School is back in session! The kids are leaving the nest again, filling their minds with school-related subjects that we hope they will retain and use the rest of their lives. I mean, who doesn’t use the quadratic formula in their everyday lives? Imagine what life would be like if we hadn’t memorized those endless Shakespeare soliloquys, our vocabulary would most likely regress back to grunts and hisses of the cavemen! I am not trying to discount all the vital information we learned back in the elementary days, it has shaped and formed all of us into who we are today. We each pick and choose which subjects we wish to retain and save a bit of extra space in our minds for this “useful, practical information.”
When am I ever going to use this in daily life? Information is much easier to remember when you can apply it to your daily life. Personally, and I’m sure I speak for all the coaches when I say this, we chose to remember the sciences and kinesthetic, physical patterns. In the same way a mathematician can instantly learn a new formula and apply it to countless other applications, movement patters and bodily awareness come easy to us coaches. We see the value in every single move we have our clients do, and we try to keep it as functional as possible. The most functional of any move you can do is the squat.
You perform the squat, or a variation of the squat, numerous times every day. Picking up your pet, getting out of bed, sitting and standing at your desk, loading and unloading groceries, walking up and down stairs, etc. It is such a functional move because it requires the recruitment of the majority of muscles in your body. Every muscle group in your lower body performs the movement. Your hamstrings stabilize and lower your body, your calves and ankles provide stabilization and balance, your quadriceps and hips work together to straighten your body and return you to a standing position. The squat is so effective, that even your upper body wants to join in on the fun. Your spine erectors maintain your posture, your lats stabilize the rest of your back, your core stabilizes your rib cage and spine, your shoulders stabilize your upper back and neck. If you add weight, the squats becomes an even greater asset as the full-body loading sparks increases in bone density, hormone release, balance and muscle recruitment.
Proper posture is of prime importance when performing the squat, or any variation of the squat in everyday life. In previous newsletters we have spoken about posture and how improper posture can negatively affect your life. This is the reason why we preach posture throughout all of our moves. Say you have a busy day doing errands, chores and taking care of the kids. You go grocery shopping and buy a pack of water and other heavy materials, your kids need to be lifted up and put down many times, you’re climbing stairs, you’re carrying heavy bags or briefcases. All of these moves, performed with improper posture can add up and resonate as lower back pain, upper back stiffness, or sore shoulders. However, performed with proper posture, these moves create a stronger, healthier person.
The bottom line is that whatever you do at Elite should be applied to your “real life”. You spend 45 minutes to an hour and a half in here, and the rest of the time you are on your own. Take what you learn in here, and try to apply it to the rest of your daily life; especially variations of moves that are as complex as squats. Your whole body is working together, make sure it is working the proper way!