Don't believe everything you see. It is easy to do. I know. I've done it and do it often. I'm a work in progress though. Anyway, there is a wonderful picture floating around about a child squatting. It is a great picture, no doubt. In the picture there is a child squatting with a perfect squat. His knees are over his feet, his hips are well below parallel, his spine is straight, his torso is upright and his neck is in a neutral position. It is a perfect squat - for fitness.
This picture is used to illustrate how adults are supposed to squat. Babies squat this way, and you should too! That is a partial truth. The picture is not telling the whole story. For example, do you think maybe the babies neck was in a neutral position because his gaze was fixed on his hands?
I think that is a strong possibility. How about that back? Well, it is perfectly straight. That lumbar is strong.
But check this out:
This is my nephew. He is adorable. He moves perfectly. This is a pretty good squat. His back is not that straight though. His lumbar is still strong, but he has some rounding going on. Not much, but a little. When he wants to, he straightens his spine when he squats. I've seen him do it lots of times. When he is investigating something on the ground though, he rounds. Also, look at his head position, he is looking at me. Some extension and rotation in his neck. When he wants to, and depending on what he is doing, he does put his neck in a neutral position. But most of the time, his neck position is determined by whatever he is checking out with his eyes.
Here is another shot. His gaze is between his feet. His neck and head are down.
I am only saying that some pictures can only tell you what is going on at the instant they are taken. To take one picture and put a blanket statement out for all movement, or all squats is kind of like stretching the truth.
Here is one thing you can probably gather from all of these pictures: children move well in all sorts of ways. Maybe we should too.
The fitness world is funny. Small truths are stretched to make big truths. The whole point to this post is that we should not always believe everything we see, or everything we are told. We should investigate things on their own and in their own situations. The squatting baby is a great picture. It really is. But, to say we should always hold our neck in a neutral position when we are lifting based on a baby picture is a blanket statement that may not always be true. And, if we should follow the example of children and imitate how well they move and what they do to move, let me ask this last question: Have you ever seen a baby standup from a squat with a heavy bar on his back?
Just asking.... ;)