5 Reasons We Don’t Squat (Part 2)

Hey all, getting right to it today.  In the last installment, I talked about reasons why people have an aversion to squatting;  knee and back pain, laziness, or a hurt ego being the main culprits.   In today’s blog post, I’m going to talk about a couple of the techniques I use to allow for a more easily attainable squatting pattern.

1) Do your Manual Therapy!
This is so often overlooked it’s not even funny.  I can’t tell you how many people I’ve run into that haven’t heard of a foam roller.  It’s a shame how so many people don’t understand the value of manual therapy (when combined with a customized dynamic stretching program) and its impact on the potential mobility of the body, especially with regards to curing joint/muscle pain.  The physiological mechanism of manual therapy resides in the whole inflammatory response process.  Simply speaking, when you introduce an external stress (foam roller, theracane, your own fingers)   in a controlled fashion (starting off by applying pressure gently, then increase the magnitude of the pressure as you are better able to handle it), and then allow a period of time afterwards for the inflammatory response to occur (followed by some stretching of the area you just targeted), you allow the tissue to “clear the clutter” of sticky fibrotic tissue that develops overtime with overuse. 

– foam rolling series

2) Hammer down on Hip Mobility

This is really important, for alot of reasons.  To put it in laymens terms though, most people simply don’t use their hips they way they should.  More specifically, when it comes to range of motion exposure to the hips, most individuals are dominated by the sagittal plane in their everyday life.  Think about the average person, teenager or adult, and what they’re doing most of the day; sitting, hunched over in a school or office desk.  And, if that person is showing some initiative by going to the gym, they’re probably spending time on the elliptical, treadmill, or bike, followed by some arm and core work….notice a pattern? All in the sagittal plane.

Our hips are designed to be able to move (well!) in a closed chain manner with the feet in contact with the ground in a variety of positions and into a variety of directions…i.e. squats, lunges, squat matrixes, lunge matrixes (don’t worry, I’ll get to explaining these later).  Therefore, we should expose the hips to those positions to help strengthen them and “open” them up.

– bar hip mobility

– spiderman

3) Trunk Mobility/Stability

I realize this is a pretty broad topic, but after thinking about just titling it “core stablity” or “t-spine mobility”, I resolved to name it how I did because they both go hand in hand and are both necessary for solid squatting performance.  If you think about the bottom position of a squat, the individual’s chest is up while the core is braced, demonstrating proper core stability and thoracic spine mobility:

Therefore, it would be in our best interest to train for both!  While it’s important to train for stability and mobility in isolation,  it’s important to also integrate the two together.  I’ll group the next videos into 3 categories:

Isolative training for Trunk Stability:

– plank

– pallof press

– Standing Split Stance Vertical Pallof Press

Isolative training for Trunk Mobility:

– thoracic rotation (integrative)

– thoracic rotation (isolative)

Integrative Trunk Mobility/Stability:

– deep squat prog

So to sum things up, take care of your manual therapy, work on those hips and trunk, and start feeling better today!

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