by Dr. Teri Hohl and Dr. Becca Keyes

The Importance of Squats

The squat is one of the most fundamental exercises for strengthening the lower body and enhancing pelvic stability. Properly executed squats engage multiple muscle groups, including the glutes, quads, hamstrings, and core, and balances your body’s fascia, both of which are essential for maintaining proper alignment and posture. This can significantly aid in chiropractic adjustments by ensuring your body is better balanced and less prone to misalignment.

Proper Squat Technique

1. Foot Placement:

  • Width: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart or slightly wider.
  • Toe Position: Point your toes slightly outward (about 15-30 degrees) to allow for natural hip movement.

2. Posture:

  • Back: Keep your back straight, avoiding any rounding or excessive arching.
  • Core: Engage your core muscles to stabilize your spine.
  • Head: Keep your head neutral, looking straight ahead.
  • Arms: Extend your arms forward or place your hands on your hips for balance.

3. Execution:

  • Descent: Push your hips back and bend your knees to lower your body. Imagine sitting back into a chair.
  • Depth: Aim to lower until your thighs are parallel to the ground, but go as deep as your mobility allows without compromising form.
  • Ascent: Drive through your heels to stand back up, squeezing your glutes at the top.

Squats During Pregnancy and Postpartum

Pregnancy:

  • Support: Use a chair or wall for support to help with balance.
  • Range of Motion: Limit depth to what feels comfortable; the pelvis and hips are more flexible due to hormonal changes.
  • Breathing: Focus on controlled breathing, exhaling on the ascent to reduce intra-abdominal pressure.

Postpartum:

  • Gradual Return: Start with bodyweight squats and gradually reintroduce weight as your strength returns.
  • Pelvic Floor: Pay special attention to engaging the pelvic floor muscles to support recovery.

Modifications for Hypermobility

Hypermobile individuals should prioritize control and stability over range of motion:

  • Limit Depth: Avoid deep squats that may compromise joint stability. Stick to a range where you can maintain control.
  • Slow and Controlled Movements: Focus on slow, deliberate movements to ensure muscle engagement and joint protection.
  • Resistance Bands: Place a resistance band around your thighs to enhance muscle activation and control.

Beginner and Advanced Modifications

Beginners:

  • Chair Squat: Start by squatting to a chair. Lower your body until you just touch the chair, then rise back up.
  • Wall Squat: Perform squats with your back against a wall for added support.

Intermediate:

  • Bodyweight Squat: Perform squats without any additional weight, focusing on form and depth.
  • Goblet Squat: Hold a dumbbell or kettlebell close to your chest to add resistance.

Advanced:

  • Barbell Squat: Place a barbell across your upper back (not on your neck) and perform squats with added weight.
  • Single-Leg Squat (Pistol Squat): Extend one leg in front of you and squat down on the other leg. This requires significant strength and balance.

Squats are a powerful exercise for enhancing pelvic stability, supporting chiropractic health, and maintaining overall body balance. By focusing on proper foot placement, posture, and technique, you can maximize the benefits of squats while minimizing the risk of injury. Adjustments for pregnancy, postpartum recovery, and hypermobility ensure that everyone can safely incorporate this essential exercise into their fitness routine. Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced athlete, squats can help you achieve stronger, more stable hips and pelvis, contributing to better overall health and wellness.

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