The squat is the single most important exercise we do in the gym. Why? Because life demands that we do it numerous times each day, standing up, sitting down, getting out of a car, you get the picture. So it’s vital to establish a good foundation for this movement pattern.
My squat has been described as the worst thing ever by my own daughter! I am determined to fix this and make my squat better. I worked with a student at MSU to determine my problem doing a deadlift. He quickly saw that my squat was horrible. Déjà vu — dang, heard this before!
Open the hips, increase hip flexor mobility and I have it. Well maybe. It turns out I had other imbalances that were also inhibiting the squat move. My erector spinae, the long back muscles next to the spine needed work as well. If I was ever to be decent and maybe good at a lift like a deadlift, my squat must improve and my back must become stronger. Bad form such as leaning forward while squatting is a back injury waiting to happen.
Look up “Butt Wink”!
Like any exercise, it’s important to make the squat work for you. No pain, no gain is not in this equation. Stretching and strengthening your hips and large back muscles is a slow process, and it all revolves around great form.
“If our patterns are off, we become limited in our range of motion or get weaker in the muscles we need to stand up and sit down safely,” says fitness expert David Jack. “We’ll begin to compensate and use other muscles we shouldn’t in order to do everyday movements.”
- Bad habits creep up on us. Work on these, slowly!
- Set your feet, face a wall, make a prayer hand movement
- Keeping your eyes forward, chest up, and heels planted move down, lower slowly, not leaning into the wall
- Once you squat as far as comfortable, push through your heels to return to standing.
- Spend time performing static stretches of the calf and hip flexor.
Tom Matt is the host of the ‘Boomers Rock’ radio talk show syndicated throughout Michigan on the Michigan Talk Network and can be heard locally Saturday mornings on the ‘Big Talker’ WJIM 1240 AM. For more information please visit www.boomersrock.us