Workout: You Do Know Squat
performed by Ashley Everhart, Oak Hill Fitness
photography by Brian Fitzsimmons
(page 1 of 4)
Life demands that we squat. From the time we are infants, our behavior drives us to learn how to move. As we start interacting with our environment, we are driven to roll, reach, crawl, kneel, squat, stand and then take off on that wobbly walk.
In Asia, I personally witnessed many men resting naturally in a deep squat, where their rears touched the back of their heels. It seemed as if this was the most comfortable position they could choose. In contemporary North America, we have built-in conveniences to change the needs to only half the squat distance or even less. So by reacting to our environment of modern conveniences, we become limited in this natural movement.
But then, along comes our workout(s) of the week, and we try to force our bodies into a hopefully deeper squat or even just try to load the limited squat that we have been using from day to day. This is definitely not optimal, so knowing how to pay attention to good form and challenge with deeper, fuller ranges of motion is a great opportunity to bring a healthy squat back into play.
1. Wall Squat
Purpose: Squatting directly in front of a wall or barrier is a great way to cue the squatting motion to descend vertically. A common mistake is to pitch the torso and upper body forward.
• Use a distance that is about half of your foot length away from the wall or barrier, with your feet shoulder width apart and a slightly turned out toe position.
• Then squat while maintaining a safe spine position and make sure that the top of the pelvis does not roll back, rounding the back.
• Squat as deeply as possible without making contact with the wall in front of you.
• Work toward maintaining the quality of movement while improving your depth of the squat.