When people think of doing squats, every seems to be very concerned with whether their knees go over their toes. That seems to be the biggest thing people are worried about however very few people are concerned with standing correctly before beginning the exercise. Without the proper posture before beginning the squat you will not be getting the most effective workout and you may also be setting yourself up for serious injury, not of your knees but of your back.
Most people never consider their posture in standing. We have been standing since we were a year old how hard can it be? What can we be doing wrong? The truth is though that we do not stand the same way we did when we first learned to stand, we have developed poor habits over the years and truth be told most people stand incorrectly. Poor posture is the main reason why people have low back pain.
Here are some keys points to do in order to stand in correct posture. These points should be done before each lift to put the spine and muscles in optimal position and increase the effectiveness of your workout.
- Stand in front of a mirror, facing sideways. As you get better at this you can skip this step.
- Roll your shoulders up, back and drop them down. One of the most common mistakes people make is when they try to put their shoulders in the correct position, they over correct and wind up making things worse by trying to stick their chest out.
- Try to center your head on your neck. Most of us sit with our neck forward. Stick your chin as far back as it can go, then try to tuck it back as far as it will go. Find the middle and that is where your neck should be.
- Next is the pelvis and this is the trickiest. This part may require seeking physical therapy in order to learn how to do this. This is a very important step and not being able to do this could mean you are setting yourself up for injury. First you need to tuck your pelvis under, without bending your knees. Then stick your butt all the way out. Find the middle of these two extremes and that is where your pelvis should be positioned.
- The knees are last. Stand with your knees slightly unlocked. Never have your knees locked. You will start to rely more on knee ligaments when you knee is completely straight, causing injury.
It is important to follow proper posture when lifting especially since at times you are loading your spine that can cause a herniated disc. If you experience any pain during lifting you should see a physical therapist immediately. After awhile standing like this will become second nature and you will not need to think of it and you will save yourself a lifetime of injury.