Tuesday, 4 February 2014

The Squat and it's Relevance for Barefoot Runners

30 mins squatting per day for 30 days...

This is a challenge currently on the go in the PARKOUR community. What’s the point?

The squat is a natural human movement. Due to our early introduction and ongoing addiction to the chair, it’s a movement that has been all too soon lost to us. The squat, as an exercise, practices a movement pattern the industry likes to call the ‘hip drive’. It’s that straightening out action of the hip from bent to upright. It involves a posterior chain of muscles, the gluteals, the hamstrings and the adductors.
It’s the movement from which we derive most of our power whether it’s for sport or just lifting groceries.

But why sit in this position for a prolonged time?

I lived in India for some time and would watch the gardeners attending to their tasks sitting in this position for hours at a time then easily stand straight up collect their lunch and squat again. Many of the eastern cultures sit in this position to rest. What the squat does is maintain the mobility, flexibility and power to use the big muscles for big jobs. It maintains the power to drive up through the pelvis without putting any lateral strain on the back. That’s important because as a therapist what I often find is that I am working with conditions caused by small muscles doing the big jobs because the big ones are redundant from disuse.

Teaching and perfecting the squat is hard and getting it right hurts while the flexibility and power is built up. Once the work is done the reward is a strong, flexible hip knee and ankle and a system that can work and run produce power and absorb impact.

Learn to squat to learn to run.

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