The McConnell squat is a great Pilates squat exercise if you are a runner and looking to get stronger, if you struggle with balance and want to improve it or if you have back pain and have been told you need to strengthen your glutes.
A Pilates squat exercise is a compound movement which means that it works the whole of your body. However, squatting on one leg like the McConnell squat is way more functional. We spend most of our time on one leg so if you want to improve your balance, or be faster and stronger when you run, one leg exercises are the key.
In this article, we’ll be discussing:
- What is a McConell squat
- How to do the McConell squat
- What are the benefits of McConell squat
- Who is the McConell squat suitable for / not suitable for?
What Is the McConnell Squat Pilates Exercise?
Essentially the McConnell squat is one of many Pilates squat variations. As mentioned above it’s performed on one leg and a wall is used as a support – this is a great way of getting strong while you improve your balance.
It’s an excellent exercise to do before you go for a run, work out in the gym, or simply go for a long walk.
- Using a wall, lift your knee up the wall so that your leg is at a right angle,
- Push your knee into the wall
- Gently lower yourself into a pretend-seating position, ensuring your left leg doesn’t go over your foot and keep your back straight
- Hold for ten seconds.
- Swap and do the other leg.
McConnell Squat Exercise Tips
- Keep your shin vertical
It is really tempting for the first movement to bend your knee and feel it go over your toes. Try instead to break at the hips, like you are trying to push someone over with your bottom. This will move the thigh bone rather than the shin and immediately load your glute more! Remember your pelvic clock if you are unsure.
- Push harder and stay straight
If you want more of a challenge, simply push into the wall harder. This will tempt you to lean away from the wall. Instead, try to keep yourself in a straight line over your standing leg. This way you load the stability muscles around your hip much more!
- Use support
If you are trying to get stronger to help with your balance, use the support of a wall or countertop. Once you have perfected the movement and built some strength, then challenge yourself not to hold on.
- Try to release
Remember that you have to spread your sit bones as you go down. Every muscle needs to work through its full range, and this includes the pelvic floor!
- Use a mirror
If possible, perform this exercise in front of a mirror in order to maintain good form. Over time, you will be able to leave the mirror behind.
McConnell Squat Benefits
A McConell squat, or any type of Pilates squat for that matter, is an effective way to tone the legs and glutes, strengthen the core muscles and increase flexibility.
Although it may seem like a basic exercise, it isn’t easy to do. It works the entire body and aside from the wall, no equipment is necessary.
Incorporating squats into your exercise routine helps to strengthen the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. It’s also brilliant for the core as it demands so much in terms of posture and support.
Who Is The McConnell Squat Exercise Suitable For?
The McConnell Pilates squat exercise is an ideal exercise for athletes of all sports and skill levels, but it’s especially useful for runners. The single-leg squat works the same muscles used for running: the hips, hamstrings, quadriceps, gluteus maximus, and calves.
It’s also great for walkers or anyone looking to improve their balance and stability.
Who Is The McConnell Squat Not Suitable For?
If you have had an ankle, knee, leg, hip, or back injury then it might be best to speak to a medical professional or your Clinical Pilates Instructor to see if this exercise is right for you or if you need to make adjustments. You will feel your muscles and core working during this exercise, but if it’s painful then do stop.
Why Do The McConnell Squat Exercise?
Adding single-leg Pilates squats to your training program helps to develop strength, balance, and coordination, and reduce the pain of runner’s knee.
This exercise will also develop stability and core strength, as well as prevent injury and improve performance.
If you are new to fitness or worried about starting a new exercise such as the McConnell squat, we would advise you to always speak to your doctor or physio, or clinical Pilates instructor here at Complete Pilates who are all trained to safely treat and create manageable plans to keep you healthy.
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Education is key:
These blogs are designed to give information to everyone, however, it is important to remember that everyone is different! If you have not seen one of our therapists and have any questions about injuries, what you have read or whether this may be useful to you, please just ask. We are more than happy to help anyone and point you in the right direction. Our biggest belief is that education is key. The more you understand about your injury, illness and movement, the more you are likely to improve.
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