What’s in a Squat?

Bending and picking up an object incorrectly is one of the most common ways to severely injure a lumbar disc. Luckily, most people recover from these injuries but many are left with chronic pain and in others this injury is to be the first which cascades into a series of progressive problems.

It should be such a simple movement but in reality many people cannot correctly perform this task without putting themselves in a precarious position. Some of the most common lifting errors include:

– not bending at the knees

– not keeping the core tight

– not engaging the glutes (butt muscles)

– shifting the weight onto the toes

– bending only at the waist

Some people only have one faulty movement pattern and many have multiple. All of these mistakes change the center of gravity by placing additional stress on the lower back and the lumbar discs.

As you can see from the photo, infants are able to perform a squat with proper mechanics and this was not a learned movement. It would be surprising for many to realize that humans are born with an inherent ability to squat down with proper form but due to compensations and muscle weaknesses that come with inactivity many people have effectively “unlearned” this motion.

The key to perfecting this movement is to maintain your center of gravity evenly throughout you feet for the duration of the movement. You will find that as you drop down your knees, hips and shoulders will have to move to maintain this balance.

If you look at the picture again the horizontal lines show that the baby’s butt has moved back as the shoulders have moved forward and the center of gravity has been maintained.

Performing this movement correctly can not only protect your spine but also strengthen it.

Contact us to learn how a proper squat can benefit your exercise program and you.

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