Squat is an excellent exercise to help build and test strength. But, many people struggle to perform it pain free, leaving personal trainers confused about what to do or how to address it. Keep reading this blog topic by CRB Tech Reviews to know more.
If anyone has mobility limitations in their hips and ankles, they might have trouble to squat pain free.
Moreover if a person doesn’t have sufficient ankle dorsiflexion, compensations, like excessive mobility, could occur at the hip and lower back, that cause pain.
5 tips to squat painless
Note that pain or discomfort during the squat is certainly an area for concern, and under some circumstances, should require a referral out to a certified health-care provider like a physical therapist.
Tip 1: Avoid excessive stance widths
One of the biggest factors that leads to a pain-free squat is stance width. The foot placement sets up the foundation for a solid squat, and it must be suited to the individual to maximize safety and performance. Generally speaking, most people will feel comfortable with their feet shoulder-width apart. I define this as a “moderate” stance width. Avoiding an extremely wide stance or an excessively narrow stance is one key to pain-free squatting. Here’s why.
Excessively wide stances that are favored mainly by powerlifters need a certain amount of hip mobility to squat without pain.
If someone tries to squat with a wide stance and can’t get the knees out, their hips will be put in an internally rotated position at the bottom of the squat, which could lead to a pinching sensation in the hip. Being bony within the hips, some people can squat best with a wider stance, but going too wide might present problems for non-powerlifters.
When you are teaching someone to squat for the first time, I opt for a more moderate stance, which is shoulder-width apart. If that isn’t comfortable, then you adjust stance width and a “toes out” angle.
Tip 2: Knees in line with toes
Here we are talking about this from a medial lateral perspective. Keeping knees in line with toes and with minimal tibial rotation at the knee, as extreme rotation of the tibia has been shown to affect patellar tracking and cause unwanted knees out and knees in moments.
Tip 3: Brace the core appropriately
Back pain is another common problem that stops people from squatting heavily.
At times, coaches cue “arch your back” during the squat. They thinks this is a sufficient way to maximize spinal safety, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. A good cue is lock the ribcage down on the pelvis to prevent rib flare, anterior pelvic tilt, and promote a pain-free squat.
Tip 4: Choose the optimal squat variation
A key way for a pain-free squatting is utilizing the client’s “optimal” squat variation. Choosing this will be determined by the client’s prior injury history, body anthropometrics, and personal preference.
The easiest way to start is a moderate, shoulder-width stance. If people can do this with good technique, this makes your job a little bit easier.
For those with a record of knee pain or limited ankle range, opt a slightly wider stance and a low-bar position. This not only needs less ankle mobility to perform correctly, it also heavily recruits the glutes and adductors to help take pressure off of a cranky knee.
If one has a history of back pain, one variation might not be better than another. If that’s the case, make sure that the client is bracing properly and warming up to prepare their spine for heavy loads.
Tip 5: Ramp up your sets
You don’t need to spend half an hour aimlessly foam rolling or trying to activate your client’s glutes–just try squatting for crying out loud! There is no better way to prepare for heavy squats than to slowly ramp up the movement pattern itself.
The key during ramp up phase is to slowly expose a person’s body to increased loads, while minimizing fatigue to increase performance and no pain squatting. This is why it’s not recommended to perform higher reps during the warm-up phase, as this could promote fatigue before the working sets are even reached.
A painful squat is not a good idea, but often times slight changes in stance, bar placement, and loading scheme are all needed to promote pain-free squatting!
We conclude now.
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