Athletes around the world regularly perform weighted squats. Research has shown that squatting has a direct impact on your body’s power, which is the ability to overcome a resistance with speed (Loxtercamp, 2018). Therefore, squatting can result in great power and an increase in sprint speed. General benefits include increased flexibility, greater core strength, as well as protection from injury as a result of better coordination of the body.
However, squats have been known to cause unwanted low back soreness. Although squatting will work the muscles of the lower back, if the low back becomes the most targeted region during the squat, chronic soreness and overuse injury can occur. Previous injury to the lower back, poor technique, as well as weakness of the core or surrounding muscles can contribute to this overuse of the back muscles (Gordon & Bloxham, 2016). Barbell back squats are also the most common for causing back pain as the weight is loaded across the back (Loxtercamp, 2018). If you find this movement difficult, but still want to add weight to your squats, you may want to opt for goblet squats or front squats.
If you have any pain during exercises, or are unsure about what you are doing, please consult your local physiotherapist before continuing.
Gordon, R., & Bloxham, S. (2016). A systematic review of the effects of exercise and physical activity on non-specific chronic low back pain. Healthcare. 4(2). doi:10.3390/healthcare4020022
Loxtercamp, B. (2018). Influence of attentional focus on a weighted barbell back squat among experienced performers. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 50(1). doi:10.1248/01.mss.0000536504.18312.43
The two legged squat is a basic strengthening exercise that’s very effective in strengthening your ankle immediately after an acute ankle sprain for the first couple of weeks as long as you can fully weight bear on that ankle and foot and that there is no fracture from your sprain. Sometimes the ligaments can be torn and pull off a piece of the bone where it attaches and this is called an avulsion fracture. Scans such as X-rays will not necessarily show that there is a fracture if the ankle injury /sprain was recent. There are certain tests that your physiotherapist can do before getting an X-ray to determine that there is a greater likelihood of a fracture. So if you are unsure, I would suggest consulting your Physiotherapist before starting this exercise. Starting with tall posture, engage your core below the belly button by drawing the inner core muscles towards the spine making your waistline skinnier. Maintain normal breathing without arching the low back. With arms in a ready position do a two legged squat with your body weight distributed equally over both feet. Don’t go any lower than a ninety degree bend in the knees. keep your knees in alignment with your second toe and over your heels. Avoid the knee collapsing inwards. Hold for a good long second and then straighten back up with your butt muscles to the start. Do 3 sets of 10-15 repetitions daily.
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For the next article in the series: click here >>Ankle Injuries & Ankle Sprains: Gluteus Muscle Retraining
This exercise is a wall squat with a big ball. You are going to place the big ball up against the wall and have the low of your back up against the ball and you’re going to roll up a towel and place that between your knees and shimmy your feet out in front of you a little bit more while you lean up against the ball. You’re going to make sure your knee is in a line with your second toe, that you are squeezing the towel and you are keeping your core engaged. With your core engaged, while squeezing the towel, you are going to squat down so the knees are no more than 90 degrees and that they are over top of the ankles and you want to hold that for 10 seconds. You will feel the burn in your quads. Now you wan to do 3 sets of 10 of these. You will feel the burn in the quads more while you keep your core engaged and then you’re going to come back up and rest for 5 seconds between each rep.