Squat Safety and Squatting For Sport Performance
The Squat: one of the most popular and effective weight training exercises for the legs. yet there is new research showing safety concerns even when performed with correct technique.
Why should a weight training exercise designed to increase the lower extremity strength in a closed kinetic chain put the athlete at risk? Is not the squat a functional movement? Affirmative. Then what’s up with the Squat?
In a recent study: looking at forces at the spine while performing bar squats showed that even with correct technique the sacrum angle increases dramatically and the author suggests that this may be one of the causes for stress fractures in the low back.
Is there a way that one can perform squat exercises to increase speed, power, quickness ,strength without putting the spine at risk? Absolutely...
If training young athletes first make sure that the athlete can single leg squat his own body weight . An athlete needs to be strong enough to control , load and explode his own body weight before being safe to load with externally added forces.
Traditionally the squat is very sagittal plane(front to back motion) dominant but in real life, on the field, on the court, on the mat..our athletes rarely have to use their strength in the sagittal plane only. Rather they have to be able to control their body in some sort of squat position with movement or position in the frontal(or side to side motion) plane and in the rotational (transverse ) plane.
Also when analyzing sport , it becomes apparent that one will rarely see both feet on the ground in a shoulder width position. Rather, the feet are wider than shoulder width, more narrow than shoulder width, more of a stride stance where one foot is ahead of the other and unequal weight from foot to foot.
Therefore, one needs to have their athlete train ...getting the athlete in the positions that they use on the field. Altering foot positions and adding weight to load the squat that does not drive down through the spine. This weight can be dumb-bells, kettle bells, medicine balls or weight vests.
To learn more about squatting safely and over 100 ways to perform squats, click here.