Friday, December 14, 2018

To squat or not

I receive e-mails from someone called Taylor, but they are usually just teasers to buy more stuff.  Today he was recommending sumo squats, so I looked that up.  Everyone (at exercise web sites) seem to rave about them, and that every athlete (that’s not me) or regular gym goer (that’s me) should incorporate them.

First, proper form.

“The squat has been crowned as ‘the king of all exercises’ by many because of its undeniable ability to make your muscles grow faster and stronger in less time than other popular compound movements, and this is why it’s a part of the training routines of pro athletes and average gym-goers alike. In fact, athletes from every sport and discipline use some version of this exercise to tone their legs and abs, strengthen their core and improve their overall performance. “
Video showing the difference between a regular squat and a sumo squat.  It’s all in the feet.
“Once you've mastered proper form for a standard squat, you can move on to other variations like the sumo squat. To perform a sumo squat, stand with your feet significantly wider than hip-distance apart (about three to four feet), turn your toes out 45 degrees and hold your hands by your sides. Lower yourself down by bending your knees and hips, raising your hands to meet under your chin. Keep your abs tight, back straight and do not let your knees move past your toes when lowering. Once your thighs parallel the floor, root through your heels and rise back up steadily for one rep. Again, depending on your fitness level and goals, start out with three sets of eight reps and building from there once you get more comfortable with them.”
And what elderly person doesn’t need more mobility, flexibility, balance and stability?

4.  Mobility and Flexibility
Sumo squats are also a fantastic exercise for improving both mobility and flexibility.
And because squatting is a motion that people use every day–whether it’s sitting or rising from a chair or squatting down to pick up a heavy object–the gains you will make from doing regular sumo squats should be easy to both see and feel.
Additionally, because the muscles in your legs and core have to act in unison during sumo squats, they learn to work together, and that can lead to significantly better mobility. . .
Sumo squats are also useful as a dynamic stretch. While you lower yourself and then rise back up, your muscles alternate between contracting and lengthening, which ultimately warms them, reduces any tension that has built up, and stretches them out.

5. Balance and stability
Your core muscles have a lot to do with maintaining balance in all kinds of activities, but sumo squats demand a lot from them, especially when your body is first learning to adapt to the new motion.

They not only help to keep you from toppling over backwards when you are lowering yourself, but they are also crucial for keeping your back straight and ensuring that you don’t lean too far forward. Video on proper form beginning with regular squats.

Two exercises for back pain.  One involves squats.

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