I know it may not seem like it but there is plenty of method to the madness that is the CrossFit gallery of movements. Yes, even burpees have plenty of utility and purpose. The movement we’re going to discuss today is just your basic squat. It’s actually not even a movement really. It became that as human beings moved towards complete domestication and no longer had jobs that featured real labor. The squat is really the first and most natural way of sitting down. Early humans when deciding to rest from walking for most of the day would simply “pop a squat” wherever they were. This is still the form of sitting in many Asian/Indian cultures today. Families gather around dinner tables by sitting in a squat.
The squat, the movement as we teach it, is really the best and most natural way of lowering your entire center of mass while maintaining balance. It is best performed with a shoulder width stance and the toes canted out no more than 30 degrees. The athlete will then initiate the movement with the hips by sending them back and down. As they do this the knees will almost immediately bend as well and a neutral spine will be maintained. The hips will descend lower than the knees at which point the athlete will drive through their heels until they reach full hip and knee extension.
The squat, although the foundation of great functional movement, is really more of a diagnostic tool in my opinion. A great squat can tell a PT or a wise/astute MD all they need to know about a person’s hip and knee function. No human, no matter how pain free their knees may be, truly has healthy knees if they cannot perform a full range of motion squat. A person also cannot have a fully functioning hip without a full depth squat. The pelvis is designed to undergo this range of motion and the risk of not doing so is profound. The moment a heavy object is needed to be lifted off the floor at home, a person without a fully functioning hip will resort to using their back and it’s only a matter of time before a disc is slipped.
The squat also is the most basic way of teaching someone how to apply force from big muscle groups to smaller ones. This is the foundation of sport and combat. An athlete that understands how to coil and unload profound force is much more capable than one that is not. In a great squat, the athlete will accept the load onto the hips and apply that force to the legs and trunk. A mastered squat is truly nettlesome. It can take years to finally get one that is truly virtuous. And, the only way to get one is to spend more time in the squat.
To learn more about how the squat, along with fitness and nutrition, can change your life, contact us!