The squat is an essential movement in functional fitness. We are living in a culture comprised of sitting for long periods of time and low back/knee pain from this increasingly sedentary life style. To combat this we need to go to squat "therapy". The following movements are great as a warm up whether you are struggling with your technique or looking for a great way to warm up your squat.
First of all we must teach our bodies to be comfortable in the squat position. Most find that the squat is uncomfortable or even painful and that could be due the fact that this fundamental movement has become "unnatural" as we become more sedentary. As you move through some of these movements relax your mind and breathe through the movements.
1. Wall Facing Squat
What is it? As seen from the picture above, the wall facing squat is performed by placing arms above your head on the wall and squating to full depth (hip crease below knee crease).
How to do it: Stand about a foot away from the wall with your feet about shoulder width apart. With your arms parallel, raise your arms above your head and place your palms on the wall. Sit your hips back and down into a fell depth squat. You can use a med. ball as seen in the picture to help cue how low you should be.
Key Points: Hold for 3-5 sets of :30-:45 seconds. You want to be sure and press upper knees out and keep your chest upright. As you progress you can move closer to the wall until your toes touch the wall.
2. Plate Squat
What is it? Using a 10lb bumper plate pressed in front of you, perform a full depth squat. This exercise allows us to focus on keeping and upright chest without the wall for support.
How to do it: As mentioned above, use a light weight bumper plate and place your hands at about 9 o'clock and 3 o'clock. Press the plate out from your chest and sit your hips back and down to full depth (again that is hip crease below knee crease), as you stand press your knees out and stand to the fully upright position.
Key Points: Make sure that your heels are firmly on the ground. Hold for 3- 5 seconds at the bottom of your squat. Keep your eyes looking through the hole in the plate (eyes up = chest up) You can perform 3-5 sets of 8-10 reps with a light weight.
3. The Pole Squat
What is it? If you have issues keeping your heels on the ground in a full depth squat, this drill is for you. Using a pole or part of the rig for support lower your hips down and back into a full squat.
How to do it: Stand about arms length from the pole and using the pole for support lower into a full squat. At the bottom breathe deep and with each exhale sink lower into the squat allowing your body to lower naturally. The goal is to be able to perform this squat unassisted.
Key Points: This can be quite uncomfortable if you are trying to perform the pole squat before being fully warmed up. Take time at the bottom of the squat to relax your mind and breathe. Remember when we talked bout getting comfortable with the uncomfortable? You can perform 3-5 sets of :30- :60 seconds hold at the bottom staying active with an upright chest.
We hope you find these "therapies" helpful and help you become a better squatter. If you need help of have any questions feel free to reach out to a coach at Overmountain Fitness.
Keep Moving Forward!