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Last week I gave some background on why queerfit thinks of bodyweight squats as a restorative exercise. To wit, years of sitting for long stretches of time in the twin evil creations of western capitalism – chairs & couches – have put the kabbash our mobility, and the best way to restore that mobility is unweighted squats. If they’re done correctly.

A good, restorative air squat goes like this:

  1. Set up with your feet shoulder width apart and turned slightly outward.
  2. Push your butt back and hinge at your hip;
  3. then as you sit downwards,
  4. push your knees out so your heels remain flat on the ground.
  5. Reverse to stand.

That’s it. The bottom of your squat is as far below your knees as you can get your hip crease while maintaining a good curve in (as opposed to rounding) your lower back and remaining fairly upright with a big, high chest.  If your knees wobble or cave inwards as you stand up, shove them outwards.

Check out the difference:

squatsThe guy on the right is limited by tight hamstrings and tight hip flexors, but he is actually being saved from injury by the lack of flexibility in his ankles – flexible ankles let you shoot your knees out over your toes rather than sit down.  If you have loosey-goosey ankles, you want to take care to keep your shin bone as vertical as possible throughout the movement. What you want to do is sit.

Put another way, the active sit (aka the squat) is the restorative to the passive sit. The best dosage? Doing 15-20 squats at the top of every hour. Your hamstrings and hip flexors will be singing your praises if you take these short breaks  on the hour. In terms of restoration, doing 15-20 squats 10 times a day is far better than   sitting for 10 hours and then doing 200 squats at once. Toss in 5-10 pushups to your top-of-the-hour restoration station and your triceps will be hopping around trying to high five your spleen. Body fiesta!

Then when you come to queerfit, we’ll take that restorative squat and use it as the basis for all those variations and progressions that will increase your mobility (wall balls, see Lynnee and Everette, above) and make you strong as an ox (back squat, front squat, overhead squat).

For today’s workout, I’m hauling in a 80-pound punching bag for us to throw around. Squat, grab, lift, toss backwards over your shoulder. If you have a solid squat, easy as pie. See y’all at 6:15, the usual spot near the Inman Park MARTA station.