Happy Monday. Last week we went over how to make hummus is less than 300 seconds, serving as a low GL, high protein, healthy carb and fat alternative to those conventional snacks you crave. This week we’re back to gaining a workout edge, by learning how to do better quality squats.
When it comes to squats and the numerous variations, there’s one important thing that many forget or have either never considered doing.
Let’s get started.
You’ve got a lot of squat variations out there.
The standard barbell squat. The front squat. The Zercher squat (an effective but not well known one). The goblet squat (impossible to screw up).
The list goes on and on.
Squats are an important compound movement, one that strengthens and defines more than just your quads (though contrary to popular belief, doesn’t activate nearly as much muscle activity, sculpt, and grow your butt as effectively as most would have you believe – look out for what exercises do in my next upcoming book.)
Squats are also what a lot of people tend to screw up easily, largely because of either poor form, or mobility/stability inadequacies.
While I say to each their own in picking whatever squat variation you prefer to do most, occasionally I will intervene and state that some things just need correcting.
One of the most important being not how you squat, but what you squat with.
Or, without, in this case.
SUPP UP. is alll about cutting away the inessential – in this case, it’s all about ditching the shoes.
You heard me (or…read right) – ditch the shoes.
Why? It’s something I first discovered a long time ago after suffering an ankle injury (ironically not from lifting at all), which put mobility and stability as top priority.
After finding my ankle safe enough to walk on (with light pressure), I realized if I wanted to get back to lifting pronto I had to treat this important joint with a bit of…tough love.
That meant quickly finding a way to strengthen this primary mobility joint with exercises and techniques that activated all my little surrounding stability joints, ligaments, and tendons, to get it back to full working order. The concept and application was so simple to apply I felt like an idiot for not thinking about doing it pre-injury.
Ditching shoes while squatting was the best thing I could’ve done.
Imagine wearing winter mittens your entire life and trying to carry on day to day activities. Wearing shoes, when it comes to working out, is a lot like that. You inhibit your body’s natural ability to “feel” everything.
Meaning you inhibit your body’s natural ability to move the way it needs to, and fine tune the way it stabilizes itself.
Ditch the shoes and you’ll quickly realize what other issues you may have – those of you who bought my book already know exactly what I’m talking about, in regards to how joints work. If you haven’t read my book yet, well…you know what to do.
From tight calves, to achy knees, sore hips, to lower back pain, changing this one little thing while squatting can bring your attention to other problems you’ve been ignoring – and allow you to make corrections accordingly, with either your body sorting itself out by default or you taking the proactive step to change that which needs to be improved…
Squatting without shoes allows your feet to shift and move where they need to, in order to protect and support other joints in the movement that carry out the squat. If your gym frowns on taking your shoes off (lame), then at least pick up a pair of slightly oversized Converse Chuck Taylor All Star low tops (or Vibram Fivefingers) and squat in those.
Bottom line, make sure your feet are on a flat, stable surface, and you’ll be just fine.
Do this and watch your squat form dramatically improve.
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If you really like this post, but don’t have the SUPP UP. books yet, buy SUPP UP. No Bull, Gym In A Bag Workout Guide now, as a paperback or E-book, and discover great ways to get more out of your workouts while travelling or on the go (preview of chapters available in shop).
Drop by next week for yet another great post to add to your workout and nutrition arsenal.
Stop doing guesswork, start making the necessities of your life easier.
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– SUPP UP.
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Photo 1 & 2: Jesper Aggergaard