The Pigeon Stretch is a mobility stretch that is performed throughout Crossfit boxes and gyms. The main goal of this drill is to improve hip mobility. It can be a very effective mobility drill if it is performed correctly and is “felt” in the proper areas.
A typical Pigeon Stretch looks like so:
Photo credit: https://dutchsmilingyogi.com/rajakapotasana-pigeon-pose/
Ideally, the stretch someone should feel when performing this movement is in the back of the hip, towards the glutes.
There are athletes and clients that do not feel it in this area. Sometimes, people will feel nothing at all. Other times, people will feel a “tightness” in the front of the hip or in the hip joint itself. With this particular movement, someone should not feel a “stretch” in the front of the hip since this tissue is on slack.
Typically, the reason why someone may feel the pigeon stretch in the front of their hip is because of their bony anatomy at their hip. Most people have two hip joints. But, between people and between right and left sides, the bony anatomy can vary. One hip joint may be more shallow compared to another. There may be more bony overgrowth one side compared to another.
photo credit: themovementfix.com
If someone is trying to force their hip into the pigeon pose, they may be feeling bony compression of the acetabulum onto their femoral neck. Ideally, someone should not feel the pigeon stretch in the front of their hip. There can also be bony changes that have occurred over time, such as cam and/or pincer lesions that could be altering the joint position and where the person feels the stretch.
Photo credit: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00572
Instead, there are various hip mobility drills that someone can perform to make sure they are feeling it in the correct areas.
Mobility drills such as:
Quadruped Hip ER Mobilization
Seated 90/90 Hip ER/IR
Seated 90/90 Hip ER/IR w/ Kettlebell
If you are not feeling the “Pigeon Stretch” in the back of your hip, in your glute, where you are supposed to feel it, make some modifications to your mobility program to feel it in the correct areas.
The Front Squat is a great movement. It may not be considered a powerlifting movement such as the back squat, but the front squat is a respectable measure of strength for any athlete or general population client. It is also a great movement for those who may have mobility limitations at the shoulder or core stability issues that may limit the depth on a back squat, but clean up during a front squat.
There are a few areas of the body that need to be firing on all cylinders when it comes to the front squat to make sure proper form is present.
These 4 areas are:
As with any squatting movement, the ankle is an integral part of the entire squat pattern. If an ankle lacks mobility on one or both sides, then this can significantly impact the foot, knee, hip, etc. and can place an athlete at risk to compensate or increase their risk for injury.
To determine if an athlete has adequate ankle mobility, use the Knee to Wall Test:
Ideally, 4 inches away from the wall, or 40 degrees is an adequate amount of ankle dorsiflexion needed for the squat.
If there is NOT adequate dorsiflexion present, check out my guest post on Dr. John Rusin’s site,
10 Exercises to Instantly Improve Ankle Mobility
on how to improve ankle mobility. If you have a structural change that limits your dorsiflexion or you wish to front squat while continuing to work on your ankle mobility limitations, wearing Olympic lifting shoes can be a short term fix.
The thoracic spine is another area of the body that needs adequate mobility in order to properly perform a front squat. If someone lacks sufficient thoracic spine extension mobility, it will be challenging for them to maintain an upright posture as the descend into the hole and attempt to return to standing.
A great thoracic spine mobility test is the Quadruped Passive Thoracic Rotation Test:
Ideally, we like to see 50 degrees both directions. If there is less than 50 degrees when tested passively, the mobility drills listed below can help improve thoracic spine mobility.
A-Frame Thoracic Spine Mobilization
Sidelying Rib Roll
Bench T-Spine Mobilizations
There are other various thoracic spine mobility drills, but those are some of my favorite “go-to” drills to improve mobility there.
If you are performing front squats with an Olympic lifting grip:
Photo credit: breakingmuscle.com
then a quick and easy test to determine if you have adequate elbow flexion is if you can touch your thumb to the front of your shoulder with your elbow at shoulder height.
As you notice in this picture, I am able to touch my thumb to the front of my shoulder in the racked position. If there are limitations in elbow flexion due to the tricep, specifically the long head of the tricep, individuals will not be able to touch their thumb to their shoulder with their elbow at shoulder height. Make sure to assess how it is shown in the picture.
If limited, try performing self-myofascial release (SMR) to the tricep with a lacrosse ball, foam roller, etc.
Wrist extension is also important if performing a front squat with an Olympic style grip. Being able to display sufficient wrist extension will allow for the bar to be able to rest in the hand and on the front of the shoulders.
