The squat is often referred to as the ‘King’ of all exercises. To some degree I would agree with that. It is certainly a lift we spend a lot of time analysing and discussing during our fitness and personal training courses. However, the squat is not always the best choice for every client. In fact, I have lost count the amount of times I’ve walked into a gym and observed a personal trainer (not trained by FLM Training) have their client squat with terrible technique and in a lot of cases dangerous form. In my opinion, forcing all clients to squat is asking for trouble and injury.
Before you prescribe any form of squatting to your client you must be sure they are capable and that they are biomechanically sound to squat. As I mentioned earlier we spend a lot of time discussing this on our personal trainer course, but here are a few simple checks to make:
If your client is kyphotic or lordotic then the first port of call would be to correct these poor postures the best you can prior to any squatting routine. Now, if it is severe kyphosis or lordosis then you would need to consult and work alongside their therapist, but if it’s down to poor training habits or lifestyle then you need to try and improve the muscular imbalance prior to any squatting routine.
Limb length. All clients’ anatomy is different, some clients have extremely long femurs and short torso’s, these clients will inevitably find it harder to squat and so other exercises initially maybe more suitable.
Past injuries. Has your client experienced lower back, knee or ankle injuries in the past? If so is their mobility compromised? If this is the case, then your initial phase of training should predominantly be focussing on improving mobility and range of movement. This will result in the prevention of further injuries.
If you are planning on loading a heavy weight / bar on the shoulders of your client, do they have sufficient thoracic stability? If not, again this is something I would encourage you develop before loading a heavy weight on to their shoulders.