Health & nutrition insights.
Build a Solid Foundation First – Body Weight Squat Progression
I believe a body weight squat in correct form is extremely important for sports performance and injury prevention. It is also a life skill that you do every day when you pick something up off the floor from a standing position. If you are performing many squats throughout the day incorrectly, it is eventually going to wreak havoc on your back and knees, especially if you add weight. One of the TPI screens I perform on my clients to see if they move efficiently is the overhead deep squat progression.
The overhead deep squat tells me where the client is lacking mobility. It also tells us where lack of mobility and stability can lead to compensations and breakdown of correct form causing possible injuries. I follow the kinetic chain diagram below to help my clients build a solid foundation of mobility and stability throughout the body first before adding load (weight training).
This is why all the services and classes offered at Achieving Your Best such as chiropractic with ART (Active Release Technique), massage, pilates, core & conditioning, stretching, and nutrition need to be implemented for maximum performance as an athlete or life in general so you can do the things you love to do for life. It is also why AYB offers individual personal training and new member classes focusing on building a solid foundation first like being able to perform a correct body weight squat. It takes a team of professionals and time improving you to achieve long term results without injury.
A common scenario I see with many of my clients at first is they have a difficult time with the overhead deep squat because of tight calves and soleus muscles. These tight muscles keep the client from flexing the foot upward in a standing position (dorsiflexion). This client will struggle keeping the heels on the ground as they go deeper into a squat because their weight will shift to the balls of their feet. This is because they physically can’t flex the foot upward enough to maintain balance so they compensate by shifting their center of mass forward instead of keeping their weight on the heels when flexing the hips. There are progressions of this screen that help us see if it is a hip flexion, back extension, or ankle dorsiflexion problem.
The exercises below are ones that you will often see me and AYB trainers use to help improve dorsiflexion of the ankle and foot you can do if you struggle in this area. Also, check out all the services and classes offered at AYB to help you stay healthy and fit for life.
Perform downward dog yoga position and then bend one knee while rocking side to side trying to keep heel as close to the ground as possible. Hold stretch for 30-45 seconds and repeat on opposite leg.
Lie on the ground with leg extended and ankle on top of the stability ball. Roll the ball back and forth by bending the knee working on flexing the foot (dorsiflexion) and pointing the toe (planter flexion) when the leg straightens. Perform on each leg for 30 to 45 seconds or until fatigue.
Lie on the ground with a circular band for resistance around the feet. Perform bicycle crunches for 30 to 45 seconds trying to keep the band on the feet to improve ankle dorsiflexion and abdominal oblique strength.
In a standing position place a circular band around the middle of the feet, then raise one leg to 90 degrees. Hold the 90 degree position for a couple of seconds trying to keep the band on the foot to help with improving dorsiflexion and single leg balance. Perform 8 – 10 repetitions on each leg.
Sean W. Saunders specializes in functional training with a focus on golf performance at AYB. He is owner of SWS Golf Academy and SWS Performance in Springfield, MO. He is a PGA Professional, TPI Level 3 Fitness Certified, BodiTrak Certified, and ACE Certified Personal Trainer.