To Squat or Not To Squat
By: Robert Maalouf BS, CSCS, FMSC, CPT, CF-L1
The squat has been a controversial topic in fitness for quite some time now. Some say you need to squat, some say you don’t;
some say you need to squat deep and other claim that is bad for your knees. So, what are we to believe? I will tell you upfront what I believe and what research suggests, you SHOULD squat to the extent your body allows you to unless any medical conditions restrict you from doing so.
It is important to understand what a squat is, a squat is not simply a exercise we perform at the gym, a squat is one of the most fundamental movements essential to life. Think about it, what are you doing when you stand up from a chair or couch, what are you doing when you go to the bathroom? The list goes on. Essentially, anytime you stand up from a seated position you have performed a squat. That should demonstrate the importance of a squat.
Now that we agree on the importance of the squat, we need to understand the issues that arise and problems that today’s society faces when performing a squat, whether at the gym or in any activity of daily living. Our lifestyles have caused many postural imbalances and has reinforced many incorrect movement patterns. This has lead to a loss in the range of motion required to perform a squat, and faulty body mechanics when performing a squat (even for those who have the range of motion to perform a squat).
I want you all to pay close attention then next time you are watching children play. You will notice the are capable of performing a full squat effortlessly and with perfect form. For the most part, all of us learn to squat properly as children, however, somewhere along the road our bodies begin to get accustomed to comfortable chairs, excessive time spent on computers and even too much driving which leads to us losing the ability to squat. It is simple, with the squat you either use it or lose it.
That being said, most of us have years of poor posture, lack of activity and a number of other limitations. This makes an already complex movement extremely difficult to teach and learn. Some researchers have suggested that it will take 3-8 years for individuals to master the squat. Yes, you read that right, 3-8 years. It all begins with finding and understanding your body mechanics and working on improving each of your weak areas. This can be an extremely difficult task, I recommend finding a fitness professional with the proper credentials and experience to help you achieve good postural and structural balance when squatting. At Le Gym by Robert Maalouf, we pride ourselves in taking the time to understand each individuals body mechanics and addressing any and all postural and structural imbalances. Make sure to keep following us for all the latest tips on exercise and nutrition. Feel free to comment and ask questions!!!