YMCA Wellness Blog

Check in for the latest news and updates from our Health & Wellness Director Darnell Brown.

10/29 – Is a perfect squat form a myth?

How did you first learn to squat? Was it by watching someone else? Did you refer to someone who you felt was an expert, and have them show you how they squat? While there is an ideal way to squat, the anatomy of the human body makes it unlikely that everyone is able to successfully squat the same way.

In these photos, you can see that the anatomy of the hip and pelvis can vary significantly.

Based on these differences, it is hard to assume that all people can perform “the” perfect squat.  A proper assessment can help people find THEIR perfect squat.

These are two of the most common complications when trying to squat:

  • Pain when attempting a “proper” squat
  • Not being able to reach the full depth or range of motion

Not everyone has anatomical reasons for not being able to achieve a comfortable squat. There are other reasons why you could be having difficulty performing a squat, such as arthritis, injury, or lack of flexibility and mobility which can be a result of many hours every day spent sitting in the same position.

With a lack of flexibility you will have a very difficult time getting into the proper position without pain or potentially injuring yourself.  This does not mean you should give up on squatting.  With proper stretching and mobility exercises, and patience, you can regain your ability to squat over time.

Living a sedentary lifestyle can also contribute to having trouble moving and squatting. When you spend the majority of your time sitting, you eventually begin to lose motor control. You will lose motor control because you have the chair to support you, eliminating your need for abdominal control, lumbo-pelvic control, and posterior chain activity.  Once your body has lost these, you will have a very difficult time getting into a comfortable squat position, and you will likely experience back pain.

With all of these different factors potentially affecting your squat performance, it is important to work on your mobility and do corrective exercises to help your motor control. It is very beneficial to have a fitness assessment performed where the trainer can look at your individual anatomy, mobility, and strength. The trainer can then design a custom program just for you to help work with your individual needs.  Something as simple as a slightly wider stance, or a slight turn of your feet could be all you need to squat successfully. Remember, you may not be able to perform the textbook squat, but you can find YOUR perfect squat.

10/23 – Technique Tuesday

The Dead Bug is a great exercise for anyone looking to work on achieving a stronger core. Sit ups are a decent exercise but can be inappropriate and potentially harmful choice for anyone who lacks the ability to control their core.  Plenty of people have strong cores, but that means nothing if you can’t properly or functionally control it. If you are looking for a great exercise to help learn core control and safely strengthen look no further, here is the video for you.