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Proper Squat Form- Does it Exist? With Raphael Bender and Cloe Bunter

Episode 59:

Proper Squat Form- Does it Exist? With Raphael Bender and Cloe Bunter

Today we’re talking about squats — we dive into common cues around foot placement and knee alignment, and show you exactly why proper squat form is the elephant in the room. We discuss the idea of neutral spine in a squat and whether, as movement professionals, we can even tell if somebody’s in a neutral position. Our conversation this week centers around how dated the alignment protocols are and how we can empower fearless movement from an evidence-based standpoint.

What You Will Learn:

  • Why proper squat form is a myth
  • The most powerful way to reassure your clients to move fearlessly
  • Why it’s totally fine to lift weights and squat with a flexed spine
  • Why non-verbal statements matter and how to practice what you preach
  • How to apply current research in your Pilates teaching
  • How to empower your clients to find the squat position that suits them best
  • The biomechanics of the squat

Empowering Clients

From a motor learning perspective, collaboration helps with self-efficacy. So, if you encourage your clients to play around and find the squat position that suits them best when you have clients who want to know, “am I doing it right?” you can reassure them that we’re all going to have a different position that will work optimally for us. You can address their concerns in a positive way that empowers them to work with you to find the best way to move forward with their fearless movement practice.

Guideline-Based Care

Many clients who take up Pilates do so as a result of suffering persistent pain. As movement professionals, we want to reassure and support them to stay active as the guidelines recommend. We dive into how you can show clients suffering from pain in movement that what you suggest is safe. When we care about our clients, we are committed to helping them achieve thoughtless movement, and one of the ways we can best do that is to authentically embody guideline-based care.

Backed by Research and Data

On the show, we are passionate about helping our clients be the best they can be by supporting their movement practice with data and research. This is why today we’re digging into ways that you can inspire trust in your clients so that they feel safe to collaborate with you, with a particular focus on listening to your clients’ concerns and validating their experiences. And, we explain the truth behind the misinformation that surrounds squatting technique.

References and Resources mentioned in this episode:

Stuart Magill on genetic variation in hip anatomy here
Short term pain during exercise is good here
Video of Dean Lukin winning gold at the 1982 Commonwealth Games
Conflicting evidence of any relationship between glute strength and knee valgus in squat here and here
Do knee abduction kinematics predict future ACL injury risk? Here
Kinematic analysis of squats, what the muscles do throughout range here
Mick Hughes on facebook and Instagram
MRI shows that the PCLs of powerlifters are larger and stronger here
Photo of Olympic weightlifter with knees over toes here
Photos of Joseph Pilates in deep squat, heels lifted
How to lift a box that is too large to fit between the knees here
How accurate are visual assessments of lumbo-pelvic movements during the squat and deadlift? Here
Lifting with a rounded back is not associated with more back pain here
Flexed lumbar spine postures are associated with greater strength and efficiency here
Lifting with a round back imposes LOWER force on the spine than lifting with a straight back here

About Raphael and Cloe:

Raphael Bender, CEO, Breathe Education

Raph believes everyone deserves the opportunity to transform into a better version of themselves. His main strength as a teacher and movement professional is the ability to distill complex research findings into a simple, science-based approach to help people move fearlessly, thoughtlessly, and painlessly. He LOVES running, weights, cycling, and Contrology.

Raph holds a Master’s degree in Clinical Exercise Physiology (Rehabilitation), a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise and Sports Science, Diploma of Pilates Movement Therapy, and STOTT PILATES full certification.

Cloe Bunter, Trainer, Breathe Education

With 8+ years in the industry, both teaching Pilates and nurturing new instructors, Cloe is passionate about empowering new and seasoned instructors to think critically and move fearlessly. Empowered instructors empower their clients, and in turn, change lives.

She finds great joy in building connections with clients, students, colleagues, and the broader movement and rehab community. Co-hosting the Pilates Elephants Podcast, with Raphael Bender, has provided an incredible platform to bust common Pilates, movement, and rehab myths whilst creating a worldwide community of critical thinkers who are elevating health literacy.

Cloe is fascinated by movement in general, and its ability to enhance our lives, at any age. Her own movement practice includes Contrology/Pilates, running, weights, and kettlebells. She has a Diploma of Clinical Pilates, Cert IV in Pilates, and Cert IV in Training and Assessing.

How to Connect with Raphael and Cloe:

3 Myths About Posture in Pilates eBook:

  • You can find the eBook here

Stop Faking It & Really Know Your Stuff Pilates Q&A:

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