The Mystery of Squat Form: How Low Should You Go?

The Mystery of Squat Form: How Low Should You Go?

Everyone has an opinion on what works and what doesn't when it comes to squats, and those opinions are likely to be firmly held. It won't take long before you see the flaws in the squatting rules you've been taught for years.

Assuming that you shouldn't let your knees over your toes is a surefire way to strain other parts of your body, like your lower back (caused by your hips), hamstrings, and calves. You may find that squatting is suddenly very uncomfortable if you've tried this method (note: awkward is different from difficult). Not only is that never a good sign, but it also suggests that your body will receive the forced movement you're attempting.

Is Squatting Good For You?

The benefits of squatting are not debatable, but the proper technique and depth are. The most important thing to keep in mind is that everybody squats a little bit differently. There's a chance your squat form won't look like the ones depicted in pictures or the tiny "squat form demonstration" drawings.

Three major muscle groups attach to your knee: your hamstrings and calves behind it and your quadriceps up front. The mobility of your hips depends mainly on the strength of these muscles. When you contract your muscles, they counteract each other's force, which is good for your knees and other joints. Do you recall that the hip torque increased by over a factor of 1,000 in the study we just discussed? If you've ever felt like your squat form wasn't quite right or even caused you pain, it could be because you were trying to mimic those instructional videos. It's not wise to adopt the practices of a group that weren't designed with your body in mind.

Of course, this is why squats hurt so many people, why they have such a bad reputation, and why you are often tempted to leave them out of your workout despite knowing full well that they are beneficial.

The Deep Squat

The ability to perform a full, deep squat is beneficial, but it may be something other than your thing. The move calls for complete flexibility in the spine and the major weight-bearing joints of the body (ankles, knees, hips, and shoulders). This position requires a coordinated effort from your muscles, joints, and brain. Georges Dagher, C.S.C.S., a chiropractor and strength coach based in Toronto, provided the video. The deep squat, he says, is like taking care of one's oral hygiene. In the Journal of Evolution and Health, Dagher explains that "the deep squat movement is a toothbrush for our joints," meaning that it helps to clean the joints and ensure that there are no stuck or restricted areas.


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