If you've ever been part of a group fitness class, gym class, or team that required everyone to perform wall squats, you might have noticed something.
No two people were doing the wall squat the same way.
Some people had their feet really close to the wall, while others had them really far away.
Some people had their arms on their laps, while others had them to their side.
Some people had their legs really wide, while others had them really close together.
The fact of the matter is that all of these people were doing a different exercise that emphasized different muscle activation patterns and fatigued different muscles more quickly.
Zach and I are kicking around the idea of starting a "Principles In Movement" series that helps people to match the intent of the exercise with the execution of the exercise.
If we are going to work our butts off working out and rehabbing, we better make sure we are accomplishing the things we set out to accomplish.
So, let's take a look at the wall squat and figure out how to do just that.
The intent of the wall squat is to train the muscles of the upper leg (hamstrings, quads, abductors, adductors, glutes, etc.) and core to work synergistically to support the upper body in hip flexion and knee flexion.
When we train this properly, we can re-program the body to utilize muscles optimally, eliminate compensation patterns, and reduce stress/pain throughout the kinetic chain.
In order to perform this exercise with intent, here's what needs to happen.
Position your feet approximately the length of your thigh away from the wall. The goal is for your heels to be directly under your knees when you pull into your squat. The feet should also be approximately hip width.
Click the image to watch a video designed
to help you visualize proper wall squat form:
Keeping your feet in this position, lean back to the wall (using your arms for support if needed). Once back to the wall, try to flatten your back against the wall to create a neutral spine (this may take a good deal of core activation/lengthening).
Maintaining the foot position and contact with wall described, pull the hips down and back into the wall, activating the hamstrings. The weight should be distributed so that you can push straight down into the ground with both heels evenly. Work only in a range of motion in which you can maintain a neutral spine and the ability to push down through heels. Breathe through your diaphragm and keep the upper body relaxed.
Possible Compensation Patterns To Look Out For (These will keep you from accomplishing the main intent of the exercise):
The most important take away from this article is to exercise with intent. Know what you are trying to accomplish, how you will accomplish it, and then work like heck to make sure you're executing. If you're not, slow down or modify your exercise. If you exercise in this manner, you will see gains in strength, mobility, and decreases in pain.
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About the Author
Evan Lewis is a nationwide leader in Neuro Therapy and founded the Baltimore area's only specialist Neuro Therapy facility.
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