Today I wanted to talk about an application of concepts. Does everyone remember our favorite toddler in the perfect squat position?:
While I know that we coaches continue to sing about the mechanics and positioning of a proper full-depth squat while you’re at the gym, do you ever think about how you squat outside of the gym? How do you crouch down when out in public? When you’re out shopping, how do you lean, crouch or squat down to reach something on the bottom shelf?
I’m willing to bet you might look less like our friend the toddler and more this guy:
Take a look at his heels? Are they making contact with the ground? What about his feet – shoulder width apart? Are his knees tracking over his toes?
Hmm. Sure doesn’t look like it. He looks very different than our toddler.
Some like to make the argument that we squat correctly as children (case in point our toddler friend depicted above) and somehow acquire bad habits as adults:
Bad habits huh? Well, maybe we can blame it on our shoe wear?:
Weird how her heels are in the same position as his? Hmm.
Now this is a fine argument that can explain why our heels come off the ground in the squat if we wore high heeled shoes everyday, but what about the men? Not being sexist, but the reality is women wear more high heeled shoes than men. So how do men end up with shortened heel cords (calf muscle)?
Maybe we should all wear sandals? All joking aside, this is why there are strong arguments supporting the minimalist barefoot shoe. It un-trains our ankle and our heel cords from being shortened.
The truth of the matter is, we should squat the same no matter where we are squatting. Whether your squatting with a bar on your shoulders, a bar over your head, squatting to pick something up from the ground, or crouching down to grab something on the bottom shelf at the grocery store.. the position you put your body in below parallel should not change.
The next time you’re outside the gym and you squat, take a look at your heels. Are they in contact with the ground? Why not?