Exercise of the month: THE BACK SQUAT
Squatting is a movement pattern required for essential activities of daily living, such as sitting, lifting, and most sporting activities. It is also a staple exercise in training regimens designed to enhance performance and to build injury resilience .
The back squat is also meant to be a guide for trainers and coaches to identify and target corrections for biomechanical deficits of athletes before participation in more advanced and intense physical training activities.
It can be used across sporting populations and can be manipulated extensively as a tool to produce your desired training response. The back squat is commonly seen in gyms and its use amongst athletes is becoming more prevalent, however there is often debate as to the correct implementation of the technique.
The back squat is a knee and hip extensor exercise. The list below highlights the key muscles that are used in the correct execution of the back squat and the muscle action.
- Quadriceps-knee extension
- Gluteus maximus- hip extension
- Gluteus medius (posterior fibres) - hip extension and lateral hip rotation.
- Hamstrings-hip extension
- Erector spinae-spinal and pelvic stabilization
- Latissimus dorsi- spinal and pelvic stabilization
- Adductors (magnus, longus, brevis, minimus)-assist with hip extension and stabilization.
- Abdominals- spinal and pelvic stabilization.
The back squat technique:
- Head up and chest out.
- Shoulder blades pulled back, feet shoulder width apart.
- Feet pointed outwards at approximately 5 to 1.
- Bar on upper deltoids.
- Bar held in an over grasp claw grip (thumbs around
- the bar).
- Elbows bent at 90 degrees (a narrow enough grip to
- facilitate pulling the shoulder blades apart).
Start of Descent
- Breathe in and hold breath.
- Tighten lower back muscles and gluteals.
- Maintaining a neutral back (with a lordotic curve).
- Flex the knees and begin the descent.
- Flex the knees until the top of the thighs break parallel
- to the floor. Maintain the neutral back.
- Head up.
- Chest out.
- Back straight
- Knees pointed out along the line of the big toe.
- Lead with the chest.
- Drive upwards by extending the hips and knees.
- Keep the torso upright and maintain a neutral back
- Stand up explosively.
- Breathe out as an erect stance is achieved.