Installment 5 of our MOVE WELL TO MOVE OFTEN education series: Air Squat
This is a PURPLE corrective movement preparing for weighted squats, jump squats, leg press and box jumps. All five points of the kinetic chain are in play for squats – ankles, knees, hips, shoulder and neck. Most people have issues with more than one of the kinetic chain points which makes the squat a very complex move.
The basics of squats are feet hip width apart, toes forward (unless you have a longer femur bone, then toes may turn out slightly). Think of sitting back rather than bending down. Knees should track over toes and the chest should be up (not facing the ground). Ideally, sit low enough so elbow touch knees, BUT if you bend over to reach your knees rather than sit back, only go low enough to maintain proper chest position. Notice we can still see the logo on MIchael’s shirt at the bottom of the move.
Shoulders are not rounded but rather set back with shoulder blades engaged. The head and neck are neutral and in alignment with the spine. To return to a full standing position, think about your head leading the upward motion rather than your hips coming up and then the back straightens.
To progress the air squat, slow down the tempo and hold at the bottom for 2 seconds. You can also do intermittent squats: lower 1/2 way, pause; lower all the way to the squat, pause; raise only 1/2 way, pause; return to the starting position. Another progression is the goblet squat: hold a weight at the chest. Many people find it easier to squat with proper form when holding a weight because it cues their shoulders to remain engaged and improves the posture (avoiding a forward lean).