When it comes to fitness buzz words, “functional fitness” is definitely currently trending. So we’re going to talk a little about one of the most functional fitness related activities out there- squatting.
Have you ever stopped to think about your daily activities and how many of them might involve some form of squatting? Getting on and off the couch, in and out of the car, getting something out a low cabinet, picking your kids up from the floor- the list goes on. If we are not able to squat effectively, it drastically limits our ability to perform necessary daily tasks.
You might be wondering, though- “wait, I thought squatting was bad for my knees?” Well I’m here to tell you that this is not true. What is true, is that when done correctly, squatting will strengthen your hips, thighs, back, and even core muscles which can all protect your knees in the long term.
So what is the correct way to perform a squat? I'm glad you asked, because I'm here to tell you!
For the set up- you want to stand with your feet about shoulder width apart with toes turned slightly out at a comfortable angle. The very first movement in a squat should be a weight shift backward. I like to tell people to pretend that they are going to sit into a chair that is too far behind them. So shift your weight back so that you stick your tush out a little bit before beginning to bend your knees. Then as you start to bend your knees, continue pushing your hips back, all while keeping your chest up tall. You may extend your arms in front of you for balance if needed. Only squat down as far as you are able while keeping good form. If that means only squatting a little ways down, that’s fine. Be sure also to keep your knees pulling apart from each other as you squat down, so that your knees point the same direction as your toes. Once you’ve squatted as far down as you can with good form- stand back up!
Lean your back and hips against a wall and move your feet forward quite a ways away from the wall. Your feet should be far enough forward that in order to stand up away from the wall, you’d either have to bring your feet back in toward you, or you’d really have to push yourself off of the wall. Feet should be about hip width apart with toes very slightly pointed out. Keeping your back and hips against the wall, slide down the wall as far as you are comfortable with, then push yourself back up the wall to the starting position. You should again focus on keeping your knees pointing the same direction as your toes.
Upper body assisted squat
Upper body assisted squat- You’ll do a squat exactly like the version first described, but holding on to a sturdy handrail or other sturdy object so that you can get a feel for sitting back some without feeling that you’re going to fall.
This will again be the same form as the original exercise described above, but you remember how I told you to think about sitting into a chair that’s a little ways behind you? You’ll actually do that! Just be sure this chair won’t slide out from under you if you do lose your balance and land a little less gracefully than planned. Use good control to sit all the way down into the chair, then use good form to stand back up. As you get better at this you can work on just tapping the chair then standing back up without actually sitting.
Now that we’ve covered the importance of squatting and how to correctly perform a squat, you have no more excuses to sit on your duff doing diddly squat, unless it’s so that you can stand back up again with perfect squat form!
Looking for live action instruction? Click the button for detailed visual instructions on how to correctly perform a squat!