When you squat, with your heels firmly on the ground and your back nice and straight, it's a great movement. But some of us need a little assistance to get there. Here's how to get the extra help you need!
A squat is one of the best movements you can do with your body because it uses so many different muscle groups. The obvious ones are the quads, hamstrings, and glutes. But don’t forget the core and trunk muscles! They have to stabilize your torso and help you maintain a nice neutral spine.
Before you charge off to do a bunch of squats, take note: If you spend a lot of time sitting in a chair (and don't we all?), you may need to prepare your body so you can maximize this movement and not hurt yourself.
In this video, I show you how to prepare your body for a nice deep squat. I also show you how you can use something like a tree to assist you.
In this video, I show you five different ways to warm- up for a squat.
First, you're going to need to loosen up your calves. The tighter the calves, the more your heels will refuse to stay down on the ground. The tendon changes that we all experience in response to wearing shoes with heels have left our calf muscles short and tight. We need to spend some time undoing that.
Second, you'll want to get some movement into your hip sockets. This is a two-step process:
- Doing hip socket rotations
- Doing full leg hip rotations
Third, you want to create some space in your quadriceps and hip flexors. This can be achieved by doing a standing quad stretch (what is often called a runner's stretch) or by doing a nice deep lunge. The ground was muddy and I was wearing jeans when I filmed this video so I opted for the standing stretch.
Finally, you’ll also need to get some mobility in your hamstrings. A great way to do that is a nice forward fold or hamstring stretch. I like to start with a static version (holding tension on the hamstrings) and then move to a dynamic version of the stretch (alternating bent and straightened knees).
After you go through these, you should be ready to do your assisted squat.
The assisted squat
An assisted squat is great for someone who isn't quite able to perform a full-depth squat due to injury, excess body weight, lack of flexibility, or lack of strength. In the assisted squat, you hold onto something stable (like a tree) which helps take some pressure and balance off the legs to create an easier version of the full squat.
Doing these consistently for a few weeks or months can really help you develop the mobility, balance, and strength to move away from the tree and squat with ease anywhere and anytime.
LEARN MORE: 5+ Benefits of Squatting and How to Prepare