Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Squats - Getting low.

Everybody can squat. Everybody who can sit down and stand up can manage a basic squat. However, in order to really get the benefit from this incredible strength and conditioning exercise, you have to learn to squat low.

A low squat means going from the top of the movement, hips locked out, back straight, through down to the point where your backside breaks parallel with your knees. Good form means keeping your heels on the ground, your head up, and a gentle curve – not arch – in your back. So in order to squat well, pull your shoulders back, bend at the knees not the waist, and keep your weight through your heels. Squatting low is a mixture of strength and mobility. As you build your strength in the full range of motion, you will develop your mobility, protect your knees and strengthen your joints. Building up to a full range squat can take time. A good technique to help you get there is to hold onto a door frame or put your hand against a wall, and go through the full range of motion, until you no longer need any help. Don't rush to add weight to your squat until you can squat all the way down and all the way up comfortably.

Some people claim that you shouldn't squat lower than parallel, that this will damage your joints, rather than strengthen them. However, two thirds of the world's population – in Asia and other continents - spend 16 hours a day in the low squat position, and are stronger and more flexible than most westerners.

The benefits of squatting are manifold. Not only does it build up your strength, improve your core, and work your cardio, it also can do wonders for your mobility and joint strength. Even just a few sets of squats when you wake up in the morning can do wonders for your little morning aches and pains. So take the squat on board, and you will see serious benefit in your day to day life.

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