How To Control Pelvic Position In The Squat
The infamous glute squeeze at the top of the squat. The “fitspo girls” do it thinking it increases glute activation while powerlifters tend to do it to create a neutral pelvis during their initial bracing, and both are wrong. For powerlifters, it is very important that we find neutrality with our pelvis before we descend, but using the glutes to achieve this is a misconception that stems from a misunderstanding of how we stabilize the pelvis. The single biggest issue stems from the fact that if we are to stabilize the pelvis in a neutral position, we need to do so with a muscle that is going to be in an isometric contraction throughout the entirety of the squat. The glutes unfortunately cannot accomplish that, and typically the first thing you see with those that squeeze their glutes at the top is that they do exactly what they were trying not to do, which is move into an anterior pelvic tilt. The fact is the glutes must lengthen as we descend, so they cannot stay in this squeezed/contracted position. Instead we need to use the abdominals and obliques to control our pelvic position through proper bracing. A simple way to show this is to stand up straight and then forcefully exhale as hard as you can. If you were to take a video from the side while doing this, you would probably see that as your abs and obliques contract from the forceful exhale that your pelvis pulls under you. This is the same concept we want in the squat. We need our abdominals and obliques to isometrically contract and hold our pelvis in the proper position throughout. Any time we see anterior movement of the pelvis, that immediately tells us then our abdominals and obliques are lengthening rather than staying isometrically contracted, a fault many lifters have.
I had to go way back in @netzer_strong’s videos to find the above comparison (CLICK HERE), as a couple years ago he was at fault of the “glute squeeze”. We can see that because of this the first motion he had was this booty pop as the glutes un-contracted and stretched. Whereas on the video on the right, Joe starts in a soft hip position with a neutral brace, so all he really has to do is drop the hips straight down while driving the knees forward. To counter the “glute squeeze”, the setup Joe is in on the right is exactly what I coach. A soft hip position now allows the lifter to counter their natural instinct of needing to pop the hips back, and rather now just drop them straight down.