Today, we are beginning our six part series on reclaiming the physical fitness of our youth. Have you ever watched your children play outside or a little league game and thought about a time when you could run around for hours without getting tired? Did you scoff at the idea of being able to do those things now in your adult life? You are not alone.
Today we will focus on squatting, a key component of physical fitness that will help get and keep you in shape for years to come.
How to do More Squatting
Have you ever watched a toddler squat down to pick something up? And then just hang out like that for a while? Notice how low to the ground they get and how straight and upright their backs are when they are in this position.
The benefits of more squatting
Squatting is a sometimes referred to as the King of All Exercises because it requires you to not only engage your glutes, quads, hamstrings and calves, but requires core strength and balance. It also has many practical applications to our daily lives, including getting on and off a chair, picking something up, gardening, or helping a friend move heavy boxes.
Perfecting your squat will help you build the muscle you need to lose weight and/or maintain your healthy weight, as well as help you improve core strength, gain flexibility, and even jump higher.
Squatting may be hard for adults
There are a number of things that may make it more difficult for us to squat:
- changes in head size relative to body size
- longer limb length
- changes to the structure of the hips and ankles
- sitting too much at work, causes glutes, hamstrings, abdominals, and back to become weak, and causes tightness and inflexibility in our hip flexors, hamstrings, and quads
- our backs and shoulders get used to being out of natural alignment
- poor ankle flexibility may also play a role, especially if you have spent years wearing high heeled shoes
Good form for squats
The most important thing to know about squatting is to practice good form. Work with your favorite fitness professional and have them help you find the best and safest way to squat for you. It probably won't look like a child’s squat, but that is okay.
Next, you should decide how you will do the squats: whether that is using just your own body weight, a barbell, a hack squat or Smith machine, or a leg press machine. There are a number of different ways to do squats, so find the one that works best for you.
Squats analyzed by CRI
Curious how to incorporate squatting into your workout routine, or are looking for inspiration for new exercises? Check out the new Cybex Workout Center to explore workout programming designed to help you achieve your goals, regardless of you current ability level.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this series, when we talk about Monkey Bars, and how to regain upper body strength and flexibility you once had on the playground.