Tuesday, January 22, 2008

You Don't Have Squat?

Photo Credit: Dan in conjuction with Horizon International Inc.

The big question is: Should I squat? Squatting, in my opinion, is one the fundamental movements that the human body can and should be able to do if all parts are functioning normally. Certainly, there are exceptions to being able to squat fully. Knee, hip, back, ankle, or foot injuries may limit your ability to perform a full squat. However, from the time a baby begins the developmental sequence, a squat is a way to get up and down from the floor, keep a good center of gravity, and keep stability when losing balance. Over time, adults tend to lose this ability because we don't squat. The result is muscle imbalance. These muscle imbalances can be seen from the shoulders all the way down to the ankles. The muscle imbalances translate over to all athletic movements, including running. Performing a correct squat requires a good mix of core strength, hip mobility and stability (like John mentioned in his previous post: Got Strength), knee stability, and ankle mobility/stability. Many times when performing a squat in a mirror, a person can see, or even, feel the muscle imbalances.


cymrusteve said...

What do you think of the "one-legged pillow squat"?

I've read that this really helps people with poor balance and uses more muscles than a regular squat.

Just curious...


PS Love your blog. Have subscribed to your feed and added it to my blogroll at www.runbulldogrun.com

Lou said...

Single leg squats are a great exercise if i've mastered the original squat. A simple progression would be squat, split squats (in-line lunge), single-leg squats, and then single leg squats on an uneven surface (pillow, balance board, BOSU, or something similar). The single leg squat requires excellent balance, core strength, and great hip stability to be done properly. It's an excellent exercise to strengthen these areas. It's important to start with the basics and get good stability and strength with easier movements and then progress to more challenging movements. If you don't have a good base with two feet on the ground, you will not have a chance with only one foot on the ground. Thank you for the comments.....we will put your website on our favorite links list as well....stay in motion!

Database Diva said...

After reading Core Performance and Run Less Run Faster, I added single leg squats to my workout. The next day I had severe hip pain when sitting, walking and standing. I was miserable. Every time I attempted the single leg squat, the hip pain would follow. Eventually I gave up. It sounds like I need to start with a regular squat. I'm so glad I read your "Take it and Run" post, as I have been plagued with injuries recently.

John said...

Diva, thanks for the comment. I have found over the years that when we try new exercises we often are too aggresive. I have our runners try a new exercise in small range of motion (shallow depth in the case of the single leg squat). I also have them do only a few reps until the onset of light fatigue. This will give them time to re-Evaluate their bodies response to this new exercise and a chance to modify it rather than just doing the same thing again which made them sore. We then progress as able.