Squatting is a very functional movement pattern and in order to ensure you do not hurt your back or your knees you want to do it correctly.
- Start in a standing position
- Push your weight backwards (stick your butt out)
- Butt goes back, chest comes forward
- Bend your knees to lower yourself to the ground
- Do not let your knees go past your toes
- Then squeeze your butt to bring you back up to stand
- Butt comes forward, chest goes back
If you do not shift your weight back and instead go straight down, your knees will shift forward over your toes. This will shear the cartilage under your knee cap and this repetitive movement can lead to an onset of knee pain.
While squatting, you also want to ensure you are keeping your spine straight and bending at the waist not at the spine. You can practice this by placing a pole along your spine with 3 points of contact (head, between the shoulder blades, butt). If you allow you spine to arch in (lumbar extension) you may compress your spine too much. If you allow your spine to arch out (lumbar flex) you can put too much stress on the muscles.
When performing lifting techniques you want to lift with your legs and not your back. Keeping a neutral spine and bracing your core while lifting can help to protect your spine and prevent injuries.
Your physical therapist can help to ensure you have good form with these techniques to reduce your risk of injury.