What is the Proper Squat Technique
Updated: Mar 28
This technique has been criticised for many years, and still is! So what is the ideal way to squat?
Doing a squat is a basic functional movement that we do on a day-to-day basis. Going to the toilet, or picking objects up from the floor are all incorporating a squat technique. But do you really think about your technique when you sit down to go to the toilet? The answer is probably not.
So why are physiotherapists and trainers so pedantic about the way people squat?
Well, in clinic we tend to see many lower back or pelvis injuries from squatting. This can be either with weights or just picking up an object off the floor. There are many reasons why this can occur. Possible reasons could be lifting too much weight and poor technique.
Recent research has highlighted a few key points that people need to think about with their squat technique, and this can help prevent injuries. Those key points are: Neutral spine, forward head gaze and bum out.
This simply means trying to keep the spine as straight as you can while going down into the squat. If you start bending too much, you can cause unwanted forces on different parts of your spine which can lead to injuries.
Yes, powerlifters bend a lot through their spines. However, they aren’t your average office workers, or typical gym goer. They have dedicated years of training to conditioning their bodies to endure these stresses. Your body is amazing and can adapt to things over time. But unless you've been coached on how to do this safely, it's best to avoid this technique.
Forward Head Gaze
This is when you keep looking forward at a point as you come down into the squat. You can reduce forces placed on the neck and mid back if you keep it in this position.
Oftentimes individuals drop their head down into a "tucked" position whilst lifting heavier loads -- especially when there's a bar on their back. This puts a lot of strain on the neck and shoulders and doesn't allow for proper muscle recruitment through the stabiliser muscles.
By fixing your gaze on a point out in front of you that's a couple of metres away, you're more likely to maintain a neutral head position and therefore decrease your risk of injury.
When squatting think about sticking your bum out behind you as if you're going to sit on a bench. This will change the angle of force going through your legs to help you better engage your glutes. If you feel the quads giving out quickly, it's most likely because you've adapted a "quad dominate" squatting technique instead of a glute dominate one. Try pushing your bum out more behind you to better engage the muscles.
Sometimes it's helpful to start with a "squat to bench" technique until you get the hang of it. This is where you use the bench as a reference on depth and aim. Just set yourself up in front of a bench and squat down just until you feel the bench graze your glutes, then push back up. This will help you figure out the correct angle and muscle activation.
These are a few key points that may help reduce injuries and keep you training.
Here at Trilogy Physiotherapy, our physiotherapists will assess your technique and look at several other factors that need to be considered when you are squatting.
Book Now to get help with your squat technique so you can reach goals without hurting yourself!
To learn more about returning to exercise after injury, check out our blog HERE
To learn more about the most common injuries in bodybuilding, check out our blog HERE
To learn more about the difference between rehab and prehab, check our our blog HERE
Disclaimer: It is recommended to consult a professional before implementing changes to your regular movement or undergoing a new exercise routine. Any advice given by Trilogy Physiotherapy is done so in good faith that our clients have sought approval from a professional before undertaking activity.