Has anyone ever told you that you’re squatting all wrong?!
I went to Green Apple Sports & Wellness for a “tune up” last Thursday. Nothing major bothering me other than the usual muscle soreness and slight hip misalignment. My grand plan was to get an adjustment, make sure all muscles were “firing properly,” and learn some tips to share with YOU about strengthening your glutes.
You know… your glutes… the body’s biggest, most powerful muscle?! I was all jazzed up about writing this great piece on how strengthening your glutes is the key to staying injury free. So, I approached Mike, the exercise therapist at Green Apple, who teaches patients strength workouts after their adjustments. The conversation went like this:
Helen: Hey, Mike! So, I have this blog called Chasing Helen, and I am going to write a piece about strengthening your glutes, and I was thinking you could show me some glute workouts, and then I could make a video doing the workouts you taught me, and I’ll put it on my blog. What do you think?!
Mike: Sure, that sounds great. What do you want to do?
Helen: Let’s start with squats. I love squats.
Mike: Okay, let me see your squat.
Mike: THAT is your squat??
Helen: Well. Yeah!
Mike: THAT is your squat??
Helen: YES!! Is it wrong?!
Mike: Have you always squatted that way??
Helen: OHMYGAHD, what am I SUPPOSED to be doing?!
Mike dedicates the next 45 minutes to teaching Helen how to squat properly.
And she sort of gets it.
SO. I learned I’ve been squatting wrong only my entire life. Needless to say, I decided to rearrange some things, like moving the glute piece to another week and focusing on my biggest challenge of this week — the squat.
This week’s Tip for Tuesday is twofold: 1) See a professional. If I had not walked into Green Apple that day, I would still be squatting all wrong! I don’t care if it’s a chiropractor, physical therapist, orthopedist, you name it. You don’t have to be hurt to get checked out. In fact, going before you get hurt may keep you from a future injury. Oh, and ask lots of questions. 2) Take Mike’s advice below and squat properly!
Mike’s Squat Checklist:
- Find a comfortable width for your hips
- Toes turned slightly outward
- Engage hips, push butt backwards (“butt then knees”… I had to keep saying that to myself)
- Sit back and down, weight in your heels
- Knees track outward, following the direction of your feet
- Keep weight over heels, hips engaged, knees wide
- Drive your body back up to starting position
He makes it look so easy!!
This was my struggle:
I haven’t graduated from the chair yet…
I should probably clarify something — I have not been squatting wrong my entire life. Have you ever seen a toddler squat? Toddlers have great form!
I asked my parents to go back in my childhood photo albums and wouldn’t you know…
Knees could probably point outward a little more, and more weight in the heels. But look how low baby Helen can go! And don’t even get me started on the bowl cut. Thanks, Mom.
Check out those baby hamstrings! Must have been all that squatting.
Personally, I am thrilled to know the proper way to squat, but also frustrated that I have not yet perfected it. I have a lot of work to do. I will do it. You should too. It may be the key to an injury free training season, who knows?!
If you have Instagram, head over to my profile to see a video Mike’s squat versus my squat struggles at Green Apple the other night. Spoiler alert: my version involves a pole, a chair and a lot of pouting.
I hope this squat tutorial helped and that you will carry Mike’s checklist with you in your next workout.
Remember the two takeaways from this week’s Tip(s) for Tuesday: 1) See a professional. 2) Squat properly.
Keep going. You’re doing great.
Ps. If you live in the Charlotte area and are looking for a personal trainer, Mike is your guy! Shoot me a message and I’ll send you his info.