Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Squat a Little

Every now & then I'll be working with clients to always complain about having 'bad knees'"My knees are so bad that I just stopped squatting and lunging all together", they say. 

Maybe that's part of the problem - you're not performing squats (or any other related hip-knee dominant exercise) , which happens to be functional movement pattern that we use out in the real world. Maybe that's why your knees are so bad!

Think about it.

What happens when you drops your car keys or a pen/pencil on the floor? How do you pick it back up?

Hopefully you're not using your low back as you lean over from the hips to pick something up. Yet, we hear about this happening all of the time when people start 'throwing out their backs'.

Nope. Sorry. It wasn't that 1 incident that did your back in, but rather years of repetitive bad form that got you in trouble. Years of not using your legs to help you lift objects from the ground up. It just happened to be that this 1 incident was the 'straw that broke the camel's back', so to say.

Somewhere between our adolescent years and adulthood, we lose our ability to fully squat.

Check out this guest blog by my good friend and colleague, Guido Van Ryssegem, CSCS, ATC, PT - owner & founder of Kinetic Intergrations, as he give you the low down about the squat and how it applies to our daily movement patterns.

It’s hard to dispute that our so-called modern western world has adopted a far more sedentary lifestyle compared to the previous generations.  This sedentary lifestyle has lead to an epidemic of not only metabolic disorders such as obesity, but also musculoskeletal injuries.  One of the most common musculoskeletal injuries associated with this lifestyle is low back pain. It’s no coincidence that the rise of this problem has occurred at a time when the seated position has become the most common worldwide working posture. College students are not immune to this posture as they often spend hours a day in a sitting position in class, when studying and during their leisure time.

Modern Day Life

Modern day life has made most of us adopt different sustained postures and movement patterns then to what our body is made to do. If you have spent some time in Asia or Africa you would have seen the locals sitting in full squat position talking, waiting for the bus or drinking tea. When you compare the joint angles at the hips, knees and ankles in this position compared to sitting in a seat a big difference can be noticed. Although there is some suggestions that Asians have hip structure than suits a full squat position more than Westerners, our young ones show us that we do indeed have the ability to squat all the way down to the ground. As adults we just lose it because we don’t use it.

Workout Sessions

Incorporating a few deep squats at the end of your workout sessions can be a great way to restore some range to creaky ankle, knee and hip joints.  A bonus is that by sitting in this position allows you to stretch all these areas at the same time. You may need to hold onto something to stop yourself falling backwards when you first start doing this – that’s OK.

  1. Start with a wide-open stance and work the feet closer together and straighter as this gets easier.
  2. Focus on the weight being through the middle of the feet.
  3. Aim for a tempo of 4 seconds down, 1-2 seconds up, 10-12 repetitions and repeat 1 to 4 sets depending on the level of fitness.
  4. If your hips feel tight at the bottom of the squat, you may want to hold the exercise for 1 to 2 seconds to help increase the stretch of tight tissues.

Old Rule Applies

Deep squatting may not suit everyone.  If you have knee or back pain in this position there may be a problem that requires medical care.  The old rule applies. If it hurts don’t do it.  Go slow and work your way down within your limits.


No comments: