Leading on from last week's Blog about knees, there's a movement we tend to avoid that encourages a good range of motion in your ankles, knees and hips. It can also help to strengthen your glutes (excellent for taking a load off your knees). You guessed it, it's the squat - and it comes in all sorts of shapes and it's not one size fits all. If you give yourself time to open up the ranges of motion that will allow a full squat you might even enjoy the journey.
In many instances our squat capacity tends to shrink to around the level of standard chair height (no prizes for guessing why!) We feel stiff and awkward when we do squat so we gradually find ourselves bending at the waist to pick things up - almost eliminating the squat completely. (Ever done a few hours of gardening and wondered why your back was sore the next day? Have a look at picture 1 below. It's really easy to get locked into this way of moving.)
Remember no movement is the 'bad guy', it's the way we limit our movements that can turn into painful problems and limited ranges of motion. In the remaining photos above look at the different ways I'm squatting. It's fine to turn your feet out just make sure you keep your knees lined up with the centre of your ankles, so not rolling out or in. You can also play with how wide your legs are and see if you can back your hips up - stirring those glutes into action. You don't have to come down to a particular level, always give your tissues time to adjust. And if you were to calf stretch 1 and calf stretch 2 first can you imagine how much easier this movement would be? Please never move into pain - just experiment with what it feels like to squat. .
Here's another way to practice your squat that's going to either Box A: potentially inflame your knees, your lower back and weaken your ankles and even your pelvic floor or........ Box B: do great things for all of the above and enhance your Booty! Mmmmmm, which one to choose, which one to choose? Choose Box B people, choose Box B!