Squat Progressions

I was recently reading the article titled “A Teaching Progression For Squatting Exericses” that was published in the strength and conditioning journal in 2011 and thought I would discuss the key messages. The squat is a fundamental movement that we as humans perform everyday to function.  In the strength and conditioning realm the squat is also commonly used as a primary exercise to develop strength and power in the lower body.   At Principle Four Osteopathy we will often have our clients squat to assess for movement quality as well as to further develop and improve mobility, stability and motor control.

Key Messages From The Article

  • The squat is a common exercise prescribed within the strength and conditioning field and has been shown to improves ones lower body strength, jumping and sprint performances.
  • There is mixed opinions on how the squat should be performed.
  • Use of exercise progressions can be useful when wanting to develop ones ability to perform a squat.
  • The plate squat (resting a plate on the head and holding with the hands in front) is a great starting point to teach one to maintain and upright trunk position when moving through the squat movement.  The plate squat is also a great way to assess for ones mobility or stability limitation.
  • The overhead squat (holding a bar overhead) is another great way to progress ones squat and now requires greater upper limb and spine mobility and control.   The overhead squat can also be used to help identify ones mobility, stability or motor control limitations.
  • The front squat (barbell resting on ones deltoids and holding with the hand with a clean grip) is the next progression.  This requires a greater range of hand/wrist and upper limb mobility.  The front squat also requires an individual to maintain an upright trunk position.  The front squat is a great movement to perform to further assess ones mobility, stability or motor control.
  • The back squat (bar placed across the shoulders behind the neck) is the next progression. The article states that this should only be taught once an individual is able to safely perform a front squat with load.
  • There is much debate around stance position, bar position, depth of squat and load with squatting.

From a clinical perspective I would argue that there is no right or wrong way to perform a bodyweight squat as from a functional position we are always changing our stance and body position.  Often with our clients we will look to train ones ability to squat in a variety of ways as long it does predispose them to injury or aggravate any existing conditions.  When it comes to using the squat in the strength and conditioning field, often we will look to prescribe a squat that is safe, suits their individual needs and biomechanics and allow them to achieve their goal.  Ultimately the squat will be used to improves ones strength and power and should be used to help them achieve their specific goal without injury.

This blog was written by Osteopath Heath Williams of Principle Four Osteopathy.


Principle Four Osteopathy

Principle Four Osteopathy is one of Melbourne City CBD leading Osteopathy clinics. At the clinic we treat a wide range of clients, ranging from the office worker, exercise enthusiast to athlete. We have 3 experienced osteopaths working across both of the clinics.

The Melbourne City CBD clinic is located at 29 Somerset Place (basement), close to the corner of Elizabeth St and Little Bourke in the Melbourne City CBD. Our premises adjoin the Jon Weller Personal Training Studio, a fully-equipped training space which allows clients to combine their osteopathy treatment with exercise tutorials or specific training programs and rehabilitation.

The Docklands clinic is located at 717 Bourke St (Ground Floor), beneath the Channel 9 building near the walkway from Southern Cross Train Station to Etihad Stadium. Our premises adjoin Pilates on Bourke, a fully-equipped pilates and yoga training space which allows clients to combine their osteopathy treatment with exercise tutorials, pilates or specific training programs and rehabilitation.

To speak to an Osteopath or book an appointment at Principle Four Osteopathy, please book online or call 03 9670 9290.