Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Can you Squat? - that may be worth fixing - part 1

Yesterday we looked at how one can start "working out" simply by putting in some quality cycles on breathing, with particular attention to breathing from the belly rathe than the chest, breathing through the nose, not the mouth, and getting exhalations from time to time to be double the time for inhalation - working up to breathing out for 50-60 seconds.

you basic squat
Today the question is: how's your squat? What i mean by squat is the "squat position" just sitting comfortably in with one's feet on the floor and one's butt down to the ground. Is it possible to squat down like this without falling back on le butt?

This position is well known globally as how quite a lot of the population supposedly sits - for just about anything requiring sitting. The position is lauded as better than a chair because of the way it affects nerves and in particular our guts so they can do what they're designed to do without be squished up by us hunching up in a chair.

Indeed, the squat has been given pride of place in various movement systems. Paul Chek lists is as one of the 6 "primal patterns." Gray Cook uses the overhead squat as the first movement and greatest validation of progress in the functional movement screen. 

The squat has also been pretty reified in "real gyms" as part of the powerlifting and strength scene and as a beautiful all-round strength move as illustrated here in Mark Rippetoe's excellent Starting Strength.

Intriguingly an awful lot of the men i work with in particular have a hard time with the squat, with getting their butt down and staying stable.

There can be many many things going on to make the humble squat a challenge. And there are lots of ways to help make it easier to access.

The main question in this wee post is - how's your squat right now?

Here's another quick question: if you're someone who's having a hard time getting down into the above illustrated squat position you might want to try this simple check: if you can grab onto a doorway or a banister or post - or something solid - can you let yourself down to the ground while hanging on?

Why not check this out today and post some comments below about what's hard or easy in your own squat and - and tomorrow when i'm off this 10 hour flight - we'll get back together again about how to help make this core super fine movment part of a gift to yourself for this holiday season.


Part 2: reduce threat; improve movement in the squat  is here



Steven Rice Fitness said...

Squatting is something that should be incorporated into daily life, a primal pattern as mentioned. A yoga teacher said once "take your yoga off the mat," meaning make it a part of your life outside of class. This applies to strength training as well.

Yesterday I was browsing at the library, and as I got to the bottom of each shelf I would go into a squat. Same at the grocery when picking up something low, and even sometimes at my computer when reading.

These are the times to really perfect the movement and integrate the pattern.

TheLighteningGirl said...

I am in pursuit of the squat right now! My knees have always been messed up since I was a kid and I have been working on flexibility lately and trying to work on the squat. Unfortunately in the process I have caused my left knee to get inflamed. I have been seeing a physio for a couple weeks who is working on muscle imbalances but has indicated that I shouldn't do deep squats. I find it very discouraging and would really like to increase my mobility to allow me to get there someday... sooner than later as I am 38 and not getting younger.
So I am very interested in the discussion!

dr. m.c. said...

Thanks Steve.

Hi lighteningGirl,
never moving into pain is good council. This doesn't mean you can't do deep squats.
Without seeing you move, it would be difficult to say what the quickest fix would be, but i hope the general principles in this series will be things you can try.
Best things in the world generally are
- stay mobile
- as long as you don't move into pain.

more in the next post.

if you do want to have a movement assessment to get to that squat, there's a couple spots left in the online assessment holiday sale. just see the upper right of the main web page.



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