The squat, also referred to as malasana in sanskrit, is a crouching position that can take multiple lower body joints to their end ranges of motion. Seemingly simple, squats can be performed as either a static or a dynamic exercise, and requires no special equipment or props at all! Performing squats on a regular basis can lead to some great benefits.
1. Maintain and improve lower body flexibility: Squatting is a compound, multijoint movement (or pose!), that involves taking many different joints, such as the hip, knee, and the ankle, through end ranges of motion that are very functional to daily everyday movements as well.
2. Build lower body strength and stability: Performing a squat as a dynamic exercise works several different muscle groups, notably the quadriceps, glutes, and the hamstrings. Maintaining good upper body alignment will also demand some core stability.
3. Decreases risk of chronic low back pain: A recent study showed that over 20% of Americans suffer from some form of chronic pain, notably in the back, hip, knee, or foot. Another study also showed that being able to perform a proper squat is correlated with lower levels of chronic back pain.
4. Carries over into athletic and daily activities: Squatting involves changing your center of gravity in a standing position, and most athletic activities involve quick movements in different planes. Many coaches use squatting as a diagnostic test to screen lower body mobility and general biomechanics. Many movements in everyday life, such as picking something up or just simply sitting down, are also variations on the squat.
Squatting, either performed throughout the day as regular activity, or as an addition to an exercise program, can have many benefits and improve your physical comfort in your everyday life!
1. Yong, R. J., Mullins, P. M., & Bhattacharyya, N. (2021). Prevalence of chronic pain among adults in the United States. Pain, Publish Ahead of Print. https://doi.org/10.1097/j.pain.0000000000002291
2. Grönblad, Mats M.D., Ph.D.; Järvinen, Erkki M.Sc.; Hurri, Heikki M.D., Ph.D.*; Hupli, Markku M.D.*; Karaharju, Erkki O. M.D., Ph.D. Relationship of the Pain Disability Index (PDI) and the Oswestry Disability Questionnaire (ODQ) with Three Dynamic Physical Tests in a Group of Patients with Chronic Low-Back and Leg Pain, The Clinical Journal of Pain: September 1994 – Volume 10 – Issue 3 – p 197-203