Why do people squat differently and how hung up should we get on what’s considered a “correct squat”?
As Physio’s when we look at the way people squat, we’re always considering the basics first, the main two things that will affect the way someone squats.
This is reflective of soft tissue pliability / flexibility and everyone will be predisposed differently.
This is always modifiable and will be what Physios and coaches focus on in relation to improving someone’s squat.
This refers to the structure and alignment of your bones and joints. No two individuals are exactly the same and therefore it is normal that Physios expect people to move differently?
There are almost a limitless number of variations we can assess, but one of the most common variants we consider is whether or not your hips are retroverted (“normal” hip disposition) or anteverted, which is an increased angle of the femur (thigh bone) at the hip. This variation will often be a key reason people squat differently, and can be used to determine individually how a person should adjust their squat to maximise their performance and reduce injury risk.
To assess if you have significant hip anteversion or retroversion, Physios use a clinical test known as Craig’s Test (test video demonstration – https://youtu.be/Eg-Spe_ZL5Y).
If you are someone with a positive test, this does not mean you should avoid squatting but we would suggest you try adjusting both foot rotation angle and width of stance until you find which position allows you to feel comfortable throughout your squat. This is the “sweet spot” for your squat!
Hint: This will typically be a narrower stance if you have more anteversion.