pointing forward. Don’t let those toes point to the side, as you will lose the ability to generate power with your toes pointed outward.
Slightly “screw in” your feet to the ground. This is done by initiating external rotation of the hips. You should feel your glutes tighten up.
To get to a neutral spine, squeeze your glutes as hard as you can, slightly contract the abdominals, then relax the glutes while maintaining your pelvic position.