Squats are a fundamental movement that we perform on a daily basis. Whether we are sitting down in a chair, getting down on floor, or picking an object off the floor – squatting is at the core of the move. Traditionally we were taught that squats were to be performed with feet hip width apart, toes forward, chest up, and shoulder blades down and back. From there we were instructed to begin by flexing our knees and hips by lowering our body vertically towards the floor. By no means is the traditional method wrong, it is just is limited to the effectiveness in real life application, and/or looking to integrate the entire body.
We can progress the traditionally instructed squat many different ways without ever touching an external tool. Renowned therapist Gary Gray of the Gray Institute developed the Squat Matrix to address the dynamic variables of squatting.
The above video demonstrated 7 different foot positions from a neutral, wide, or narrow starting stance. We could build on the varying foot positions by adding in arm reaches. If for example we wanted to emphasis more of the posterior muscles, we could reach our arms to knee height during the descent phase. To bring in more of the anterior muscles we could reach our arms to overhead. These are just two examples of arm reaches, we can reach at varying angles and heights to create whatever reaction we want.
I am hoping this brief blog will open your mind to the many different variations of the squat that we perform on a daily basis. Integrating the above variables in your conditioning program, will allow all of your daily activities to become a bit more enjoyable and less painful.
The DHF Coaches have put together a squat self-assessement so you can analyze your ability to squat and identify areas of concern.Click the button below to download your assessment today!