The Squat is one of the most common exercises used in strength and conditioning programs and yet, it is widely misunderstood, even vilified. To correct common misconceptions, the Squat, or variations of the Squat, are a healthy option for just about everyone; young and old, large and small, fit and unfit, and healthy and unhealthy.
The Squat exercises promote improvements in strength, power, mobility, and balance. Far from being hard on one’s knees, hips or back squatting exercises play a pivotal role in maintaining lower body health and overall physical performance. Keep in mind that well over half of the world’s population regularly squats rather than sits and, not surprisingly, they suffer much less from the afflictions of back, hip and knee breakdowns so common in Western Europe and North America where we spend an ever increasing amount of time in a seated position.
To begin it is recommended that the uninitiated seek the guidance of a personal trainer or a trained staff member. Body position and technique are critical to the successful integration of the Squat into one’s training regimen. To learn the exercise I suggest starting with a body weight squat.
- Stand tall with feet approximately hip width apart and pointed straight ahead or slightly toed out.
- Engage core musculature (make abdominal wall firm).
- Keeping the head up, push hips back, bending forward at the waist while keeping the back flat.
- Exhaling, drop the hips down to the point where the thighs are parallel with the ground with both feet flat on the floor and the knees not advancing much ahead of the toes.
- Return to the starting position exhaling as you rise pushing through your heels to the standing position and prepare to repeat.
As with all exercises, begin slowly with low resistance and progress gradually as your fitness and personal comfort levels dictate.
Please do not hesitate to approach a staff member if you require information or assistance.