Are You Afraid to Squat?

Functional Aging

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Your Personal Best Training Studio
Doddridge Plaza
3765 S. Alameda, Ste 102
Corpus Christi, TX 78411
(361) 857-5087
  1. Are You Afraid to Squat?


    I amsquat often told, “Squatting hurts my knees” and yet, we can’t avoid this fundamental human movement. Think of how many times you do these movements during the day.

    • Get up from a chair, couch or the potty
    • Pick something up off the ground
    • Get out of a car
    • Get out of bedBeing able to do this motion is quite important for quality of life and independence as you age. This is why I regularly have my clients’ practice squatting. When done repeatedly, it’s a great strengthening exercise that uses the larger muscles in the legs.

    Aging client is practicing squatting facing the wall. Sometimes I put a chair behind the person if they feel that they might go backward. This awkward way to squat REALLY takes care of the knees and teaches the person to push their rear end back keeping the knees in proper alignment over their toes.

    Listed below are a few other common mistakes people make when squatting:

    Common Squatting Mistakes Explained

    Bringing Knees Together

    Knees should line up between the hip and foot when viewed from the front. As you start moving upward, try not to let your knees come together

    Favoring One Leg
    Try not to shift your weight when you are squatting. You should feel like you have equal pressure on both feet and feel the muscles of both legs doing an equal amount of work.

    Many of you have had an injury or surgery on a hip, knee, or ankle. While the bad leg was healing, you shifted more of the workload onto the good leg. Unfortunately, this pattern became so ingrained that you continue to squat this way even after your injured leg has healed.

    If you continue to do this, you’re always going to have one leg that’s weaker.

    Looking at the Floor
    I tell my clients, “You are going to GO the direction you are looking!”

    When getting out of a chair, pick a spot out in front of you that is about four or five feet high and fix your eyes on it as you get up. Looking forward in this manner will ensure that your head is up and your body goes the direction you intended.

    Feet Too Close Together
    Wider legs are more stable. Get your feet at least ten inches apart before you try to stand up. This is a simple fix and will result in much greater stability.

    Plopping Down
    When you are squatting for exercise, remember that you are strengthening your muscles both on the way up as you move against gravity, and on the way down, as you try to control your descent. Gravity wants to pull you down into that chair and make you PLOP.

    Other Tips
    You may already be too weak in the legs to do the squat correctly from a chair. You can still improve your leg strength over time. Try the squat from your bed; it may be higher than most chairs.

    Action Plan
    To strengthen your legs using the squat, you can do 1 or 2 sets of 8-15 squats 2 or 3 times per week. Become aware of your squat form every time you get up from that chair!

    Yours in Health and Fitness,

    Lisa Wright – ISSA Fitness Professional
    Your Personal Best Training Studio
    Owner/Director of Operations


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  2. Gardening Workout

    Click on image for gardening workout!

    Spring is Here!

    The best part of spring? Gardening! Get your garden ready and workout at the same time! Simple gardening like raking, fertilizing, weeding  and mowing can all give you a workout.

    This Spring-Workout shows you three different levels of activities! What are you waiting for? The weather is perfect to get your gardening workout on.

  3. Exercise of The Month – One Leg Squat

    The one leg squat is a great bodyweight leg exercise that is also great fun to practice.  It is not the most difficult skill to master, but once obtained the one leg squat can be varied and can offer advanced progression to all fitness levels.   As much a test of balance, coordination and flexibility as leg strength it is a skill that transfers over well to many sports and activities in everyday life.  We highly recommend this exercise to be included in most fitness programs.

    Balance is one important component of the squat that is needed as a foundation to stand on one leg and perform the squat. Test your balance by lifting one leg out in front of you and see how well you can maintain the position, if this is not a problem, skip this part and move on to the next phase.  If on the other hand you find yourself swaying this way and that, then improving your balance is the first thing to do.  You can improve your balance and can modify your squat a few different ways.  Using balance poles or a chair behind you can aid in performing the one leg squat, as you continue to work on your balance.  Keeping your arms pointing straight out in front of you will also help maintain your balance by keeping your weight over the pushing leg- if you find you are unstable crossing the arms over the chest.

    Start by sitting down on the bench with both legs and standing up on one. Once you’ve got that down, engage your core, lower yourself down to the bench on one leg and use both legs to stand back up. From there, try to do the entire motion on one leg. Do not bounce off the bench. At first, it may help to pause on the bench, but try to work towards making it one continuous motion. When you can control the eccentric and come back up without the knee caving in, it’s time to move on.

    The next step is to increase the range of motion. The best way to do this is to stand on a step so that the non-working leg can drop below the foot of the working leg. Work down gradually until you reach a depth where the femur is at least parallel to the floor.

    Another way to perform the one-leg squat is to use the TRX and perform a “Pistol” by using your own body weight, aided by a suspension training system. The TRX one leg Squat develops core stability, anti-rotational strength and coordination in a single exercise.

    Start at the end range of motion, standing on one leg, with your hips extended and your core braced. Lock your shoulders down and back.  Your bodyweight should be equally distributed between your leg and arms as you lower yourself down in one smooth controlled motion. When you reach the bottom of the exercise, pause for a moment to reengage your core and pull yourself up, again with equal effort from your arms and leg. Extend the pause at the bottom for a longer isometric contraction before you come up to further challenge this exercise.



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  4. Exercise of the Month: October 2011

    Lisa Wright Dumbbell Sport Squat – Rotation

    Stand holding a 10-pound dumbbell with hand-over-hand grip. Feet should be more than shoulder width apart. Lower to a squat. As you rise, turn to the right while bending your elbows and raising the weight over right shoulder. Hips should face right, with your weight over your right foot and your left heel off the floor. Return to the starting position and repeat to the opposite side.

    Benefit: In addition to strengthening the gluteus, this move increases strength and mobility in the large muscles in the back and shoulders.

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Your Personal Best Location
Your Personal Best Training Studio
Doddridge Plaza
3765 S. Alameda, Ste 102
Corpus Christi, TX 78411
(361) 857-5087