September 23, 2013
Drop it like a SQUAT: How to squat properly
squat "When the pimp's in da crib ma, drop it like a SQUAT, drop it like a SQUAT, drop it like a SQUAT." Thank you, Snoop Dogg and Pharrell for putting that song into my head every time I do squats or teach a class that requires dropping it low. Squat. A very common word in the fitness industry and a very common exercise. But, what is a squat exactly? Are there different types of squats? I am going to break down the mechanics of doing a couple of different types of squats so that the next time you, "drop it like a squat," you will be getting the most out the exercise. I am going to list a few mechanics involved with any type of squatting, including: front squats, back squats, plie squats or sumo squats, or even any type of body weight squat. What to remember when performing a SQUAT, with our without weight: 1. Ass to Grass: A full Range of Motion is dependent on a few factors: hips, ankles, lower back. First thing is to become aware of how the weight feels on your lower back, if you cannot get your booty all the way down towards the ground, lighten your load. If you hips are not opening up, stretching and lower weight squatting will help you to maintain the low squat form over time and finally, due to the different types of shoes and other activities that we put our bodies through, our ankles may not be able to strongly support out body holding weight and bringing it down to the ground and back up again. These three factors should be checked and conditioned before attempting to squat. 2. Keep your heels on the ground: make sure to drive your weight through your heels as you bring your body and weight back up to starting position. 3. Keep your knees out and behind your toes to avoid any type of injury or you knees caving in. THIS IS IMPORTANT! 4. Keep your Core TIGHT: Squatting is not just an exercise for the glues and hamstrings, but it engages your core, especially when weight is added. In Olympic weight lifting, weight lifters begin their rep by taking in a large breath, performing the repetition and then releasing the breath upon completion. Olympic weight lifters are usually lifting very heavy weights, so keeping their breath and core tight helps them to push through the repetition. If you are performing a normal weighted squat or body squat, inhale at the start of the squat as you are lowering down and then release the air as you engage your core and press your weight back up to the top of the squat. An engaged core will lessen the risk of a lower back injury! 5. DO NOT ROUND YOUR BACK! Usually a rounded lower back is from the weight being too heavy. IF you find yourself lowering your back during the lowest part of the squat, then lower your weight. IF you are performing a body weight squat, then your hips may be tight and will need to be stretched out (as discussed above) before continuing on. Squats are amazing. They work our core, our butt, our adductors and abductors, and are an overall amazing powerlift. If you find yourself at a gym or in a class or even performing HIIT training squats at home and forget all of these tips listed above, just remember: Tight core, drive through your heels and ass to grass :) Good Luck and don't forget to "Drop it like a SQUAT!"