Ok, I’ll say it. I REALLY LOVE SQUATS. They are the Queen of foundational movement and a pillar of any quality exercise program. Done correctly, squats will increase mobility and strength while enhancing all activities of daily living. So let’s talk SQUATS!
There was a time when squatting deep, or below 90 degrees, was considered bad for your body by many health professionals because there is a possibility of overload on the knee joints if a squat is improper. While it is true that some people have injuries and wear and tear on their bodies that makes deep squatting a bad idea, many of us simply need to work on our strength and mobility to get below 90 degrees in our squat. After all, humans have used deep squats throughout evolution to do some pretty important daily activities, right?!
With the evolution of functional exercise, many programs are now encouraging people to get deeply into their squat once they acquire the mobility and stability they need to do them properly. Now, well educated fitness professionals are incorporating deep squatting in every workout they program for their clients. Having said that, great trainers know when a deep squat is contraindicated.
If your knees do not allow pain free deep squats, then surprise… your goal should not be deep squats! The goal then becomes strengthening the stabilizing muscles of your knee joints. There are many alternative exercises that can help you accomplish your goal. Squatting may still be possible, but keep in mind that pain in the knee is a signal to stop doing whatever you are doing. For those of us who still have stable knees, deep squats done properly will give our knees longevity and help us maintain mobility and stability into and through our golden years.
If you have never worked on your squat before, you should meet with a trusted and qualified fitness professional that can assess your current physical condition and make recommendations specific to your needs. If you are ready to start squat progressions, a great trainer will give you the proper guidelines and, depending on your body, some accessory exercises that you will need to work on before you go below 90 degrees in your squat. The TRX suspension trainer is a very useful tool that I use for people entering into a squat intense program. The added stability of the TRX suspension trainer helps in understanding the specific muscular engagement and alignment that is required for a proper deep squat.
Some specific elements of a proper squat are unique to your body, but there are some consistencies in all proper squats. For instance, body weight should be dispersed about 60% in the heels and 40% in the ball of the foot throughout the duration of the movement. Knees should remain stable and do not abduct (move toward mid line of body) during the duration of the movement. The low back should maintain mild lordotic curve and the cervical spine should remain neutral in order to balance the extension of the lumbar spine in a deep squat.
Remember, every body is different. No body is perfectly balanced or exactly alike. My squat will not look like yours, even if both of us have accomplished a proper squat as we have different lever lengths, body types and personal history. Also remember that getting ahead of your progress is where injuries inevitably happen. Don’t add weight to a deep squat until you can do 20 proper squats without. Even if you have been an athlete in the past, that does not mean that you should hit the gym and do 50 or 100 squats. Enter your squat program with the priority of moving better than you do today and you will make more efficient progress in all areas of your physical fitness.
Gumsaba Outdoor Fitness Class schedule Tuesday 4/28/15:
5:30AM Sunrise Danville Womens only class – Coach Michelle – TABATA TRX
5:30AM Sunrise Danville Mens only class – Coach Joel – Grab Your Weights!
6AM Sunup Lafayette Co-Ed class – Coach Jentry – Grab Your Weights!
9AM Sunshine Walnut Creek Womens class – Coach Michelle – TABATA TRX
9:35AM Rose Court Co-ED – Coach Jentry – (private class)
11:00AM Cytosport Strength Training & Power – Coach Briana (private class)
12:00PM Cytosport Power Yoga – Coach Jentry (private class)