The Squat

No two squats will look the same.

I need to clear up a serious squatting myth, the one that claims all squats should look the same. Rather that everyone who squats should squat with the same form. This couldn’t be further from the truth and it is time I show you why.

Did you know that although there are standard rules about how a squat should look and feel, it will actually look very different for each person. This is due to the differences in our anatomies. Someone with a long torso will end up tracking forward a lot more, as will someone with long femurs. However, someone with a short torso or short femurs will be a lot more upright.

Another way you will see a difference is in people who have very tight ankles, or rather low ankle mobility.

If your ankles are stiff then you will find that you cannot squat as deep. Those who often squat “ass to grass” as the saying goes, have very mobile hips and ankles. You will also notice someone with tight ankles and hips will tend to fall forward and track the bar far over the toes. This isn’t ideal if you are looking to progress in your squat.

Now that we have addressed anatomy and mobility differences let me finally let you all in on what the butt wink is.

I have mentioned it in previous posts but let me make it clear. A butt wink is when, at the bottom of the squat, your pelvis pulls under you. It looks like a bounce on the bottom of the squat as opposed to a smooth looking straight squat.

The problem with this? The fact that it places a lot of pressure on the discs in your spine. If you are lifting really heavy, or have history with back pain and problems then yes the butt wink is dangerous. If your ankles are very stiff, once you get rather low in the squat your pelvis tries to pull you lower and so does a tilt at the bottom of the squat. Bad ankle mobility being a culprit once again so keep your ankles mobile by doing different movements before and after a session that opens and stretches them out. If it is due to anatomy then in this case I would say please only squat to parallel or do a low bar squat instead.

Your squat doesn’t have to look like the girls’ next to you, it just needs to feel right!

Tips:
-Your squat must start at your hips, not your knees
-When you are at your low point (or the hole as some call it- the bottom of the squat) the bar should track over your mid foot.
-Drive your hips back and keep the bar over your mid foot

Have a look here for a visual reference, and please let us know if this cleared up the misconceptions for you 😉

Izzy

Isilda Da Costa is a personal trainer and women’s fitness specialist who, if she isn’t at the gym training, is busy researching the most up to date information for growing those muscles. She has combined her love of everything healthy by being a health coach in her own health shop in Swaziland. Follow along on @izzy.fitness.pt

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