Body proportions can affect torso positioning in the squat, stance width and angling of the toes, this is why there is no “one size fits all squat”. Textbooks are great at teaching us proper technique, but what they don’t take into account is the role our anatomy can take in the way we move. Hopefully the images above and this explanation will help further clarify these points. Dr. Ryan DeBell of The Movement Fix (@themovementfix) wrote a great article discussing how hip anatomy changes squat mechanics and inspired me to make this follow up post.
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Besides mobility, anatomy differences can explain why some people can easily squat deeper than others, why some point their toes out and some don’t, why some have a harder time keeping their chest up, why some squat wide and some squat narrow. Anatomical differences will dictate form and comfort of the athlete. Pic 1- the orientation of the acetabulum (hip socket) varies greatly
Pic 2- the angle between the shaft and the ball is greater in one femur than the other
Trying to force a movement pattern upon someone who’s anatomy isn’t conductive for it will lead to less than optimal movements . If the athlete is uncomfortable in their stance despite how much mobility work they do, take a step back and look at their anatomy. As long as their technique follows basic rules and they aren’t putting themselves in a compromised position, their form should be dictated by comfort rather than the textbook. Here we see the perfect example of two very different- yet very effective squatting techniques by @hulksmassh and @phdeadlift; depth is good, movements is coordinated and controlled, no major knee caving and spine remains neutral.

-By Dr. Stefanie Cohen, DPT

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