If there is insufficient wrist extension or elbow flexion as mentioned in the previous section, this can cause compensations throughout the kinetic chain and place the athlete or client at an increased risk for injury.
To determine if there is sufficient wrist extension, use your other hand to gently extend your wrist back to see if the hand can reach the front of the shoulder.
If you can comfortably reach your shoulder on both sides as shown in the picture, then you present with adequate wrist extension for front squatting.
If there are limitations in wrist mobility, try performing some of these techniques to help improve wrist mobility:
If you are still having difficulty improving mobility at the elbow or wrist, try switching to a "Crossed Arm" Front Squat as shown in the video earlier in the article.
If you want to front squat with an Olympic style grip, make sure to optimize mobility at your ankle, thoracic spine, wrist, and elbow.
Foam rolling or “Self-Myofascial Release (SMR)” can help improve mobility, muscle activation, etc. When incorporated correctly, it can be an integral part of any dynamic mobility warm-up.
Far too often, athletes will perform SMR too quickly, for too long of a period of time, or with poor technique, and this can decrease the effectiveness of any type of SMR work.
Here a some quick tips to improve the effectiveness of your SMR work:
1. Maintain Good Technique
One common fault that is seen is when clients or athletes place their bodies in positions that decrease the effectiveness of their foam rolling.
One common example of this is when people perform foam rolling on their quads:
As seen in the top picture, the athlete is up on their hands with an arched back position. Not only does this decrease the effectiveness of the SMR work, but if someone is dealing with extension based low back pain, it could potentially make their symptoms worse. It can also perpetuate any type of movement dysfunctions that may be present.
By maintaining a neutral spine position as shown in the second picture, this will improve proximal core stability in an effort to improve distal quad mobility.
2. Incorporate Active Range of Motion
When performing SMR work, most people will go through the motions of moving up and down a desired muscle group and then move onto the next area.
SMR Without Active Motion
Instead, try incorporating active range of motion into your SMR work:
Active motion can be incorporated with any movement. By using active motion, it allows for “reciprocal inhibition” of the muscle you are performing SMR to. In other words, it helps to down-regulate the muscle you are working on or improve its ability to relax. By doing this, it improves the quality of your SMR work.
Also, by incorporating active motion into your SMR work, you are teaching your nervous system how to stabilize and be able to control the “new mobility.” When not incorporating active motion, the body has a difficult time understanding how to control this “new mobility” and will have a tendency to create “tightness” in adjacent musculature as a compensation pattern to attain stability and control.
3. Performing SMR for Too Long
SMR work should be performed with the goal to help prime the nervous system for good, quality, movement. Foam rolling should not be performed for long periods of time. Scar tissue is not being broken up. The jury is still out on what SMR actually does, but if there are improvements in mobility in a short period of time, neuro-modulation of tone is likely what is occurring.
If there are particular problem areas or areas that are prone to being “tight”, then spending up to 60 seconds is fine. For other non-problematic areas, 15-20 seconds at most will suffice. Remember, you are going to the gym to train and improve your physical fitness. Spending more than 10-12 minutes warming-up is taking away time from getting stronger and more fit.
4. Performing SMR Too Quickly
On the flip side, performing SMR work too quickly is also decreasing the effectiveness of the warm-up. When you are foam rolling, if you look like you are trying to start a campfire with the foam roller and your body, then you are performing SMR too fast.
Perform the movements under control.
There are 4 Quick Tips to Improve Your Self-Myofascial Release/Foam Rolling work. Give those a try to help!
Stretching and mobility work has its place. Some professionals believe it does nothing while others swear by it. Like most things, it depends whether or not an athlete or client needs mobility work. One drill that is common in athletes and gym goers programs is the hip flexor stretch.
Most often, it is performed like so:
Most people feel a stretch throughout the front of their hip, into their thigh, and occasionally throughout the low back.
The problem with performing a hip flexor stretch like so is that this places increased stress on structures in the hip joint itself, specifically the hip capsule/ligaments, bone, etc. Also, it is not as specific of a drill because it is not placing a sufficient stretch on the anterior hip musculature, specifically iliacus and psoas.
Clients and athletes will occasionally feel this stretch in their low back because this specific position places clients into an anterior pelvic tilt and increases the amount of lumbar spine extension. Again, another area where we don’t want to feel the stretch.
So, instead of cranking on the front of your hip and trying to feel a “strong” hip flexor stretch, what should you do?
