We tend to perform a squat more frequently than we know or even think. We know that squatting is done when picking up a child, grabbing an object off the floor, or even when transitioning from standing to sitting, but did you know you perform a squat with tying your shoes, loading and unloading your dishwasher, working in the yard or garden, and getting in and out of the car. Whether you are getting up out of your chair at work or picking up a heavier object around the house, it is important to not only perform a squat correctly, but also, activate the correct muscles when doing so. A squat is a very quadriceps dominant exercise, but there is more to it than just that. You may also notice recruitment of the adductors, abdominals, gluteals, hip flexors, and even the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles. With all that being said, it is important to strengthen the muscles listed along with increasing flexibility to perfect that squat. The better the squat, the less likely you will injure your spine, knees or hips.
Exercises that can help improve your squat:
Banded marching (standing or supine)
Glute bridge (SL or DBL)
Resisted hip adduction
Plank slider hip abduction
Lateral step downs
Bridge with ISO ball squeeze
Side plank on bench (or side plank with hip adduction)
Eccentric Calf raise
Stretching for ankle flexibility/mobility
Straight leg calf stretch (gastroc)
Bent knee calf stretch (soleus)
There are many different squat variations that can be performed in and out of the gym. To name a few, sumo, split, goblet, front, pistol, back, and overhead, which all can be performed with dumbbells, kettlebells, barbells, and even bands. With the squat being such a versatile exercise, we could go on all day breaking down each one along with modifications, but instead, if you are interested in learning more about progressing your squat or even adding variety to your squat routine, reach out to one of the IF trainers!