Thoughts on Squatting

The following blog entry was written by SPI Fitness strength and conditioning coach/personal trainer, Sean Trait. Sean graduated from SUNY Brockport with his degree in Exercise Physiology, is an ACSM-HFS (American College of Sports Medicine Health and Fitness Specialist), and is also pursuing his Doctorate in Physical Therapy at Utica College.

Should You Squat?

In short, the answer is yes.  If you are physically capable to perform a squat with correct form, you should definitely incorporate it into your workout routine.  It is a complex movement that utilizes some of the largest muscles in the human body and can be used for both strength athletes as well as those looking to lose weight or decrease body fat, as it requires a large amount of energy to perform.  Although there are many folks on the internet describing the pitfalls or dangers of the squat, there are so many benefits to be reaped by performing it, and the dangers can be minimal to none when proper form is used.

A major concern when squatting is the amount of loading on the patellar tendon.  The force transmitted through the patellar tendon is up to seven times one’s body weight plus the external load used.  As you can see, this could be a potential cause for injury, but only if you are squatting incorrectly!

Most people do not pay attention to where their knees track during a squat.  When the knees track well over the toes into excessive dorsiflexion, the stresses put on the patellar tendon can become much greater than the seven times loading normally placed upon the patella due to the change in the angle of pull of the tendon.  This can be avoided by making sure when squatting to initiate the hips back first in the movement.  By doing this, you will decrease the amount of dorsiflexion taking place at the ankle required to reach parallel, and in turn decrease the amount of stress placed upon the tendon.

Another major issue that many folks raise is squat depth.  On youtube and Instagram, you see numerous people posting videos of them performing “ATG” (Arse to Ground/Grass) Squats and advocating that this is the appropriate depth for all to perform.  This is all fine and dandy for those  possessing the hip mobility to do so, but it is completely unnecessary to squat more than 10 degrees below parallel.  At a squat depth between 80 and 100 degrees, you are putting the muscle within the optimal range of muscle length for both the hamstrings and the quadriceps.   At this depth is where both groups of muscles will be able to produce their greatest force.  So when training for strength or muscle growth with ATG, you would have to decrease the load used in order to get out of the hole at the bottom, which causes you to do less work because although you are moving through a greater distance, you are producing a lower force.  When squatting ATG, you also increase the risk of the knees tracking too far out past the toes, especially in individuals who have limited hip mobility and compensate by having more dorsiflexion at the ankles.  This will put unnecessary stress upon the structures of the knee.

One last concern that people raise is that of collapsing knees.  If you are squatting and your knees cave in towards the middle of your body, you are creating a valgus force upon the knee, which causes excessive stress upon the MCL.  Repetitive stressing of this strong ligament may cause it to tear to some degree once loads begin to increase past body weight training.  An easy fix for this is to find a short, 8-12 inch resistance band, place it around the knees and focus on pushing the knees against the band when squatting.  Another way to look at this is to picture the knees staying in line with the feet at all times throughout the squat.

By thinking about all of these things when squatting, you will minimize your risk of injury and be able to enjoy all the benefits of squatting.  Here at SPI, we can assist you in learning the proper technique to elicit the desired result with minimal risk of injury and progress you closer to your goals.

Interested in seeing what SPI Fitness can do for you? Email to set up a free consultation/assessment with a highly skilled trainer/coach.

SPI Intern

SPI Fitness would like to welcome its first official Strength and Conditioning Intern, Steve Dowd!

Steve is finishing up his last semester in the Health Studies degree at Utica College and is also a member of the Utica College Lacrosse Team.

Upon graduation Steve is planning on pursuing his CSCS (Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist) through the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

Steve will be interning with SPI Fitness throughout the summer and will be aiding SPI Fitness with all their services currently offered.

Free Boot Camps

Just a reminder to all #spifit fans and interested people out there that we will be continuing to do free boot camps with the last one being next Friday, June 20th.

So far this week we have had a nice turnout for each boot camp with a wide variety of people from with varying fitness levels. The feedback has been excellent so do not miss your chance to get in on the action and save some money!

Boot camp times are Monday/Wednesday/Friday at 7:30 A.M.  and 6:30 P.M. at our SPI Fitness location inside the Field of Dreams Sports Complex. This is one of the largest and most athlete friendly sports performance/ boot camp  set ups in the area! Bryan Martinez-Torres is our lead trainer for the #spifit boot camp!

SPI Fitness and Jr. Comets Hockey

SPI Fitness has just recently partnered up with the Utica Jr. Comets Youth Hockey Organization to carry out strength and conditioning, nutritional programming and consulting, and injury prevention techniques for all the athlete’s in the organization. SPI Fitness is very excited about this opportunity to  become an integral part in the further development of this great local amateur sports organization.

Grand opening/open house @FOD

Big thanks to all who came to our open house/grand opening this past Sunday at our location inside the Inertia Wellness CenterM.

Andy Mejias, a local professional boxing star out of Utica, NY was in attendance showing his #spifit support along with his boxing coach Tim Greene. Andy will be doing all of his strength and conditioning for his upcoming fights here at SPI Fitness.

Erin Hamlin was also in attendance and she will be doing her summer strength and conditioning with SPI Fitness as well!

Coming up this Saturday June 7th from 10:00 A.M.-2:00 P.M. is our open house/grand opening at our second location inside the Field of Dreams Sports Complex on Route 5 in Schuyler.

There will be open workouts, exercise demonstrations, free injury screen, musculo-skeletal assessments, and meet and greet with the whole #spifit staff!

We here at SPI Fitness believe that this is going to be a phenomenal partnership with the Field of Dreams and that together the complex can grow the area’s most complete athletic development and sports performance center!

Do not miss out and please spread the word!