Start in the typical hip flexor stretch position. Make sure your ear, shoulder, hip, and knee on the down leg are all stacked on top of each other.
Take both hands and press down into the leg that is in front of you. By doing this, it helps to activate your anterior core musculature and place you in a more neutral alignment.
Then, squeeze the trail leg gluteus maximus, which will also enhance posterior pelvic tilt, decreasing anterior pelvic tilt and placing more emphasis on the hip flexor musculature.
When performed like so, an adequate hip flexor stretch is felt without ever having to move the body forward.
So, if you or your athletes or clients are performing hip flexor mobility drills or stretches, try implementing this quick tip into their programming to make their mobility drills more effective.
Doing mobility drills is all the rage right now. There are people all over stretching, foam rolling, etc. There is definitely a time and a place for these types of modalities. They can all provide benefit when they are implemented correctly.
The shoulder is a common area that lacks mobility. Whether it be from repetitive overuse with activities in the gym or through sport or lack of activity, immobility can strike any person.
Far too often, individuals think that cranking their shoulder and arm in all different directions will help them improve their mobility.
This is not only ineffective, but can place increased stress on structures such as:
When performing any type of movement, whether it be mobility, motor control, or strength training, we want to be as effective as possible to get the most bang for our buck with our exercises.
First off, we need to assess if we have a true mobility limitation.
Try these movements to see:
-Arms should be able to reach table.
-Low back should be flat to table.
-Reach down and behind your back.
-Should be able to reach inferior angle of opposite scapulae
-May not be able to fully perform for overhead athletes.
-Reach up and behind your head.
-Should be able to reach superior angle of opposite scapulae.
-May not be able to fully perform for overhead athletes.
These are 3 quick and easy tests to determine if you have adequate shoulder mobility. As mentioned above, if you play an overhead sport ie. baseball, volleyball, swimming, etc., you may have bony changes that may contribute to limited ranges of motion.
If there are limitations in mobility, here are the top 4 mobility drills you can perform to help improve your shoulder mobility.
1. Standing Latissimus Dorsi Stretch
This stretch targets the latissimus dorsi. This is a common muscle that limits overhead motion. Limited mobility in this muscle can affect the shoulder, neck, thoracic spine, lumbar spine, etc. It can directly affect any type of overhead movements for sport or for lifting as well as impact function below the shoulder as well with effects on shoulder external rotation.
Key points with the Latissimus Dorsi stretch:
-Grab a stable object with the arm you are looking to stretch.
-Fixate the scapulae to the rib cage with the opposite hand.
-Gently lean backwards until you feel a gentle stretch in your lats.
Far too often, people will attempt to stretch their lats like so:
The problem with this type of movement is that is places a significant traction force throughout the shoulder and not only stretches the latissimus dorsi, but can place increased stress on the rotator cuff, labrum, etc. Areas we don’t want to stress with mobility drills. The question can be raised that the effectiveness at improving mobility to the latissimus dorsi is limited as well.
2. Standing Posterior Rotator Cuff Stretch
This stretch can be used to target the posterior rotator cuff musculature, specifically infraspinatus, teres major and minor. This is commonly used and seen with overhead athletes as well as in the weight training community.
The only major difference with the movement showed above is that more often than not, the scapulae is not fixated. As with the standing latissimus dorsi stretch, we want to make sure the scapulae is fixated to the rib cage to provide the most effective stretch.
In the video above, make sure to fixate the scapulae to the rib cage by pinning it using a door jam, corner of a squat rack/rig, or some other immobile object. Not fixating the scapulae can place unwanted stress elsewhere.
3. Pectoralis Minor Stretch
The pectoralis minor is another muscle that can greatly impact health and function at the shoulder. Due to its attachments at the rib cage and the coracoid process on the scapulae, it can anteriorly tilt the scapulae affecting the neck, shoulder, and thoracic spine.
A quick and easy static or dynamic stretch you can do is the Supine Pectoralis Minor Stretch:
You can also implement sliding of the arms up and down as shown in this Seated Wall Slide:
The benefit of being on your back is that gravity is placing a gentle stretch on the pec minor and incorporating active motion of the upper extremities helps with reciprocal inhibition of the pec minor due to activation of the posterior shoulder musculature.
4. Bench Thoracic Spine Mobilization
-Maintain a neutral spine/ribs down position.
-Sit hips back towards heels.
-Flex elbows and bring dowel towards you.
