When do we lose the ability to perform a perfect squat?
As children, we all have perfect form, but I can tell you that most adults don’t. Usually during the first couple of sessions with a client, I have to work on a client’s squat form. Which always shocks me because of how often we perform squats throughout the day.
We squat to sit down in a chair. We squat to go the bathroom. We squat to pick something up off the floor (or at least we should be squatting instead of just bending over).
But if you watch adults squat to sit down, they don’t have near as good of form as children do. Most adults lean forward and don’t keep their weight in their heels. Most let their knees fall together or flare out. Most adults let those toes flare out.
Most adults have lost the ability to squat. They don’t know how to activate their muscles to squat down properly. Why is this? Is it because the more we sit around, the more our muscles forget how to move properly? I mean inactivity and all the sitting we do can result in tightness and altered muscle length-tension relationships, which can cause bad movement patterns…but when do we start losing the ability to move properly? Maybe this phrase is true – use it or lose it!
I mean you really do have to teach most adults all the steps to squatting that a baby is born knowing.
I have to tell them to stand upright with their feet pointing straight ahead, about shoulder-width apart. I have to tell them to push their butt back as they lower themselves to the ground, keeping their weight in their heels. I have to tell them to keep their chest up and head in a neutral position. I have to tell them to tighten their core to stabilize as they sink down. I have to remind them that if they are sitting back correctly their knees won’t go past their toes.
I have to remind them of everything that the baby above is doing without thought. Seriously, does anyone else find it sad that what a baby can do, most adults can’t?
Maybe play and recess need to be kept a part of the school day for longer so that we don’t lose our ability to move correctly (like until college at least…or maybe we should get recess at work….).