April 26th, 2017

Pretty simple question. Definitely.  Definitely squat.  Let’s take a look at the squat and why it’s not only a “yes”…but a “hell YES!”  First let’s allow our brains to step out of the gym and really look at how functional squats are in our everyday life.  Changing a car tire, picking a child (or box) up off the floor, and tying your shoes all require real-world squatting.  Because the squat is found everywhere in human movement, we are doing our bodies no favors by avoiding them.  Squatting the full range-of motion (below parallel) will keep you bendy and balanced.  They also develop your connective tissues, particularly those in your stabilizing areas: knees, ankles, and hips.  No wonder they have been dubbed the king of all exercises!

Of course, like any movement. squats need to be performed correctly to give us the results we want and to keep us safe.  Bottom line:  Listen to your coach!  Here are some simple steps to get you started.

  • Begin standing tall, feet shoulders width apart.
  • The FIRST movement in a squat should be your butt back.
  • Next your knees will begin tracking out over your toes.
  • Screwing your feet into the ground will help you avoid a handful of pitfalls when it comes to squatting such as keeping your whole foot on the ground, staying on your heels and keeping your knees tracking outward.
  • Go LOW! Work hard to break parallel.  The first picture does not demonstrate below parallel, the second picture does.

 

So we now know the benefits of squatting and we have the tools to do them properly.  The next question is…if they are so important, how often should I be doing them?  The answer is consistent and often, or better put, consistently often.  Don’t forget all of our end goals here.  Yes we want to be strong, fit, and healthy now…but we want to be the same throughout our senior years too!  The functional aspect of the squat requires us to keep or improve our complete range of motion for years and years to come.  We want to be able to get out of chars and pick up those golf balls as we age!  Here are some key points to make sure you are getting enough squats in:

  • Try to keep consistent training days when it comes to getting to the gym. If you follow the training cycles that the coaches program, you will be sure to hit various types of squats under load.
  • Make sure you are never stopping short of your range of motion, especially under heavy loads. Can’t get low enough?  Use less weight, you are only strong in the range that you train.
  • If you feel like you are missing squat day far too much, incorporate them into your day! Do air squats while the coffee is brewing.  Keep that fussy baby happy by squatting him/her up and down.  Turn it into a baby-thruster for an even greater workout.  Squat during commercials, every time your kid says “mom!” or “dad!”, or at your office every hour on the hour (EHOH).

So there’s a little info about squats for you!  Next, I challenge you to make a goal.  First, play around with your air squat.  This could be done before or after class or at home.  Slow it down and check to make sure you are doing it properly.  If you are at the gym, ask a coach to watch you.  Are you initiating the movement with your butt rather than your knees?  Are your feet staying on the ground?  Does your chest stay up with an flat back?  Once you get the basics down, it’s time to choose your goal!  It can be a 1 RM goal, it could be to extend your range of motion or to just incorporate them more into your week!  Remember, strength and functionality is a skill, and just like with any other skill, practice makes perfect. Squat more and you will become strong, bendy and functional!

Here’s proof you were squatting before you were even potty-trained!