“Squatting is bad for your back,” this is one of the more common things I hear from patients and it is normally relayed to them by a health professional. It is also complete nonsense. Squatting is a completely healthy and normal movement that if done properly is an extremely powerful exercise.
Obviously, there are certain individual situations that warrant a modification or removing the exercise from your current regimen such as a recent surgery, acute herniation, etc. Pain, however, is not necessarily a contraindication to performing the movement. Pain is normally an indicator that there may be a compensating strategy or an overuse of muscles that aren’t supposed to be overactive during your squat. Similarly, you may want to reevaluate the amount of weight you are squatting. If you are having pain please consult your local health practitioner (chiropractor, physical therapist) to find the cause and the fastest way to get you back to working out pain free.
The squat is one of the foundational movements of development. It fully integrates the body’s ability to build intraabdominal pressure, hip hinge, and create stability via glute and lower body development. If there is a deficit in the body movement system there will be an incorrect compensating strategy from the body as a result.
I like these pictures because they illustrate one of the most important parts about the squat in my opinion…having a neutral spine and the knees not extending. This
Having a neutral spine position combined with intraabdominal pressure has been shown to be the best way to stabilize your spine and prevent injury. Squatting is a normal fundamental movement that we should be able to do as part of exercise or daily life.
*Baby squat picture taken from Performance U website