What is a Squat?
For those that do not know, the squat is THE exercise that is never missed out in most workout regimens. It’s a very effective exercise as it recruits all the major muscle groups of your lower extremities, including your core. Squats aren’t only present in the gym or in a workout, it’s also incorporated in our daily lives! We squat when we get something from the floor, we squat when we pull weeds in the garden, we squat when we go to site down, etc. Read on to find out more on how to do squats properly, especially if you have a long femur or are a tall person. ;)
How to Do a Squat Correctly?
The squat is easy to do during a workout, but it's also easy to do it incorrectly, and even more so if you have a long femur or are a tall person. It’s extremely important that a person do a squat (or any exercise) in the correct form to prevent injuries like strains, sprains and pain. So how do we make sure we’re doing the right thing? Here are some tips!
Try to feel for a stance you are comfortable with. If you’re not sure where to start, you can stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
Angle your feet slightly outward, but you also point them straight forward if that feels more comfortable too.
Put a little tension on your abs, and then slowly bend at the knees, as if you’re sitting down on a low stool.
Look straight ahead, do not look up or down. You can hold your hands up in front of you so you can make sure you’re still upright. If your hands start pointing towards your feet or at the floor, then you might be flexing your trunk forward.
Sometimes, we still get it wrong.
Unfortunately, there will be times that we may assume the wrong form of a squat. It’s usually because of a number of things that can easily be addressed like, poor hip and ankle mobility and muscle imbalance. Luckily, these two reasons can be reversed. We can stretch our hips and ankles, and strengthen them a little bit more too so that we can achieve the proper form. Another reason a person can have the wrong form is having a long femur. The femur is a long bone where the muscles in your thigh is attached. Some people are born with long femurs, with a short torso, or short tibia (the bone on your lower leg). Since this is purely an anatomical reason, there really isn’t a corrective exercise for this in most instances.
What’s wrong with a long femur?
When your femur is relatively longer than the structures connected to it (the torso or the tibia), it’s harder to achieve a squat with good form. When a person with a long femur squats, they usually have an excessive forward lean. This increases their risk for a low back injury since the back is stretched too much and strains the muscle. The forward lean is necessary for their bodies since it keeps them in balance; it keeps their center of gravity close to their base of support. They also tend to move the knees too far forward (usually over the toes) also increasing risk for knee injuries. Long-femured persons will also have trouble doing a deep squat.
How to squat successfully if you have a long femur
Even though we can’t change the parts of our body, there are ways to successfully perform a squat without getting injured.
Widen your stance - Normally, putting your feet shoulder-width apart is enough, but if you have a long femur, it is best that you assume a wider stance instead.
Point your toes out - Some people like their feet parallel, or pointing it straight forward, but to achieve that low, deep squat, you have to externally rotate your hips and point your feet and toes outwards.
Raise your heels - a good squat needs good ankle mobility. You can stand with your heels on a slightly elevated surface (just about an inch) to be able to achieve a deep squat with good ankle mobility
It can be a little bit challenging when you first try out an exercise regimen, especially if you normally live a sedentary lifestyle. To minimize mistakes and lessen your risk of injuries, try to practice first in front of a mirror a few times during an exercise. It also helps to be conscious of yourself and how your body parts are positioned. Effective exercise also needs a little bit of concentration. If you’re having a hard time doing exercises on your own, a Physical Therapist is a highly qualified professional that can surely help you out.
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About Evolve Physical Therapy-
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There’s physical therapy, there’s training, and then there’s EVOLVE. We use the science of biomechanics merged with fitness to help our patients get better and stay better!
First we evaluate, then we heal, then we strengthen our clients so they can reach their goals, feel better, and live happier lives. We do so by utilizing a range of core techniques and specialized treatments to reduce pain, improve mobility, enhance physical strength and deal with the underlying issues, not just the pain itself.