Squatting is a skill we master even before we learn to talk, yet somehow, along the way, we lose our mastery of this basic movement. You can watch a toddler stand up from a deep squat with ease but listen to his dad groan as he gets up from his chair. Squatting as humans is as natural as breathing, yet somehow, most of us as adults struggle to do it. In our western culture, we have largely abandoned the squat in favour of sitting. We sit to rest, to drive, to work, to use the toilet. We sit so much that we have forgotten how to rest comfortably in a deep squat or how to even do a basic squat. You’ve heard the saying “use it or lose it”. You may have also heard “motion is lotion”.
Both sayings can be applied to here. If hips and knees do not regularly go past 90 degrees the body degenerates. Body parts not actively in use soon break down. The body actually stops the production of synovial fluid (your body’s version of WD-40) in unused joints.
CrossFit founder Greg Glassman says “people who don’t squat do not have normal hip or leg function”. The benefits of the squat can not be overstated. Squatting helps to build and maintain a stronger lower body as well as preserving your range of motion making movement easier. Maintaining the ability to squat allows you to stay active and independent as you get older.
From day 1 at LifeTree, you were shown how to squat. As the foundational movement of CrossFit, we work on it constantly. A squat performed properly is a natural and safe movement.
I recently spoke to an orthopedic surgeon about my own situation. I have had knee injuries in the past and I wanted his opinion on the pros and cons of the squat. He told me I should definitely squat and to squat often, not holding back. The greatest risk is not doing it.
Greg Glassman says “ regardless of what the problem is, the answer is to squat!” The squat is the fundamental building block for fitness and well being.
I will sum it all up with another Glassman quote; “Just squat!”