This last “shoulder” stretch can be used to help improve thoracic spine mobility, which is also important for shoulder function.
By placing the elbows on the bench and sitting backwards, you are placing a stretch on the latissimus dorsi. Then, through elbow flexion, the long head of the triceps will also have a stretch placed through it as well.
The long head of the triceps can also act to limit overhead shoulder flexion as well.
If you have limited overhead shoulder mobility, be sure to give the
Standing Latissimus Dorsi
Posterior Rotator Cuff
Supine Pec Minor
Bench Thoracic Spine Mobilizations
a try to help improve your overhead shoulder mobility.
Band walks can be seen throughout gyms and performance centers as a way to prep an athlete or client for the demands of the training session.
They can be used as basic strengthening for young or de-conditioned clients or as a general warm-up for higher level athletes. Far too often, lateral band walks aka hip abduction walks, are performed with poor technique.
Band walks or variations thereof are great ways to improve gluteal and core activation. When performed incorrectly, technique flaws can include:
Lateral Trunk Sway
Dragging of the Trail Leg
When these technique flaws are present, not only do they decrease the effectiveness of the exercise, but also ingrain poor movement patterns in athletes and clients.
Here are some tips to help clean up these technique flaws!
Lateral Trunk Sway
Clients and athletes can sway their trunk laterally for a variety of reasons ranging from poor body awareness to weakness on the stance leg.
One quick tip to improve this is by placing a kettlebell or dumbbell in their hand in the racked position.
By placing a kettlebell in the racked position on the stance leg, this can help to teach the client to maintain a neutral trunk position while moving the opposite leg.
Dragging of the Trail Leg
Dragging of the trail leg can occur when clients have weakness present in the stance leg as to not force the stance leg to work as hard.
A quick and easy cue to tell clients is:
“Don’t Drag Your Leg”
All kidding aside, another cue that works is to instruct the client to pick the non-stance leg up just enough to slide a piece of paper underneath.
By cueing the person to not drag the non-stance leg, this places more emphasis on the stance leg as well as helps to maintain good technique.
One of the most common technical errors when performing lateral band walks is when one or both knees going into knee valgus. This can also happen due to technical errors or weakness in the proximal hip musculature.
If someone is presenting with knee valgus, placing a band around the knees can help to cue them to maintain a neutral alignment.
If placing a band around the knees doesn’t help, verbally cueing the person to:
“Maintain the Knees Above the Ankles”
“Don’t Allow the Knees to Go Inside the Ankles”
Can help an athlete or client to maintain a good position.
Also, sometimes a band can be too strong/challenging for some athletes or clients. By decreasing the difficulty of the band can help to clean up form as well.
If you are performing lateral band walks with your clients and these technique errors are present, try these tips to help clean up technique and improve movement quality and performance.
The bridge exercise or variations thereof are common place in the rehab and personal training worlds. Physical therapists, personal trainers, etc. provide the bridging exercise for 3 sets x 10 reps until they are blue in the face. No doubt about it, the bridge can create glute and core strength.
The problem arises when the bridge is not progressed effectively. Having an athlete or client perform 3 sets x 10 reps of body-weight bridges will not get them better in the long run. Yes, initially they may see gains and improvement in strength, pain, and function, but without progressive overload, progress will plateau.
Progressions needs to be made in order for clients to continue to make progress and improve their function and performance on the court or field of play.
The bridging movement should be felt in the glutes and hamstrings. If it is felt in the low back, the athlete or client may not maintaining a neutral spine and/or may have decreased tissue extensibility in their hip flexors limiting passive and active hip extension.
Here is what a basic bridge looks like:
Bridges can be regressed to:
Band Assisted Bridging
Or progressed to:
Single Leg Bridges
Band Resisted Bridges or Hip Thrusts
Supine Barbell Bridge
If you don’t have a barbell, use a kettlebell, dumbbell, or weight plate to make the movement harder.
Also, performing barbell hip thrusters, single or double leg, are also another option as it increases the range of motion in order to perform the movement.
Single and Double Leg Hip Thruster
Weight can also be added to the hip thruster movement to make the movement more challenging.
Barbell Hip Thrusts
The main point with all of these movements is that good technique is performed. A neutral spine should be maintained throughout the movement and movement should be coming from a hip flexed position to a hip extended position.
Also, terminal hip extension should be achieved. If it cannot be, assess why and if so, refer out to a licensed medical practitioner or decrease the difficulty of the movement so the athlete or client can achieve terminal hip extension.
