Squats. You may love or hate them when it comes to exercise but, the movement is a basic movement of life. In and out of a chair is a squat. On and off a toilet is a squat.
Even a basic movement of a squat can cause many to have back or knee discomfort. Often we hear clients are advised by well-meaning health professionals to avoid squats. As you can see that is almost impossible if you understand the fundamentals of movement.
Let's take a look at some less-than-optimal ways to squat and why.
Not unlike Goldilocks finding the right bed to sleep in, there is an optimal and less than optimal way to squat for the overall comfort and health of your spine and other joints.
If you look at the overall posture and alignment in the last picture you can see the model easily sitting down in a chair. No, falling into a chair or couch is not ok.
Now let's talk a little about the IMS Magic ie., the principles of alignment, breathing, and control when you squat.
Below are three ways to squat. E.T.R. stands for 'Earn The Right', essential to increase the load, reps, depth or type of squat.
The first progression is a supported squat. Here you gently place your hands on a wall or hold either side of a door handle. This is a great way to feel balanced while learning to squat properly. It encourages keeping the weight forward through the whole foot and allows you to work on alignment and breathing while maintaining spine and hip alignment.
In the second progression, the model has moved to just a bodyweight squat. Everything from the first progression applies. Maintaining the rib cage to pelvis alignment, three-dimensional breathing, and weight over both feet equally through the squat.
In the third progression, a front load or weight has been added. While this will add a challenge, there should be NO compromise in the alignment, breathing, or overall mechanics of the squat.
As you rise up to standing from any progression you must maintain your alignment. This includes the pelvis and hip alignment. There is a common cue used to squeeze the glutes or drive the hips forward at the top of the squat.
Avoid doing this. It is unnecessary and changes the alignment of your low back (lumbar) pelvis and hips.
By nature of using optimal alignment, your glutes are the muscles that will help you rise back to a standing position.
No extra squeeze, thrusting, or driving of the hips is needed.
Just like Goldilocks, be picky about how you do your squats. If you practice doing them suboptimally while working out repetition after repetition, that will translate to how you squat in your everyday life.
Sprinkle the IMS Magic or what we call using IMS Principles while your squat. Use the principles with every rep, align, breathe, and control for the health of your joints and muscles.
Often you hear, just breathe, just move and that is all with good intentions. Change that mindset to breathe well, move well, and live well. It is never 'just do it'.
Be mindful, use the principles and your body will feel the difference.
If you have questions, please be sure to reach out. We can help.