Hip Mobility & Squat Assessment: Finding YOUR correct Squat Stance!

The Discovery channel has “Shark Week” and I’ve been doing “Squat Week.” So it’s only fitting to combine the two. What do you know about SHARK SQUATS?

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Thanks to Marc Spataro for sending me this 🙂

Today is my third and final installment to this series of Squat Week. If you missed the first two posts:

Learn more about Squat Bar Position to discover the best Bar Placement for Squats.

Go here to learn The Best Type of Squat for Your Height.

Hip Mobility & Squat Assessment: How to find YOUR correct Squat Stance!

Many coaches like to argue for or against different types of squat stances; wide stance vs. feet under hips, toes turned out vs. feet straight, etc.

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At performance U, we’re not concerned with trying to figure out which type squat stance is best – We’re concerned with finding out which squat stance(s) is best for you!

Our clients come in all shapes and sizes (i.e. different structures). And, since structure determines function – We think it’s unrealistic to expect people of different structures to move (i.e. function) in the same manner.

In other words, we don’t believe in a one-size fits all approach to assessing or training the squat, or any other exercise/ movement for that matter.

Here’s a quick and easy squat assessment (and hip assessment) used by hip rehab expert, Phil Malloy PT, which has helped us to find the safest and most comfortable squat stance for our clients & athletes, based on each individual’s hip structure and function.

Phil Malloy was one of the presenters at the Northeast Seminars – Hip & Trunk Symposium where we shot this video.

 To expand a bit on what Dr.Malloy very briefly mentioned in the video (above) about “over-coverage” and “under-coverage” in the hips:

–       People with a potential hip external rotation limitation may do better with a more parallel stance, or in certain cases; a slightly internally rotated squat stance.

Note:  if we found someone who could only squat with partially internally rotated hips, we would find a different exercise option because we’re not comfortable squatting high-loads in that position.

–       People with potential hip internal rotation limitations may do best squatting with a more externally rotated foot position and a wider stance.

–       If you have zero hip limitations, you have the option to mix up your squat stance for training variety.

Words of “Corrective Exercise” Wisdom from a Top Physical Therapist!

Keep in mind that Dr. Malloy mentions (in the video above) that he doesn’t try to fix, rehab, adjust or correct the squat movement pattern in anyone without first getting an X-ray to find out what they’ve got going on inside their body.

This strategy makes perfect sense to us because moving in a way that goes beyond (or against) your body’s structure is likely to hurt you. And, along with Phil Malloy and his colleagues, we’re not willing to risk potentially pushing our clients beyond the limits of their structure simply because we got overly preoccupied with using a specific (predetermined) type of squat movement pattern that we adopted from a single school of though or training system.

Different doesn’t = Dysfunctional!

It’s important to note that NOT all hips joints are designed the same. Meaning, you can be pain free, have no medical issues and have no any structural abnormalities, but STILL move differently than other individuals.

As Dr.Stuart McGill says, “The depth of the anterior labrum of the hip joint acetabulum is a major determinant of the ability to squat deeply.”  

In other words, there’s is NO one “normal” hip structure, just lots of variations of normal.

Dr.McGill recommends another simple hip joint assessment for finding optimal your Squat Stance:In order to find the optimal hip width (or amount of standing hip external rotation), have the athlete adopt a 4-point kneeling stance. From neutral, rock or drop the buttocks back to the heels. Mark the angle at which spine flexion first occurs. Then repeat with varying amounts of space between the knees. Look for the optimal knee width that allows the buttocks to get closest to the ankles without any spine motion. This is the hip angle that will produce the deepest, and ultimately the highest performance squat.”

At Performance U, Training & Screening is a Moving Target!

We like use simple movement assessments like what we shared in the video because they help us to remain open-minded; to better personalize our programs; and to not trick ourselves into thinking that we know the training/movement answers before we even find out what the question are, simply because we read a book or took a course.



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