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Assessing Ones Back Squat Pattern

I was recently reading the article titled “The back squat: A proposed assessment of functional deficits and technical factors that limit performance” that was published in the strength and conditioning journal in 2014 and thought I would briefly summarise some of the key take home messages.  For those of you who would like to read the article in full, please download it from the strength and conditional journal.

The squat is a very common movement that we perform often on a daily basis within our day to day lives and within the strength and conditioning and athletic performance sector, it would be rare to see some form of squat pattern omitted from ones training program.  From a clinical sense I will often use the squat and its many variations i.e. overhead, hands on head, hands in front, front squat, goblet squat, split squat as part of my assessment of ones movement to identify where one might be struggling with mobility, stability or control issues.  When used as part of a movement assessment process, we can start to understand how ones foot/ankle, knee, hips, spine, shoulder girdle/upper limb and head behave and interact with one another when moving and see where and how ones body might be compensating. 

Key Messages From The Article

  • When assessing the squat, be sure to observe from the front, side and behind as you will be looking at each region of the body (foot/ankle, knee, hip, spine, shoulder girdle and upper limb) move in all three planes of motion.
  • When looking to incorporate the squat as part of your movement screen, be sure to standardise the movement.  This could involve standardising it as mentioned in the article or perhaps creating your own specific process that you wish to be able to do in a repeatable manner.
  • Key regions that require observation include the head position, thoracic spine position, trunk position, hip position, knee position, tibial progression and foot position.
  • When assessing the squat we need to observe the squat descent, squat depth and squat ascent. 

For those who are keen to further delve into the squat and using it as an assessment tool, be sure to check out this article as it offers a wealth of knowledge and practical advice.

This blog post was written by osteopath Heath Williams of Principle Four Osteopathy.  At Principle Four Osteopathy we have an interest in strength and conditioning, exercise prescription and rehabilitation.  Services currently offered at our clinics include:  Osteopathy, Functional Movement Screening, Clinical Pilates, Strength and Conditioning Technique Assessments, Exercise Prescription and Rehabilitation consultations.

Principle Four Osteopathy is located across two locations within Melbourne.  Our clinics are located in the Melbourne City CBD near the corner of Little Bourke St and Elizabeth St as well as Melbourne Docklands on Bourke St. 

Find out more about our clinic or book an appointment at www.principlefourosteopathy.com.