Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Breaking Down The Functional Wall Squat (Part 5)

Continued from my previous post, “Breaking Down TheFunctional Wall Squat (Part 4)”:

In this post, I will expand on the Functional Wall Squat (FWS) as a Physiotherapy (Physical Therapy) intervention.

The FWS as a Physiotherapy (PT) intervention:

The beauty of the FWS is that the assessment and intervention goes hand in hand. As previously discussed, any deviation from the ideal postures of the body during the functional squat is an immediate identification of functional impairments. Intervention for identified impairments is best done by correcting the postural deviations during the functional activity itself.

For example: If someone were to squat and find that their knees knock together during a particular range of the squat, one would correct this by cuing the person (verbally, visually, or tactilely) to perform the squat with the knees specifically bowing out. The result of the two extremes would be a more neutral posture of the knees. The best result is achieved by holding one’s form at the brink of any deviation and isometrically holding that stance for a 15-30 second hold. After the isometric hold is completed, resume full stance and begin repetitions – slowly inching lower and lower while preserving ideal FWS mechanics..

Another example: If someone squats and tends to make contact with the wall with their face or chest, one would correct this by cuing the person to take half a step away from the wall and perform the squat with an extension bias until contact with the wall, or, until spinal flexion occurs. Again, at that time, stop once the deviation occurs (wall contact and/or spinal flexion) – correct the posture, and, isometrically hold the range then resume full stance with repetitions.

This is an example neuromuscular re-education. Neuromuscular re-education is one of the many unique clinical interventions used by Physical Therapists (PT’s) to improve balance, coordination, posture, kinesthetic sense, proprioception, and ultimately function. Neuromuscular re-education ranges in form such as use of visual cues from a mirror, tactile cues from a wall, or facilitated movements from highly skilled manual techniques such as Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF).

On a side note: I mentioned Physical Therapy and Physiotherapy are interchangeable terms. Personally, I prefer the use of Physiotherapy and see myself as a Physiotherapist (PT). Internationally, physiotherapy is the preferred term for the profession as it more accurately describes the profession as a whole. “Physio” denotes the practitioner addresses the physiology (not just the physical) of the entire body in regards to function, movement, health and wellness.

Coming up: Breaking Down The Functional Wall Squat (Part 6). In this final segment of Breaking Down the FWS, I will discuss the use of the FWS as an instrument of Preventive Therapy and as a modality of exercise. I will also include videos of the FWS as corrective and preventive neuromuscular re-education.

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