World Spine Day – “Your Back in Action” Preventing injuries at gym – Squat!
As part of World Spine day, we are going to go through some common mistakes that people make when squatting at gym and provide you with a solution to optimise your squat techniques and maintain a healthy spine!
As we all know, the squat is one of the fundamental compound exercises to target not only our lower limb muscles but also the trunk, so called our spine muscles. However, when performed incorrectly especially with weights, it has a high risk of giving you a serious spinal injury.
Here are some simple tips to perform weighted-squats correctly.
- Neutral lower back – ‘the hip hinge’
Keeping our spine in a neutral position is the most important yet, difficult technique to perform. Try hinging your hip back as far as you can before bending your knees as if you are trying to sit on a lower chair. This simple movement keeps your spine in neutral position and prevents you knees from protruding over your toes.
- The torso – ‘Shoulders back & head straight’
A common mistake that people make is keeping round shoulders. When it gets to squatting heavy weights, round shoulders can lead to a detrimental neck and shoulder injury. So, keep your chest out, shoulders back and head straight. Focusing your eyes on a certain point makes this process easier to perform.
- Breathing – ‘Deep Down, Out Up’
With any heavy lifting, breathing becomes very important as it circulates air into our muscles and lungs. With a squat, make sure you breath in when going down, and exhale up. This technique not only helps you to lift more, but also prevents injuries.
- Depth of the squat – ‘Go as deep as you can is not the way to go’
Many people, especially beginners, result in lower back injuries when trying to squat as deep as they can. Being able to squat deep depends on many factors, but primarily your pelvic alignment and hip flexibility. This means for some people, squatting deep may not be an ideal technique due to lack of hip joint range and structural alignment of your pelvis.In many cases, this last technique is the most difficult part of squatting and athletes plateau their progress not knowing how to progressively improve while preventing injuries. For those who want to improve their strength and performance, seeking professional help is necessary to take that extra step while minimising the risk of injury. Here at The Brisbane Spine Clinic, our experienced spine consultants will be more than willing to help and work with your busy schedule.