You’ve seen it done a thousand times by a thousand people in a thousand different ways. It allows you to pick things up, put things down, rise out of bed, out of a car, and even go up and down stairs. What is this magical movement? The title gave it away…it’s The Squat.
The Squat no doubt has a storied and complicated past. It stands to reason that The Squat has been incorporated into the fabric of humankind even before we learned how to walk upright. The Squat has been loved by some for the feats it has allowed them to accomplish and maligned, even hated, by others for the effort required and pain that can accompany it. Why is it so important? As intricate and crazy-interesting that the history of The Squat may be, let’s put that aside and have a discussion about why your friendly neighborhood Physical Therapist insists on making you perform them ALL THE TIME. First of all, why have I capitalized “The Squat”?
No matter what your injury is, back, hip, knee, ankle, even a shoulder, The Squat is going to be part of your future. The Squat is everything. The Squat is everywhere. The Squat is both simple in its form and complex in its performance. What muscles does The Squat use? All of them. Really. Even without variations involving carrying, reaching and other functional additions The Squat incorporates all the muscles of the legs, the abdomen, the spine, shoulders and neck in a balanced way. Why is The Squat used so frequently? The Squat first and foremost is a weight-bearing activity. Weight-bearing activity creates load on muscles, bones, cartilage, ligaments and other tissues of the body. When a healthy body tissue is subject to progressive stress that tissue will adapt positively in time to those stresses. If performed in a pain-free and controlled manner over time those adaptations will allow more effective and efficient function.
Long-term consistent activity of that nature will help the tissue maintain long-term health, avoid injury and allow for a better quality of life for the individual. That’s what we all want, right? Down with “Ugh!” and “Ouch!” up with “Oh YEAH!” and “Feels GREAT!” So no matter who you are and what you are looking to accomplish, it’s always going to be a good idea to learn how to Squat properly. Therapists, Ergonomists, Strength Coaches and Personal Trainers are all excellent guides on the journey to the perfect Squat.
It won’t take long and properly learning The Squat will manifest in a lifetime foundation of good physical health. Good luck and good Squatting!