As I mentioned in my last post about hip extensor strength, the low back (specifically a healthy low back) is dependent on the strength of the legs and hips. After you have mastered the hip extension exercises, it is time to add body weight squats to your daily exercise plan. When starting to perform squats you will need to remember these easy tips; 1) keep your back flat (never rounded) 2) make sure your knees do NOT migrate over the front of your toes 3) keep your knees from moving toward each other. If you break any of these rules, it is considered a “failure” of the exercise and you need to drop back to the previous step until you can perform the squat, without your back rounding, your knees moving forward, or collapsing into each other.
IF you have any of those 3 failures click this link. Dr.T’sHipExtensionblog
Progression 1: the Basic
You may start with a ballet barre, or bar height counter for stability. Your feet should be shoulder width apart. Lightly hold the bar (no choke holds or deathgrips) the barre is only to help in stability and form, it is not to assist in the exercise or to help you cheat.
The most basic squat can still be very difficult, so do not be discouraged if this takes some practice. If you do not feel stable, place a chair (not a rolling chair) behind you to catch you if you lose balance or can not stand up after a squat. When performing a squat, 1) stick your butt out, and push your chest up, this will keep your low back flat. 2) “sit back” as if you were sitting down into a chair.
From here try adding some variety, stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width and toes turned out slightly. Alternate with different foot spacing, as it will target different “sections” of the thigh muscles and gluteus muscles.
The split squat isolates the rectus-femoris more so than a traditional squat. A split squat also aids in core stabilization due to the akward position you are forced to stand in. Like the traditional squat, do not let your front knee pass over the toe. be sure to step back in a split stance, then focus on lowering your back knee toward the floor.