Today's Daily Tip
Assessing Range of Motion in Squatting Poses
When we stand straight with feet together, we unconsciously balance equal amounts of weight on the front and back of our feet. When we lean forward in the middle of the room, we bring much more weight in front, but we unconsciously move our hips backward just enough to counterbalance the weight of the torso. This is why we don't fall forward even when we hold our spines parallel to the floor. Our hips shift backward just enough to counterbalance the torso. When we are standing against the wall, it is impossible for us to shift our hips back. So when we lean our torsos forward, we fall.
What has this to do with the Squat? When we bend our knees and sink into a Squat, our hips shift backward. This must be counterbalanced by bending the knees forward. But we will only be able to bend our knees forward until the ankle has run out of ROM. After that, the only way to bend the knees forward is to allow the heels to lift.
You can demonstrate how the knees need to bend forward to counterbalance the hips by trying to perform a Squat while facing a wall. Stand facing a wall with your knees about six inches away from the wall. Now try to squat. Your knees will bend until they contact the wall. Then, if you try to squat further, you will fall backward because you have no forward counterbalance.
Knees or Torso
Shape of the Bones Limit the Ankle
What to Do?
You might also teach variations of the Squat done while balanced on the balls of the feet. This takes more strength and balance, but many students find it a pleasant alternative to doing Squats with the heels down.
Another option is to allow students to turn their feet out and open their knees wide. This makes it easier to lean the torso forward between the legs. This helps counterbalance the hips.
The final option is to just leave your students alone and encourage them to do the best they can, even if they are always going to lean forward when squatting.
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