All over the world, the Squat
is used by countless people in pursuit of their health, fitness, and wellbeing.
It is sometimes referred
to as “The King of Exercises” for being a discipline that – particularly if you’re in a hurry and have limited time – not only works your legs, buttocks, and lower back, but
stimulates the rest of your body too. Consequently, it is also sometimes termed
diagnosed orthopaedic or medical factors revealing it to be unsuitable, the
Squat is an excellent bone density developer, so putting it into your
Osteoporosis wellbeing routine is a wise measure.
The guidelines in this
article are the safety barriers that will protect you. However, we are all
uniquely different biomechanical units, so there may be additional fine
adjustments within those guidelines that can render the Squat even more
beneficial for you.
Wherever you are in the
world, you’ll need to get your personal Biomechanics analysed to make that
extra level of benefit possible.
The Right and Wrong Way
The Squat is,
unfortunately, an exercise that is regularly and often performed “the wrong way,”
leading to negative consequences to the knees in particular. These consequences
do not set immediately but happen covertly underneath the surface.
This kind of “sub clinical
micro trauma” builds up under your awareness, to the point of imminent pain. The
continuous performance of such squatting can make your knees feel miserable,
and down the line cause damage that can only be reversed surgically.
The Internet is teeming
with squatting advice that loudly and clearly indicates poor knowledge in
Exercise Biomechanics, so tread carefully among the legions of “advisory”
videos out there.
With the highly
significant male and female biomechanical differences at play, it’s wise to
ensure that ladies perform female friendly squats, done within their gender
If you take this approach,
it’s a pretty certain bet that there’ll be no pains, unwelcome sudden “creaks,”
or stabbing pains in the knees popping up at some point in the future.
After my half a century worth
of experience in exercise practice and biomechanical analysis, I still see acclaimed
institutes and accredited organisations claim they know the proper way to
squat. They even post images and videos on their websites.
The problem is that many
of those images do not observe some of the very basic clinical absolutes in
Biomechanics, and that’s not a happy or safe situation for any mature woman who
wants to keep herself in shape.
The Forces at Play
When you squat down, your
knees and thighs move forward, which is the first place things can go wrong. The
purpose of your kneecap (Patella) is to cushion friction at the junction of
your thigh (femur) and two lower leg bones (tibia and fibula).
When the upper ends of
those two bones move forward toward the kneecap as your body lowers down in a
squat, the pressure in your knees increases dramatically.
Walking on level ground has
your knees contend with a load equivalent to 1.5 times your body weight, and
when you go up and down stairs (particularly going down) your knees deal with 2–3 times your body weight.
However, the biggest
demand is when you lower yourself right down onto your haunches to pick
something up off the floor or tie your shoelaces. In those cases, the pressure
goes up to 4-5 times your body weight!
So, it is wise to be on
high alert when it comes to applying biomechanically confirmed knee safety
measures when doing squats.
The Biomechanically Safe Way to Do Squats for Ladies
There are three important
factors you need to keep in mind when doing squats.
Natural Inward Movement
The first fact to understand
is that ladies’ knees will tend to move inwards toward each other, much more
than male knees do. So, when squatting, it’s very important to make sure that
you don’t allow your knees to significantly move inwards as you go up and down.
The easiest way to address
this issue is to keep your knees in line with your big toes and make sure they
don’t move inwards past that point.
Forward Knee Movement
Then, you should also try
to minimise your knees’ movement forward and out over your feet. Reducing this
movement will also decrease pressure in your knees and allow your kneecap
greater freedom to perform its anti-friction function.
Basically, you should
squat with the mental picture of sitting down. This will have you tilting
forward from the waist and pushing your bottom out behind you as you lower, helping
you to maintain your shins in a more vertical position as you go up and down.
The more your bottom is
out behind you, the less forward your shins will move, equaling to less stress on
Using the Balls of Your Feet
The third point is related
to women’s natural forward tilt to the pelvis, which has you maneuver forward
more onto the balls of your feet than it is safe. You will need to counter
those negative forces in your squatting technique for painless results.
Try using the edge of the
sink in your kitchen. Hold the edge with a palms-down grip and hang back at
full arms’ length, while constantly looking straight across the room.
Keep your upper body
comfortably upright with your chest pushed gently out. Now push your bottom out
and then gently lower yourself down.
If you do feel yourself
dominantly on the balls of your feet as you squat, then you’re simply not
pushing your bottom out far enough behind you.
It’s good practice to make
sure that while you keep your upper body as upright as possible as you travel
up and down, it’s not to a degree that creates an excessively compressive
sensation in your lower back.
Your upper body will need
to tilt forward, because you’ll be pushing your bottom out behind you, but your
lower back should not make you feel uncomfortable.
Speed Is Not Your Friend
The key to good progress
is a nicely moderate and smoothly controlled speed, so that if someone shouted “Stop!”
at any point in your up or down phase, you could stop at that level immediately
without a problem.
Also, it’s a good and safe
idea, as you become well-practiced in your squat technique, to lower down a
little more slowly than going up. This will help you develop your strength,
although going down too slowly can be excessively catabolic and break
down muscle tissue instead of building it up.
If you keep your lowering
speed to an absolute maximum of 5 seconds, you’ll get all the goodies and no
Happy squats, ladies!
How often do you do squats? Have you
been feeling knee or lower back pain when performing this exercise? Why do you
think that is? Would you be willing to adapt a new technique that can help you
exercise without the pain? Please tell us about it in the comments!