Recognizing your Athlete's Positional Preference and Tone for progressions & Regressions with Squatting
I think that most of us can agree the squat is one of the more important fundamental movements in strength and conditioning. Yet it is also one of the worst botched movements out there. Many of the athletes who come to me have no idea how to squat properly yet have back squats in their programs. This is a perfect recipe for injury.
Lets recap on some of the things we will see that demonstrate poor squatting patterns: extensor tone, poor t-spine mobility, poor hip mobility, poor ankle DF mobility, quad dominant patterns, lumbar spine flexion (aka butt wink), forward head, knee valgus, foot pronation, and more. This is where re-teaching the fundamentals can be very important. Once you've worked on all the mobility issues and basic strength progressions you need to see what your patient presents as. If they have a tendency to be in a high threshold pattern or very extended then a barbell back squat is a poor choice. Instead, starting them with a squat from the bottom position is better. Progressing that to a KB or DB goblet squat can further help balance front to back. Only then if their squat pattern has improved can you progress them to a barbell back squat. If it hasn't then continue to work on what needs to be fixed to get them there and opt for a front squat or if you have access to a safety bar you can use that. Furthermore, sometimes getting people into a trap bar and using a squatting pattern can be beneficial. The point is, read your athletes position and determine if they are appropriate for the squat you prescribe for them.
Check out the Insider access page for squatting tips, progressions and regressions posted this month!