Safe and Successful with Hannah Price & Jackie Czaja
A squat is a complex movement. We’ve picked a couple of the primary components to focus on that are essential to executing a weighted squat safely & successfully.
- Forward shift of the hips causing knees to track passed the toes. This position creates an imbalance in your stance (feeling of falling forward). It also creates a lot of tension on the knees and can ultimately lead to injury. (Figure 1.1)
- Low back arch. We often see the upper (thoracic & cervical spine) body arch and low back curve while sitting into the squat. This creates a lot of tension on the low back. (Figure 2.1)
- Starting with the feet– Think of screwing the feet into the ground. You may want to try bringing the right foot to a slight clockwise turn and the left to a counter clockwise turn to keep the knees on a straight track and prevent them from caving inward. (Figure 1.2)
- Bracing your core & hinging forward– Bracing your core is one of the most important components in exercise. It not only keeps your spine straight while performing hinge, push & pull movements but it also protects your low back during the performance of many weight bearing movements. (Figure 2.2)
How to brace: Anatomically, a brace is when the hips shift into a posterior tilt and we squeeze to flex our abdominal muscles. Correctly bracing will allowing for adequate support of both the anterior and posterior portions of your core. You can train your body to brace in a couple of different ways. The less technical is easy- pretend you’re about to take a punch to the stomach. You’ll notice that the hips come up and in and your abdominals flex. (Figure 3.1, 3.2)
Hinge & squat: In a hinge, you maintain the brace in your core, but allow your hips to move back as you first bend from the hips, then followed by the knees (and not the reverse). Sitting in your squat, your knees should not track passed your toes, and your chest should be positioned over top of the knees.
Coming back to standing: From your proper squat position, keep heels & toes screwed into the ground & push through both heels to bring your body back to a full upright position. You’ll notice as you begin to push through the ground your glutes will activate.
If you are struggling with any component of the squat, please do not hesitate to ask either Hannah or Jackie how you can safely execute each component of a weighted squat.