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February Trainer Tip: SQUATS

January 27, 2017

Fitness Tip- February 2017


One of the most common phrases I hear as a trainer is, “I can’t squat because I have bad knees”.

Contrary to popular belief, squatting can be good for your knees! The squat is a compound movement which requires the hips, knees, and ankles to work together to perform the movement. When performed correctly, the squat can help strengthen connective tissue, bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments.  

During a squat, you are taking three lower body joints (ankles, knees and hips) through range of motion, while recruiting numerous muscles to control the movement. The down phase of a squat engages your gluteus maximus and hamstrings to work eccentrically (or lengthen) at the hip, while your quadriceps work eccentrically at the knee, and your calf muscles, ankle flexors and posterior tibialis work eccentrically at the ankle. These muscles lengthen to help control you through the movement. On the up phase of the squat, the gluteus maximus, hamstrings and quadriceps work concentrically (or shorten/ contract) to provide the force needed to stand up from the bottom phase of the squat.

The average person performs hundreds of squats a day by completing their activities of daily living; such as sitting on the couch, or crouching down to use a dust pan.

This check list will help you ensure you are squatting properly:

·         Place feet about shoulder-width distance apart

·         Take a deep breath in as you push your hips back and begin to lower down

·         Make sure to keep your core tight and chest/shoulders up (looking straight ahead)

·         Continue to bend your knees until you are about 90 degrees (placing a box or chair behind you is good for cueing and safety)

·         To come back to standing, breathe out and drive through your heels

·         Straighten your knees and think about squeezing your glutes until you are standing up straight


Regina Wuest, ACSM-PT; USA Triathlon Level 1 Coach

Exercise Physiologist/Personal Trainer

Island Health & Fitness 

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