Occasionally as a fitness instructor and personal trainer, the question arises: “What if I can’t squat?” By far, squats are one of the most beneficial core exercises, yet many people, even fitness professionals struggle with executing a squat in proper form. Many people ask this question because they desire to do a proper squat however, due to possible knee, leg, and/or back injuries; they may be unable to do them temporarily.
Unfortunately, many people execute the squat incorrectly. For example, I have seen people do squats and their feet, more specifically; the balls of their toes come off the floor. This is not the correct way to execute a squat. Both feet should remain grounded on the floor when doing a squat. If the toes and/or feet are not grounded on the floor, then that person is risking a possible injury.
What if you or someone you know cannot squat? It is possible that due to medical limitations, tight quadriceps, hamstrings, in addition to possible injuries, one may not initially be able to perform a squat. What can you do to gradually work your way up to squatting? WALK. Yes, walk. If you are new to exercising or haven’t exercised in a while, one of the best exercises that can benefit you is walking.
I know first hand after recovering from a leg injury, walking can and will strengthen the muscles around the knee, the quadriceps, and hamstrings. As a suggestion, newbies should start out with maybe 15-20 minutes three times a week. This is not in stone; listen to your body. As you gain strength over the weeks that follow, adding intensity to your walking such as walking up a hill, using the steps, or if you are on a treadmill, increasing the incline will reap excellent results. If you continue the minimum of walking at least three times a week and increase your minutes, in 4-6 weeks, you will be ready for your squat!
Another way to gradually transition into squats is to put a chair behind you and slowly squat down, but don’t sit in the chair. Make sure your feet stay flat on the floor. The knees should not extend the toes. Using the chair is very effective because you can monitor your own form. You can do the squat slowly (who says squats have to be done at the tempo and/or beat of music?). Furthermore, you will be getting a workout while you practice your squat!
Once the squat is executed properly, knee pain will most likely diminish and your quadriceps hamstrings, gluteus muscles will begin to tone. Again, squats are an all-time favorite and most likely are not going away. Nearly every fitness professional incorporates some sort of squat move in their program. If done correctly and properly, one will see great results in strength and muscle tone.
Practice, Practice, Practice!
Practice makes perfect as they say. So what are you waiting for?! Let’s do this! Stay tuned for more articles on health and fitness.