Squats are a great exercise and should be in everyone’s training schedule. Even though people refer to squats on ‘leg day’ they are actually beneficial for the whole body. I have looked at how Reformer Pilates will improve your squat and how I have benefitted from Pilates
Believe it or not this one of the most important elements to your squat. Good foot and ankle health with give you more Strength, Power, Balance and Control.
Footwork is a series of exercises done on the Reformer Pilates machine which train the muscles in your feet. These muscles play a significant role in providing support for the arches in your feet. Weak arches may cause your feet to rollinwards while you squat adding extra pressure to the inside of your knees (MCL ligaments).
Flexibility and mobility of the ankle joint is also important to perform the squat. Poor flexibility in the ankle will mean your knees will travel over your ankle as you squat engaging more of your quads rather then the more powerful gluteus muscles.
Training your feet and ankles should never be over looked, as it’s the foundation and base of all your movement.
Every single move is generated from your core, your Pelvis forms part of your core. Spinal alignment, posture, shoulder mechanics, knee stability are all things that could go wrong with poor hip stability or biomechanics. It will also have a major impact on your squat.
The muscles that play a major role in hip stabilisation include Gluteus Medius, Gluteus Maximus, Pirformis and the deep core muscles.These muscles are regularly worked during a Reformer sessionproviding a strong support for more load during a squat.
I have an anterior tilt in the pelvis; biomechanically my hips naturally tilt forward when standing. This causes me to have tight hip flexors with excess pressure on my lumbar spine (lower back). This meant that when I squat I was very quad dominant and lacked any glute activity resulting in back and knee pain. Reformer Pilates has mobilised my lower back as well as stretch and strengthen the muscles in the hips allowing for a more effective and efficient squat.
Pilates has highlighted the importance of your feet and your hips when it comes to squats and this has brought my training up to a new level.