Here at Modern PT, we treat a lot of patients with low back pain. Commonly, this type of injury can be caused by poor body mechanics with bending or lifting. The squat is a safe way to bend and lift items. Proper form with the squat is essential for protecting the low back from injury as well as allowing healing following an injury.
Here are tips to in order to perform a squat with appropriate trunk control and posture:
- Start with feet shoulder-width apart and toes pointed straight forward.
- Back should stay straight (neutral position), and your chest will naturally move forward as the buttocks move back.
- Knees should stay behind the toes (if knees are coming past the toes, stick the buttocks out further).
- Knees should remain shoulder-width apart, and should not "cave in".
- Keep your weight through your heels.
- Remember to contract the abdominals throughout the motion.
While slowly bending at the knees and hips, stick the buttocks out as you would when you sit down in a chair.
On the right is an example on how to properly perform a squat, and below are incorrect/correct examples of how to properly squat to lift or pick up objects.
Incorrect Lifting Technique
Correct Lifting Technique