09.Oct.18 | Strength & Conditioning

By John Contreras


As I discussed in a previous post, squats can be tricky to teach to patients new to weight training. The combination of stiffening some joints while moving others can frustrate both patient and therapist. The key to teaching any movement is to create a seamless transition from part practice through to completing the full task. Having a few variations up your sleeve can make that learning process a lot smoother and less frustrating for everyone.

I demonstrated the variation ‘Loaded Seated Hip Hinge’ with a barbell across my shoulders here. However, even this position requires a certain baseline level of upper limb mobility and cervico-thoracic control to hold the barbell in place.

In the case of having a patient who doesn’t have either the upper limb ROM or thoracic extension control, my ‘stepping stone’ movement is a seated Kettlebell Sumo Deadlift.

The benefits of this variation are:

  • it’s a simple uniarticular movement (hip flexion/extension)
  • requires thoracic extension control throughout the movement
  • due to the wide stance, facilitates easier hip flexion ROM in most patients
  • using a mirror to the side, patients can self monitor during the early phase of learning
  • can progress to a sit to stand variation
  • Once a patient has the thoracic control and upper limb mobility, you can progress to a barbell variation. However, for many patients this type of squat may be ideal to continue progressing.

    John is running a Strength and Conditioning Essentials course this November 2018. For more information, click here or email