Squat like a baby?
How many of you have heard this before?
A common cue in the fitness industry is "squat like a baby", but how much merit is there to this cue?
As a baby, our body is made up of 300 bones at birth and over the years, as we grow and mature they fuse together to make the 206 bones in the adult body. So, with this in mind, how can an adult squat like a baby?
We have structures that physically stop us from doing so. When a baby squats they have the flexibility/extensibility to move their bodies into weird positions and not to mention the massive height difference between us. If you base a squat on a babies anatomy. YOU ARE AN IDIOT!
Now, let us look at a squat.
We are told the human body needs to squat at parallel. What does this mean?
The idea is to have the upper leg parallel with the floor or below the butt. But are everybody's bones, ligaments and muscle the same?
The answer is no. We are all different.
If you have a long femur and a short torso, you will not squat below this imaginary line the industry has made up.
Other factors that can impact a persons squat are:
As you can see, so many factors can contribute to a persons ability or inability to squat low. If you are a personal trainer you need to know this or you may risk causing a client injury.
We are told to stretch and do other exercises to increase range of motion, but you will not increase range of bone hitting bone. Something else will have to compensate for that range e.g butt wink.
Nobody is the same and squat types can also vary from person to person. Some people like to go wide and some have a very narrow stance. The angle of your femur to hip joint socket will dictate this. There is no way we will ever know this without using an x-ray machine, so the best way we can assess this is by testing an individuals range in the different stances.
How we assess this is by looking at the point of the range a "butt wink" starts to happen. This will be the end range of an individuals squat.
Does everyone need to squat?
Absolutely not! A person only needs to squat if they do power-lifting.
There are many ways to train legs without squatting.
Use the leg press, leg extension, hamstring curl, calf raises... the list goes on.
Look at your options and build your workout based on your body and its needs.
Squat image sourced from:
Elyse and Marty