The Squat Challenge

In the last newsletter, we challenged you to a plank challenge.  Not the usual challenge of how long you could hold it. Instead, it was how well you could do the plank at various challenge levels.

How did you do?  Were you able to progress to the counter height plank, maintain your ABCs and maintain optimal range of motion after?

This week we will challenge you to earn the right to move through some squat patterns.  We have to squat throughout our day for basic activities of daily living, so it would seem vital that we do it well.  Squats are also a popular exercise so if you are going to do repetition after repetition, let's be sure you are doing it in a way that supports the health and alignment of your joints.

Remember to use your ABCs:

A stands for alignment of the joints.  As outlined in the photos above, maintain your rib cage in alignment with your hips and pelvis.  When you can do this, it maintains optimal spine alignment, allowing your core muscles to naturally turn on to maintain this posture without having to 'pull' them in.  Also, maintain your foot alignment throughout the squat.  Do this by maintaining your weight between the base of your big toe, the base of your small toe, and the heel.  The foot tripod helps activate your glutes without having to squeeze them.

B is for three-dimensional breathing. Breathing in a three-dimensional manner allows you to use your deepest core muscle, the diaphragm, maximally.  It also helps support your spine and hip joints during the squat.  Try exhaling as you go down and inhaling up with each repetition.

C is for control. Control is when we use the correct effort for the task while maintaining A and B.  In the case of the squat patterns, as pictured here, you should not need to lift your chest, pull your abdominals in or squeeze your glutes. 

 Before starting the progressions:

  1. Check your neck rotation by turning your head to the left, returning to the center, turning to the right, and returning to the center.
  2. Put your feet together, place your hand on your hips and rotate your whole body as you did your head and neck above.  Always stop at the center.
  3. Test this between each set of squats.  If you are doing then with your ABCs, the motion at each area should stay the same, feel better or increase how far you can comfortably turn.

Now work your way through the patterns. Start with 5 repetitions, assess again and do 8 repetitions; reassess if you improve or stay the same, move to the following pattern using the same number of reps as above, and assess between each.

  • The first picture is the supported squat.  Gently grasp a door handle on either side while performing the pattern.  
  • The second picture is a bodyweight squat.
  • The third picture is holding a weight in front of the body while performing the squat.

Let us know how you did.  

When you exercise in the way your body is meant to move versus with compensations like lifting the head or chest, pulling the abdominals and glutes in, you will start feel your body moving easier and freer.

The benefits of training this way are astounding!  We love helping my clients discover all the great things their bodies can do!

If you have questions, reach out.  We look forward to hearing from you.


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