The benefits of squats and how to do them properly
Squats are one of the best exercises you can include in your routine as they improve strength, balance, core control, and cardiovascular capacity. They’re also functional. Think about it, you do squats all the time when you take the stairs, go from sitting to standing, and vice versa.
If done properly, squats can work on the entire lower body, core, and back, building amazing overall body awareness. However, doing them improperly can lead to damaging joints and back.
We teamed up with Physiotherapists Matt and Tiffany from Elysian Health and Performance Integrated Health to break down how to do the best squat.
Our expert team
Matt is passionate about using both hands-on therapy and specific exercises to help his patients reach peak function. Matt has a special interest in treating low back pain, and shoulder injuries, helping recreational athletes return to their activities, and is trained in IMS.
Tiffany believes in a multidimensional approach to treating her clients. She uses hands-on treatments, pain education, rehabilitative exercises, IMS, and acupuncture to help her patient reach their goals, and has a special interest in treating older adults.
The damage of improper squat form
Repeated improper exercise form can lead to undue stress on different parts of your body, such as the lower back, hip joints, knee joints, and ankle joints. And practicing bad habits only leads to repeated bad habits, so it’s important to learn how to squat properly from the get-go.
No worries if you think you haven’t been squatting right - it’s never too late to correct your form.
How to squat properly
There are many variations of squats, all depending on your sport and goals, but in general, these are some tips you can follow.
Point your toes straight in front of you or slightly outward
Put your weight in the middle of your foot, or slightly back, but not forward on your toes
Your knees should be pointed towards your third and fourth toes, not caved inwards
Keep your back in a neutral position with your core engaged
Once you’re all set up, SQUAT!
How often should you squat?
A good squat goal to hit is 3 sets of 10, 3 times per week. Begin with unloaded (no weights), and progress to weighted as tolerated. The last two to three repetitions should be more difficult to perform, but not more than that. Remember to do a good warm-up with fewer weights, or no weights, first so you don't injure yourself.
Age doesn’t matter here. You can do squats no matter how old you are, and if you’re looking to improve your endurance, this is a great exercise to help.
How can a physiotherapist help your squat game?
A physiotherapist can assess your squat prior to strength training, or beginning a new workout routine, to best prevent injuries. If you’re ever unclear about any part of squatting, you should have your form assessed before you experience pain. If you feel any pain anywhere in your body when you are squatting, book in with a physiotherapist. They can help assess your squat if you start to notice discomfort while squatting, after squatting or if you’re feeling stagnant in terms of the weight you are lifting or the range you are able to achieve.
The goal? To have you effectively squat and continue to exercise pain-free!
Book in with our physiotherapists today in order to create the most efficient exercise program for your health goals.