I have a love/hate relationship with squats. It’s embarassing - it took me a looooonnnnngggg time to really get my body squatting properly. I used to ignore it as one of those “easier” exercises and would just blindly prescribe it in PT programs with the basic cues of sitting back and watching your knee position. But then enters my experience being a pelvic-ortho PT and my realization of the IMPORTANCE of good squat ability and my realizing how not-good my squat was despite me being into fitness my whole life. Squats are HARD and GREAT. Being aware of my own compensations because of tight calves and a tight right hip has encouraged me to work harder at form and realize the benefits in my own body.
Why do we care about squats?
1. They are FUNCTIONAL! Think about how many times/day you squat. And if you think “nah I don’t really squat that often”, think about how many times you get in and out of a chair or on or off a toilet. In other parts of the world and in our past life, humans perform daily activities in a full squat position (one being going to the bathroom) which means it is an open, functional position that is not a struggle. While many of us strain to get into, or hold, a deep squat, others sit there comfortably and use their arms for tasks with a nice straight back and good stability.
2. The reason we are designed this way as humans is because it naturally opens our hips and pelvis, and stretches our pelvic floor and backside. Think about how tight these areas are on a lot of people because we live most of our lives from chair/car/bed height up. A big part of pelvic floor issues and hip/low back pain is that we don’t bring these muscles through through their natural excursions in modern day-to-day life, making them less dynamic when we need them.
3. Increasing power in your hips, glutes, hamstrings, and quads translates into more activation of your core and pelvic floor and less pain in your hips and back. These muscles are large for a reason! They should be taking the pressure of bending, lifting, and moving things so our spine does not.
4. A nice bum :) If you have a flat butt, it is very clear your body is using a strategy of keeping that bum tucked under and NOT effectively using your glutes! Strong glutes = nice bum.
I’m going to put this picture here to show a nice deep squat because it’s prettier than the way I am able to do it.
Check out the video below for all things squat and how to modify to help get your body into this beautiful open and functional position.
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