Perfect Squat for Your Health

Perfect Squat for Your Health

Squatting gets a bad rap from many non-lifters, with the most common negative thing being the myth that squatting hurts the knees. Here’s the thing – there are many different types and kinds of squats and not everybody is built for very heavy barbell back squats.  So, if that is the image swirling through your head, then this article should prove enlightening for you.

Perhaps a good place to start is to ask the question:  does everyone really need to squat?  Do you need to display and maintain the ability to use synergistic muscular tension, stability and mobility through the torso, hips, knees and ankles in symmetrical stance? For 99% of the population, the answer is emphatically yes.  This simple human movement pattern carries over to many basic functions of regular life, and training it, intelligently, will also keep your lower body joints healthy, as you age.

Since each person has different bone structures, lengths, etc..everyone should squat differently, especially when loading the squat for power, strength, and hypertrophy training. Identifying the proper squat for you is the first step in the process, in order to give you the most benefits while minimizing risk of injury.

The first thing that you need to do is to get your current skill level assessed.  The best way to do this is to have a coach/trainer provide an assessment.  Below is a listing of squat variations in order of proper progression.  By this I mean that you should only move down the list once you have mastered the skill of the current variation you are on.

  • Air Squat
  • Goblet Squat
  • Barbell Front Squat
  • Barbell Back Squat
  • Barbell Box Squat
  • Zercher Squat

​There are literally thousands of YouTube videos on the internet showing all of these variations, if you are curious.  Ultimately though, the key point is this:  find the “hardest” variation that you can do perfectly. From there you’ll be able to train the squat pattern without compromising joint health, get a great training effect, and minimize risk of injury. Your goal should be to move down the list over time and progress strategically.  Once your perfect squat variation is identified, fine tuning setup and execution is the next step.

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