*NOTE: Even as you are learning this movement early on, it is a good idea to use a MINI BAND around your knees for added hip engagement and strength.
This compound movement is about as good as it gets for targeting the entire body, especially the hips, legs and core/trunk.
You will begin your progression with this exercise with the most basic version of it. It is my belief that athletes need to first demonstrate the ability to perform a BASIC squat well, before moving on to more advanced progressions such as the Hindu Squat, or the Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat.
You should begin by placing your feet slightly wider than hip-width, toes turned out slightly. Find a comfortable position and make sure you watch the video closely for technique tips.
Make sure you keep your knees tracking over your toes as you descend. This is ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL to ensure you don’t train poor movement quality by allowing the knees to track inward toward the midline.
Also, important: Maintain the normal curvature (neutral) of your low back – do not allow it to round into what is commonly referred to as a “butt wink.” This places unnecessary stress on the spine and isn’t optimal. Engage your low ab and “stabilize”, maintaining the normal curve in the process. As soon as you feel yourself or see yourself losing the curve, stop. Go only as low as you can, maintaining a neutral low back position.
Lower down until your thighs are parallel to the ground. If you are unable to go this low with control, stop short of this position. Do the best you can, working on increasing the depth over time. Do NOT go below parallel. This is “not” a deep squat.
✓ Attempt to keep your trunk as UPRIGHT as possible. Avoid leaning forward as you drop down. If you find this is difficult, you will benefit from additional t-spine mobility. Work on this routinely with a foam roller and the help of a provider. Ask if you’re unsure.
✓ Your arms can be held in close to your chest or extended out to provide better balance. Either is ok.
✓ Keep your eyes up and look straight ahead, maintaining a neutral neck and head position.
✓ Keep your knees over your toes. Do NOT allow the knees to cave inward.
✓ Maintain tension in the legs, hips, trunk and core throughout!
✓ “Static stomp” your feet into the ground. Maintain firm pressure to engage the ground. *DO NOT LOSE the tension.
You NEED to bring the necessary focus and tension into this exercise in order to reap the benefits. It should almost be difficult to move once you’ve reached the bottom and require tremendous focus to reverse direction and start raising yourself up.
Watch and study the video for additional guidance.