The squat is a classic. It's a functional movement that involves some of our largest and most important muscle groups in our cores, backs, and legs. Squats also happen to be incredibly painful for people with neck, lower back, knee, or ankle issues. The reasons for this pain vary greatly depending on the person and the ailment, but fear not! There are always alternatives. Included here is your Pain-Free guide to squatting alternatives.
Begin lying on your back with your knees bent and feet on the ground. Tilt your pelvis so that your lower back pushes into the ground. Drive through your heels, squeeze your glutes and let your hips lift off the ground. Hold for 10 seconds, and lower back down slowly. Keep your core tight and your rib cage "locked down" during this movement to avoid arching the back.
Lateral Leg Drives
Begin side-facing a box/bench/curb/etc.. Place your right heel on the raised surface slightly in front of you. Pull your belly button into your spine, wiggle your toes (so your heel stays down), drive your heel straight down and stand up to a single leg balance. Lower yourself down in a slow and controlled manner. Tips for balance: pick a focal point and pull your bellybutton into your spine.
It's VERY important during this movement to keep your weight back in your heel. Reach your butt back and feel the back of your leg and glutes engage.
Begin facing a box/bench/curb/etc.. Place your right heel on the raised surface. Wiggle your toes, drive through your heel, pull your bellybutton in and step up so that your left foot lands next to your right. Lower yourself down in a slow and controlled manner.
Tips for balance: pick a focal point and pull your bellybutton into your spine. It is VERY important here to keep your weight back in your heel and keep your chest up as much as possible. Drive your heel down and try to feel the muscles in the back of the leg and glute working.
Begin standing upright with your feet about hip width. Take a step back with your right leg, drive through your front heel, bend both legs and travel straight down. Pull your bellybutton into your spine and pick a focal point that's not moving. Drive through your front heel and return your back leg to the starting position.
Questions? Send me a DM @pain_free_fitness!