The squat is one of the most fundamental movements that human beings do an a daily basis. When you hear someone talk about squatting, they may often think about someone at the gym, with a large amount of weight on their back, yelling and screaming as they barely complete the exercise. This does happen nearly every single day at gyms all around the world. This, of course, is just one example of squatting. When we talk about squatting, generally, we are simply addressing the movement of simultaneously bending your hips and knees at the same time to get lower to the ground. When looked through in this context, we can see that the squat itself is something that everyone can and should do, regardless of their current ability levels.
The thing about squatting, as mentioned above, is that it is going to look much different for everyone. This is the thing I want to bring attention to. Just because you are not able to back squat at the gym, or do a large amount of weight with the exercise DOES NOT mean you should avoid it. Avoiding doing this movement will make you extremely weak over time, and unfortunately lead to a life of disability and discomfort long term. The key to understanding how to squat at your ability level is to… well… look at your current ability level.
Whenever I start working with individuals that have mobility and strength impairements I always look at their current squatting strength through their ability to stand up and out of a chair. Although it seems like this has nothing to do with squatting, it in fact has everything to do with the squat! When you sit down in a chair, you bend your knees and hips at the same time to lower yourself into the chair. When you stand up, you use the muscles around your knees and hips to starighten your body and get back to your upright position. That is squatting! Of course we don’t have any weight, and the range of motion might be cut short a little bit, but that is not the point. The point is to work on the movement pattern of the squat itself.
Hopefully you look at squatting a little differently now. Squatting is much more than an exercise that individuals do at a gym to show off their leg strength. A squat is a movement that everyone does (or should be able to do) when they get out of a chair. If you want to see the demonstration of how I worked squatting into the program for a 92 year old man I just started working with, make sure to check out the YouTube video below. Thanks for reading, and make sure to share this with others! Squatting is for all!
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