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Wide Squats, Plie? Don’t do it your killin’ my back!

Posted Nov 15 2009 7:12am

pliesquatWhat is the risk verse benefit of squatting with the toes turned out or straight ahead?

Clients should be properly aligned and progressed to optimal squatting by alignment through the five kinetic checkpoints.  Clients should only go to the depth in a squat in which they can maintain the five kinetic checkpoints. (Check this picture with optimal squat mechanics) When performing the squat with ideal alignment of the five kinetic checkpoints, one of the prime movers of the squat (gluteus maximus) is in its ideal length-tension relationship to generate the most amount of force.  Also, ideal alignment allows for optimum joint motion.

  • feet hip width apart with toes straight ahead
  • knee in line with 2nd toe
  • pevlic & low back in neutral, do not arch your back or round your low back
  • from the side view your torso and shin bone should be parallel

When the foot turns out in a squat, the knee/femur has to abduct/externally rotate, which shortens the gluteus maximus and the piriformis, both of which attach directly to the pelvis/sacrum.  The adductor magnus also becomes more biomechanically efficient which also directly attaches to the sacrum via the sacrotuberous ligament.  Since the gluteus maximus is in a shortened position, this alters the length-tension relationships of the muscle thus making it mechanically weaker.  The adductor magnus and hamstrings now become synergistically dominant, doing more work than they should.  Since the attachments of all these muscles is the sacrotuberous ligament (which attaches to the sacrum), the over-activity of these muscles can lead to tightness and undue stress can be placed on the sacrum leading to SI joint/low back pain.

Posted in Cardiovascular Training, Low Back Pain, Program Design Tagged: squat mechanics, squat techniques
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