These bridging variations are great for clients with knee pain who may have difficulty loading their legs pain-free. By creating a more hip dominant movement with the movements above, this can still allow for a pain-free training effect.
If you are giving your athletes or clients countless reps of bridges, then progress the bridge to make it more challenging and to make your athletes and clients better!
There are aspects of the physical therapy and strength and conditioning worlds that are awesome. There are countless individuals out there working really hard to help people move and feel better. The passion that people have for the aforementioned fields as well as similar fields is amazing!
Far too often, physical therapists, personal trainers, and strength and conditioning coaches are prescribing their athletes or clients with the generic 3 sets x 10 reps for exercises. Now, don’t get me wrong, if someone has been progressing from 2 sets x 8 reps, to 2 sets x 10 reps, 3 sets x 8 reps, and up to 3 sets x 10 reps, then great!
Progressive overload is a wonderful thing! It helps to get people stronger and make progress in their rehab or training programs. The problem arises when it is always...3 sets x 10 reps! Not only is this boring, but it doesn’t allow the athlete or client to progress and make consistent gains if they are using the same weight and reps.
Individualize Your Programming!
Depending on the goals of the athlete, client, and/or rehab/fitness professional, reps and sets schemes can vary.
Whether someone’s goal is to be a powerlifter and are performing lifts in the 1-3 rep ranges, an athlete looking to gain strength using the 5-8 rep ranges, or someone training for a bodybuilding competition using 10-15 reps, the number of reps and sets needs to be taken into account to allow the person to get back to where they want to be.
In my opinion, no one should be deadlifting or squatting to absolute failure. If they are getting to the point where there is technical failure, then the lift should stop to avoid injury and reinforcement of poor movement patterns.
When performing deadlifts or squats, remaining under 6 total reps per set is safe as it allows for great technique since the lifter is only performing 6 total reps. The lifter isn’t attempting to grind out one last rep of 10-12 and their form is suspect.
For movements such as:
Single Leg Deadlifts
The system load is lower and an increased number of reps can be performed. Performing for sets of 6-12 reps is not unheard of.
Remember, going to technical failure is a much safer bet than going to absolute failure. As form starts to become less optimal, the risk for injury goes up.
Another way to adjust someone’s program is by assessing the total number of reps and tonnage being performed. For example,
2 sets x 10 reps @ 100 lbs = 20 total reps with a tonnage of 2000
3 sets x 8 reps @ 90 lbs = 24 total reps with a tonnage of 2160
4 sets x 5 reps @ 120 lbs = 20 total reps with a tonnage of 2400
In the aforementioned example, someone may lift more weight, but actually do less total work in regards to tonnage and total reps. In the 2nd example, the person is performing 4 more total reps with 10 fewer pounds, but with 160 more pounds of total tonnage.
In the 3rd example, more sets, but fewer reps than the first 2 examples. Also, more weight, and more total tonnage as compared to the 1st two scenarios. Depending on the person’s goals, reps, sets, weight, time under tension, rest periods can all be adjusted to affect progressive overload.
If you are consistently programming 3 sets x 10 reps for your clients or athletes, provide them with more value and adjust their reps and sets schemes to make greater improvements.
The Side Plank is a legitimate exercise to help improve core strength in the frontal plane. When done correctly, it is a great movement. More often than not, form is sub-par and can place the athlete or client at an increased risk for injury and/or decrease the effectiveness of the exercise.
Common mistakes that are seen with the side plank are:
Lateral Flexion of the Spine
Hips too Low
Poor Shoulder Position
If someone performs a side plank with these technique flaws, their back and/or shoulder will not become instantly injured. Over time, these technical flaws will have a tendency to creep up and eventually cause issues at the low back, shoulder, or some other adjacent joint.
Let’s dive into those mistakes and how to fix them!
Lateral Spine Flexion
Setting up in a poor position can cause the athlete to perform the exercise poorly. This is true with the side plank. Far too often, athletes will prop straight up into a side plank from the floor.
Even though the end position of the side plank may be great, the fact that the athlete went through lateral lumbar flexion to get there isn’t the best idea. I am not saying that spinal movement is bad. Spinal movement is good. Repetitively flexing the spine over time and/or under load is not good.
Instead of laterally flexing through the spine, try hinging through the hips!
By hinging through the hips and maintaining a neutral spine, this provides more benefit and less risk while doing the exercise. Plus, it forces the athlete to have to maintain a neutral spine during movement (going from the floor to the finished position).
