Health Benefits of Squatting

squat physical therapy

There are few exercises that exist that are more beneficial than the squat. Contrary to popular belief, when properly coached and progressed, squats are an excellent training tool for improving leg and hip strength, load tolerance in the knee, and core strength. While it is true that squats produce compressive loads within the knee joint and tensile loads of the ligaments and tendons of the knee, current research has shown that those loads are still below the maximum tolerable loads of those connective tissues. In fact, evidence also points to a higher levels of tensile strength and cross-sectional area (CSA) of the quad, patellar, and achilles tendons in athletes who have participated in weightlifting vs non-weightlifting sports. Strengthening exercises for the quads that allow for progressive loading, such as squats, can in fact reduce the long-term risk of injury.

Squats Can Actually Help Your Spine

When looking at the impact of squatting on the lumbar spine researchers have found no adverse effects on disc height in the long-term. In other words, the idea that barbel squats cause degeneration in the lumbar spine is based more on fear than science. In fact, the increase in demand on core musculature would indicate that loaded squatting improves the stability of the spine rather than the opposite.

As mentioned earlier, learning to squat can provide a whole host of benefits that outweigh the risks. Those benefits include:
1. Increased overall leg strength for daily activities.
2. Increased core strength for spine health.
3. Increased hip and ankle mobility with progressive loading.
4. Increased metabolic rate due to the increased muscle growth.
5. Improved movement patterns to minimize injury risk with other sports and activities.

If you are experiencing pain with squatting, consider meeting with a physical therapist to assess what the possible causes might be. Not everyone needs to squat the same and a good therapist will help identify what your limitations are and how to properly progress your program to continue to reap the benefits of squatting without increasing pain.

Open Workout 16.5 Injury Prevention Tips

Can you remember 14.5 like it was yesterday? 2 years ago you had to go through a grueling cycle of Thrusters and Burpees. For your last Open Workout, you’re going to have to do it all over again. 16.5 is 14.5. Although we can’t promise you we can get you to finish this in a little over 8 minutes like Mat Fraser did during the 16.5 live stream, we can provide the following tips to make sure you get through 16.5 without injury. Workout 16.5 is all about having hip mobility and proper front rack position. Remember to keep your upper back and chest nice and tall. With Thrusters, when fatigue sets in, elbows tend to drop forward causes the upper and middle back to drop forward as well. This causes strain in these areas and this type of inefficient position not only hurts performance but can lead to injury. A tip we like to give CrossFitters is to move their grip out a bit – hands a bit outside the shoulder – to let the elbow have more room to move.

Hip and back problems comes about with high rep or high load. With Burpees, your body is undergoing a quick succession of a closing and opening motion. Having a stable mid-line will save your back.

To get joints lubricated prior to doing 16.5, here are a couple of exercises we recommend.
• Split-lunge: Get hip and groin open.
• Goblet squat: Practice getting to the bottom of squat
• Workout 16.1 warmup exercises are also relevant for this 16.5: Thoracic spine extension, Burpee Prep, T-spine over medicine ball

CrossFit Athlete Mat Fraser finished his Workout 16.5 in a little over 8 minutes. What’s your goal? Thanks for including us as part of your 2016 Open Workout journey!

Ready For The Open: 2 Exercises To Do Before Workout 16.3

Open Workout 16.3 has arrived. This workout involves a lot of pulling motion and we have 2 perfect exercises to get you ready to for this workout.

Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 7 minutes of:
10 power snatches
3 bar muscle-ups

Men use 75 lb.
Women use 55 lb.

1. Mobilize lateral border of your scapula

  • Tools needed: Ball (lacrosse or tennis) and wall
  • Reps: 15-20

2. Stretch anterior shoulder

  • Tools needed: PVC pipe
  • Reps: 15-20

Ready For The Open: Workout 16.2 Injury Prevention

In this Hangout, we will review how to properly warmup for 16.2 and the proper movements to complete 16.2 injury-free. This workout is cardio-focused – your heart rate will be elevated after Toes-to-Bar and Double-Unders, but it is important to conserve energy for your Squat Cleans.

Toes-to-Bar: Strength and Flexibility

– Midline stability is key to doing this exercise

– Note: Pulling your hamstring is the biggest injury to watch out for in this exercise. Supermans, planks and other exercises to that help lengthen your hamstring will him avoid this injury.

Double-Unders: Technique

– Keep elbows close in and  shoulders relaxed

Squat Cleans: Strength

– Jonathan demonstrates 3 exercises to activate your hips

More details on 16.2 Workout here:

Crossfit Workout 16.1 – Injury Prevention Tips (VIDEO)

Jason, Therapydia Portland’s Clinic Director, did his first 16.1 today. Hear from his experience and watch him and Jonathan demonstrate how to do Open 16.1 with proper form and without injury. This video hip, shoulder and upper back mobilization and activation exercises. These exercises are also good for your workout cool downs.

    • Exercises include:

    • Thoracic spine extension over a medicine ball
    • Couch stretch
    • Thoracic spine extension
    • Burpee prep
    • Shoulder activation
    • Split-squat lunge position

Each of these exercises will prepare you for the 16.1 Workout; complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 20 minutes of:

  • 25-ft. overhead walking lunge
  • 8 burpees
  • 25-ft. overhead walking lunge
  • 8 chest-to-bar pull-ups

Ready For The Open: Introduction To The CrossFit Open

In this Google Hangout, we discuss at a high-level what the CrossFit Games Open is, what the 10 components of fitness are and how we’ll help you with each of the upcoming five workouts.

The Crossfit Open is a five-week program during which one secret workout is released each week to challenge people to determine what their weaknesses are such as strength and motor control. Crossfit is all about functional movement at a high intensity and high intensity varies between individuals.

10 Components Fitness:


Over the next five weeks, we will analyze CrossFit Open workouts as they come out to help athletes prevent injuries. We will modify the movements based on potential pain areas to help you reach your Open goals.

The 2016 Open begins February 25 and ends on March 28. Check in next week to watch our analysis of the Open Workout 16.1. If you have questions in the meantime, please feel free to reach out to and