Kayla Itsines' Bikini Body Guide - How to Do the Perfect Squat

Have you ever completed a leg day from Kayla Itsines' Bikini Body Guide workout and experienced  pain in your knees or low back ?   The workout contains a lot of a body weight squats but also a whole lot of plyometric exercises including jump squats and  tuck jumps. In order to do a jump squat, you should make sure you know how to do a regular bodyweight or air squat, otherwise, your knees will be in for a surprise.

kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide squat.jpg

Rule of thumb:  if can't do a squat, you shouldn't be doing a jump squat yet.

Do You Look Like Any of These? 

Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide Squat on toes.jpg       Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide rounded back squat.jpg       Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide Caved Knees.jpg

The  Toe Squatter                                   The  Zombie-Gorilla Squatter               The  Caving  Knee Squatter 

 

 

Most Common Squatting Mistakes:

Before we talk about doing a proper squat, we are going to look at  3 most common squatting mistakes that I see in clinic and at the gym.   There are many other ways to screw up the squat but I'm not going to list them all here! 

1. The Toe Squatter- Knees Over Toes

Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide Squat on toes.jpg

 

I probably see the knees over toes mistake the most when I watch someone squat. This type of mistake can orginate from a variety of reasons like limited range of motion from the ankle, a motor control issue or tight thighs and hips. If you've been squatting and doing jump squats like this, you've probably noticed that anterior knee pain.

 

2. The  Zombie-Gorilla Squatter  -  Flexed Thoracic Spine

Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide rounded back squat.jpg

This squat just looks really ugly. I mean, she looks like a gorilla-zombie of some sort. Why would you want to look like that while working out?! People who round their backs may not have the thoracic or shoulder mobility or motor control to keep their chest and torso upright.

 

3.The  Caving  Knee Squatter  -  Genu Valgus 

Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide Caved Knees.jpg
 

This is the most common  squatting  pattern that I see with young women age 15-25.   As the person squats, the knees have a tendancy to slowly migrate towards each other.  This position internally rotates the  femur (thigh bone) and the tibia (leg bone)  and  causes  more strain along the medial (inside)  portion of the knee and as well as the hips and low back.  Over pronation (fallen arches) and weak  hip stabilizers are usually part of the problem. 

How Do I Know If I'm Doing the Squat Properly?

Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide proper squat front view.jpg       Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide Proper Squat Perfect.jpg

 

Generally your feet should be about shoulder distance apart with a 5-10 degree turn out so that they don't need to be completely facing forward.   I usually tell my clients to place most of their weight into the middle of their foot.   If you place all your weight at the front, your knees will most likely go over your toes. If you place all of your weight along  your heels,  you're not going to get a lot of power in the position and  you might feel like you're going to fall backwards. 

As you start to descend into your squat,  squeeze your buttock and hamstring muscles.  When you activate the muscles along your backside (posterior chain) its like taking up the slack when you're trying to pull on a rope.  This will help  you maintain your posture and keep stable.   If you think about spreading the floor with your feet, that can help  activate your hip stabilizers as well. 

A very general guideline that I like to use is that your torso is approximately parallel to your tibia (leg bone)  as dispicted  on the right picture.   If you squat lower than parallel, then you will obviously need to lean forward a bit more but  this gives you a general idea of whether or not you are doing the squat  correctly.  Keep practicing the squat  until they are perfect and seek help if you're experiencing any pain!

Happy Squatting :) 

Jessie Wong, Physiotherapist 

 

 

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