Director of Strength & Conditioning, Jay McWilliams
There are a few simple movement patterns that are as old as humankind. Just now, research is showing us how these primal movements are key to our health and longevity. One of these movements we do every day and in countless classes but we probably take for granted; the squat. The squat (along with the deadlift) is an excellent way to improve leg strength. A recent study from Brazil found that lack of leg strength is closely linked to higher mortality. In fact, people with weak legs were at a 5-6 times higher risk of death than those with strong legs! To build greater leg strength, we need to focus on performing squats with good form and added resistance (weight). In Targeted Strength and Conditioning we master Goblet Squats, Split Squats, Rear-Foot Elevated Split Squats and Squat Thrusts. In time, our participants build up to heavier and heavier weights to really get strong. Time to get squatting!
Beyond the strength building benefit, performing a deep squat (also called a “third-world squat”) improves flexibility, by loosening the all-important hip flexors. Modern life has put many of us in an anterior pelvic tilt, due to lots of time spent sitting: at the office, in the car, and in front of the TV. Performing deep squats, along with stretching and foam-rolling, is a great anti-dote to this condition. To perform a deep squat, picture a toddler squatting while playing or (pardon the crude image) how you would squat to use the bathroom without a toilet. This is the position you need to be in to reap the benefits. Practice getting into this position and holding your balance to up to a few minutes at a time. Your body will thank you, and you may even live longer!