Hips Too Low
Another area that can be an issue is when someone is maintaining a side plank position and their hips are too low or are below the mid-line of the body.
As stated before, this can place increased stress on the lumbar spine and adjacent structures. One purpose of core strengthening exercises is to make the core stronger. By allowing the hips to drop lower than they should be, this is decreasing the effectiveness of the exercise.
So, to determine if you are too low or not, you can videotape your side planks using an Iphone. You can also use a mirror at the gym to make sure that you are in alignment with the rest of your body.
You can also place a dumbbell under your down-side hip.
By doing this, if you drop too low, you will feel the dumbbell pushing into your hip telling you that you are out of position.
Poor Shoulder Position
Last, the one area that most people don’t think of when it comes to side planks is the shoulder. The shoulder is a key component to the position and control of the side plank. Often times, athletes will get out of position and allow their shoulder to “dump forward” or go into anterior humeral translation.
By doing this, it is similar when someone is doing a 1-arm row or dumbbell benching and allowing their elbows to go too far back.
This position in either the 1-arm row or side plank can cause irritation of the labrum, biceps tendon, rotator cuff, etc. Since it is loaded via body weight in a side plank, it can accelerate those issues.
Even if someone doesn’t have pain in this position, it can create faulty movement patterns and teach the athlete an improper way to stabilize at the shoulder.
To help clean that up, we want to make sure the shoulder and elbow are in alignment vertically with one being on top of the other. As well as the elbow and shoulder being in alignment with the rest of the body at the finished position of the side plank.
One way to help an athlete maintain the proper position is to instruct them to keep their shoulder “down and back” as also instructed during rowing variations. It does not have to be an aggressive “down and back”, but a small movement of the scapulae to get into a better position.
Another way to help an athlete is by using their other hand and placing it on the front of the shoulder to ensure that there shoulder remains in a good position. If their shoulder is out of position, they will feel it via their hand.
If you or your clients are having trouble performing side planks with proper technique, try implementing some of these cues to clean up their technique.
The squat is a great movement for improving strength, power, etc. Often times, athletes experience pain in the ankles, knees, hips, low back, and/or shoulders. There are a multitude of reasons why someone may experience pain ranging from sub-par technique to bony or soft tissue limitations.
If you are squatting and have tried foam rolling your quads or worked on improving your hip mobility, then there may be a few other options you haven’t tried to decrease strain at adjacent joints so that you can squat effectively and pain-free.
*Remember, if these tips don't help and you are still having pain, make sure to seek out a licensed medical provider.
Here are 3 Quick Tips for Pain-Free Squatting
1. Widen Your Stance
Not everyone is created equal. Not everyone is made to squat shoulder width apart. Due to bony, capsular, and soft tissue limitations or differences between right and left legs as well as between people, squatting shoulder width apart may not be feasible for all people.
If squatting shoulder width apart causes pain, doesn't allow for adequate depth, or feels awkward, try moving your feet out 1 inch per side. Try again. If that doesn’t feel good, try going another inch. Then another. Try squatting after each change and see if there is an improvement.
2. Toe Out!
As mentioned before, not everyone is made to squat shoulder width apart. With that being said, not everyone is made to squat with their toes straight ahead. There is a myth that you must squat with your feet pointing straight ahead. As mentioned before, due to soft tissue, capsular, or bony changes, squatting with the feet straight ahead may not be an option.
Try squatting straight ahead. If that doesn’t work, slightly turn your feet out.
You can toe out slightly more if that feels better. As mentioned before with width, there comes a point where there is diminishing returns and toeing out too much can actually decrease your ability to move as much weight as possible and can place you at an increased risk for injury.
Let’s not sway the pendulum too far in one direction and squat with the toes completely pointing out to the sides of your body. Find the right position for you.
If your squat feels better and you can squat more effectively with your toes slightly turned out, then try incorporating that into your training.
3. Two Feet, Two Different Positions
Lastly, not everyone is made to squat with their feet in the same exact positions right versus left. Some athletes have differences in their hip structure right versus left that need to be appreciated. Some clients or athletes may have more or less hip internal rotation on one side versus another and squatting with a leg slightly externally rotated more may feel the best for them.
So, if you are squatting and something hurts or doesn’t feel right, trying turning your feet out, widening your stance, performing your squat slightly different side to side, or a combination of these!
Here I will be writing and posting about topics ranging from physical therapy, injury prevention/reduction, and strength and conditioning.