Proper form is critical when at the gym. One of our FAST® trainers, Michael Winters, has demonstrated the squat and describes how to make sure you do not injure yourself the next time you go to pick up the bar.

FAST® How To: The Squat <— Watch the YouTube video here.

FAST® How To: The Squat (side view) <—- And here!


1) Place the bar in a balanced position across the upper back and shoulders. Lift the elbows to create a “shelf” using the upper back and shoulder muscles.

2) Hold the chest up

3) Lift the bar off of the squat rack by extending the hips and legs

4) Take two or three steps back from the squat rack

5) Position the feet shoulder width apart or slightly wider with the toes pointed slightly out

6) Maintain a position with the back flat and the chest held up and out

7) Begin the downward movement by allowing the hips and knees to flex

8) Keep the heels in contact with the floor and the knees aligned over the feet

– letting the knees align in a position over the toes can place a great amount of stress on the patella tendon. To help avoid this common mistake it is good to keep the weight directed through the heels.

9) Continue to flex the hips and knees until; the thighs are parallel to the floor, the heels raise up from the floor, or the trunk begins to flex or round forward

10) To begin the upward movement extend the hips and knees at the same speed in order to keep a constant angle between the torso and the floor

11) Be conscious to not let the trunk round or flex forward

12) Continue to extend the hips and knees until a standing position is reached

13) When the set is finished, walk the bar back into the squat rack making sure there is contact with both sides of the bar before flexing the hips and knees to let the bar rest back on the rack.

Congratulations! You have completed a squat and are now one step closer to reaching your fitness goal!

For more information on training or for a FAST® location near you, visit!


Source: NSCA (National Strength and Conditioning Association)

When you are recovering from an illness, it is important to consider whether it is a good idea to continue your athlete training in Phoenix. It depends on how you feel, so make sure you are listening to your body.  According to Livestrong, “You can do a moderate work out if you’re ailing from the common cold, allergies or have other symptoms that affect your head, as long as the symptoms don’t include a fever. If you feel up to exercise, it’s not bad to work out if you have a stuffy nose, watery eyes or other cold or allergy-induced symptoms. Although working out won’t make your cold or allergies disappear any quicker, it won’t make them worse or prolong your sickness. Stick to moderate activity, such as walking, and reduce your weight training load by 25 percent to give your body a break during its illness.”

If your symptoms feel more like flu symptoms or otherwise hit below the neck, you are probably better off skipping the gym, staying in bed, and putting off your Phoenix athletic training until you’re feeling better. Your immune system is already weak and your body needs all of your energy to recover. “Symptoms that require rest include aching muscles, fever, fatigue, swollen glands and nausea. Particularly avoid strength training if you have the flu, because your body is using all its energy to fight off the virus. Lifting weights can make your immune system less efficient and even make you sicker than you already are.”

Another important factor to consider, especially if you are a member of a public gym, is common courtesy. The common cold is highly contagious. A cold virus, which infects your body after entering your nose or mouth, can spread when you sneeze, cough or even talk. It also spreads germs by hand when you touch someone or something — like a weight bench or machine. Warn people that you have a cold, and refrain from sneezing and coughing on fellow gym members.

Lastly, take into consideration that your overall fitness level is not going to take a nosedive just because you missed a few days or even weeks of working out. If you do decide to strap on those running shoes and get back to your Phoenix athletic training, start slowly and keep your first week of exercise at a moderate level. Never work out if you have a fever, as doing so can cause heatstroke and even kidney failure. To learn more tips from Foothills professionals or to learn more about athlete training in Phoenix, visit our website at

After a truly inspirational Olympic season, we at Foothills Sports Medicine are more energized than ever in pursuing athletic excellence. After several weeks in front of the television (cheering “USA!” at the top of our lungs), we’re eager to get back in the game and break our personal records – no, annihilate them!

Although Usain Bolt didn’t run for team America, the Jamaican sprinting sensation has motivated us both on and off the track. We dedicate this post to perfecting your running form to be as competitive as possible, much like Bolt himself. If you’re in Phoenix athletic training, follow these five tips from Foothills Sports Medicine to perfect your running form and improve your speed and efficiency while also preventing injury.

  • Your head: look straight ahead toward the horizon, straightening your back and neck into alignment. This will naturally straighten your torso to help you run upright and achieve ideal stride length and lung capacity. Also, don’t jut out your chin.
  • Your arms: keep your shoulders and upper arms relaxed. Match your arm swing and stride – the faster you run, the faster your arms should swing, driving you forward and keeping you balanced. Bend your elbows at about a 90-degree angle, swinging your arms forward and backward instead of across your chest. Keep your hands in a fist, but don’t clench. Your shoulders, arms and hands should all be relaxed.
  •  Your torso and hips: straighten your torso and back comfortably to keep your hips in alignment. Your hips are the key to good running posture, so focus on keeping them balanced and straight. Face straight forward to keep your torso straight and stable.
  • Your legs: if you’re running a long distance, don’t waste energy lifting the knees higher than your natural stride allows. If you’re sprinting, however, you should lift the knees high to maximize your leg power. Your stride should land your feet directly under your body with each step; if your foot is ahead of your body, your stride is too long. Try to land each step between your heel and mid-foot, rolling the foot forward fluidly and smoothly. Think of your toes as a spring board, propelling you forward.

For help optimizing your running form and refining your overall athleticism, visit Foothills Sports Medicine Physical Therapy Centers. Stick with Foothills Sports Medicine, the premier choice for physical therapy and athletic training in Phoenix and throughout Arizona, for more tips to stay active and competitive in your field!

Foothills Acceleration and Sports Training (FAST) is empowered by Foothills Therapy Partners (FTP).