If there is one exercise to master, it is the squat. Chances are, as a mum, you have an abundance of opportunities to squat in daily life, so let’s maximise this opportunity for some great glute activation while connecting with our core and pelvic floor in an optimal way.
Here are my top five tips for getting the most out of your squats:
This can be a rather personal thing when squatting. People have different shaped hip sockets that can make some squats more comfortable than others or allow some people to have greater range in a certain stance than others. Most people prefer to have their feet at shoulder width, if not a little wider. Also, you may find it more comfortable to turn your toes out slightly which will allow for the weight to be in the heels and a deeper range of motion. It is also recommended that women with prolapse use a narrower stance so that the pelvic floor isn’t as stretched (and compromised) during the movement.
How we breath when under load has a big impact on our pelvic floor. For our squats we want to inhale on the way down and exhale on the way up. It will give you more power as you come up and help lift the pelvic floor rather than pushing down on it during the exertion part of the movement.
3. The Movement
There are usually two errors I see made with posture during the squat. Either mums tip forward too much when they come down into their squat so they are hinging at the hips, or they are keeping too upright and flaring their ribs out with an arch in the lower back. Think about staying tall as you squat but keeping your ribs down. Also, aim to keep your knees behind your toes as you squat down and push through your heels to come up.
When I was first being trained as a PT at 16 years of age, my mentor was big on visualising the muscle/s you are wanting to work. It stuck with me and is possibly why I have always had the ability to activate a muscle on request. Very handy at the physio. Here is a visualisation for your squats. As you descend into the squat inhale and imagine the weight being back in your heels, as you exhale visualise pushing down through your heels, lifting up through the pelvic floor and squeezing the buttocks.
5. Exercise selection
There are a plethora of squat exercises to choose from so you are bound to find some faves. Narrow squats, sumo squats, split squats (aka lunges), single leg squats, etc, etc. Listen to your body, check in with your pelvic floor and pick the squat that feels good for you.
Squats are a movement for life. We have opportunities to use them in everyday activities and are vital to remaining active as we age. My love affair with the humble squat started during my recovery from prolapse surgery. I was still having incontinence issues and didn't see any significant improvement until I got my squat technique right. I was hooked.
Here are the main physiological reasons why squats are a MUST DO exercise.
Check back this week or join our closed group on Facebook for more tips on tuning your squat technique.
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