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  • Mitchell Rothbardt

Squats 101

Hello! This week I want to talk about the squat. I know I already wrote an article about the squat in August 2009, but it’s time to expand and use new technologies! Like my video blog! I want to talk about the squat because there may not be a more bastardized exercise. There are also some misconceptions, such as squatting being bad for your knees. (It’s not. In fact in can actually be good for them.)

Here’s the truth: There isn’t another exercise that uses the amount of muscle the squat uses while also involving such an important movement pattern.

A proper squat involves the calves, hamstrings, quadriceps, hips, glutes, core, spinal erectors, and upper back. In other words, nearly every muscle from the neck down in one way or another. A proper squat also involves something called a hip hinge. A hip hinge is a movement that involves moving the hips back and forth without changing the position of your upper body.This is important because the ability to move your hips like this takes pressure off our backs and knees. I’ve had clients experience immediate improvement with knee pain just by learning this movement.

OK, enough blathering. It’s time to tell you how to do it. First, stand up. Easy, huh? (You’ll find that the most effective exercises are usually done standing, for the simple reason that you use more muscles standing than sitting.) Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width, your toes pointed slightly outward and most of your weight on your heels. Take a deep breath of air into your chest and, keeping your chest up, tighten your core. Find a spot just above eye level and without taking your eyes off of it, push your hips back as if you are sitting down. From here, continue to push your hips back and descend between your heels until the top of your thighs are parallel to the ground. Come back up by pushing through your heels. Make sure you keep a tight core and chest.

That’s it. You’ll find that this movement tests things that you might not have thought about. You also might find that you can’t go too far down at first. That’s fine. Go down as far as you can while maintaining the upper body position I described. Keep working on it and you’ll improve sooner than you think.

In my video blog at I’ll show you how to perform a good squat. I’ll also demonstrate some variations you can use to exercise around injuries and help you get back to good health. If you have any questions please email me at or give me a call at 510-754-7113.

-from the Castro Valley Forum, Feb 9 2011

Mitch Rothbardt, CPT 510-754-7113 Discover Your Strength!

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