For the Health of It: What you should know before doing another squat
The good, the bad and the ugly, and some things you may have been thinking about.
1. Slow lifting. Avoid it unless you are completely new to training. If this is the case I recommend finding a trainer who can teach you the basics. Lifting super slowly just produces a super long workout- and that’s about it. Remember, “faster” lifting does not mean sloppy lifting.
2. Squats can hurt your knees. And cotton swabs are dangerous when you shove them to far in your ears. It’s a matter of knowing what you’re doing. A recent study in Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise concluded that open chain (exercises in which a single joint is activated such as leg extensions) are potentially more dangerous than closed chain (multiple joints such as the squat). If you don’t like that back squat, avoid it- there are many ways to squat.
3. Muscle soreness. Muscle soreness is not the best way to determine the quality of your workout- although we associate soreness with success. Additionally, you don’t need to skip a workout if you’re sore. Pay attention to how sore you are and take it from there. If your muscles are sore to the touch, give it another rest day. Otherwise, get back at it.
4. Stretching. Yes, it’s beneficial. But it doesn’t really prevent injuries. According to Julie Gilchrist, M.D., stretching increases flexibility and most injuries occur within the normal range of motion. So, here’s a thought- if you become more flexible and increase your normal range of motion, did you just widen the gap in which injuries occur? How flexible you need to be is a matter of personal preference. Being flexible isn’t the “be all and end all.” There are other components of fitness that matter, too.
5. Stability balls. Don’t swap out your bench (or chair at work) in favor of performing exercises on the stability ball. While they are beneficial for some things, leg curls for example. If your goal is to get stronger, or bigger, your best bet is to turn to your trusty bench. In order to get stronger, you need a big weight – appropriate for you, of course. When you do presses on the ball you have to decrease the weight which means you’re making the exercise less effective. A ball is fun and good for variety but it shouldn’t be your go-to platform. And sitting on the ball at work in lieu of your chair just doesn’t work. You will likely slouch anyway. The idea of it working your core more is anecdotal at best.
Tim Hlivia is a trainer at Leverage Fitness Studio. Need help getting started on fitness? He will be happy to take the time and sit down with you and talk. 570-338-2386.