I had one of my newest personal training clients ask me a very common question today which I felt might be on a lot of your minds. It was actually a two part question and although simple in nature requires a more detailed explanation. The question was “How often do I need to squat and why do we squat in the warmup if it is just going to be part of the workout”.
To answer the first question I am going to do something that my girlfriend hates and answer a question with a question. That question is “How important are squats?” Well considering that every time you sit down or stand up you are squatting. Yeah pretty important huh? Remember that scene from Lethal Weapon? We do that every day too.Olympic gold medalist and now wrestling coach Dan Gable’s method is: If it is important, do it every day. If it is not important, then don’t do it at all. Now this concept may be hard for some of you to swallow but to me it makes complete sense. If this is what it’s going to take to prevent injury, avoid back pain, lose weight, get stronger, etc. then why not do it every day?
The problem is people find themselves doing too much of the crap that isn’t helping them like walking 45 minutes on the treadmill watching reruns of the Bachelor or Ace of Cakes. Still doing a zillion crunches? How much results have you got from taking pilates once a week for the past 7 years?
This goes hand in hand with the Pareto Principle or 80/20 rule. Only 20% of what we do in the gym yields 80% of our results. That means that the other 80% is just filler. If you are spending an hour in the gym a day and not focusing on the important stuff then you are wasting 45 precious minutes of time that you could be using to reach your goals. Hmmm…..
Now to answer the second part of the question we are going to apply the answer to the first. If it is important, then do it every day. Simple. Warm-ups are done to not only prepare our bodies for the more intense exercise to come but they are done to refine our movements, prevent injury and just get the blood flowing. And when we start getting older, getting the blood flowing is a good thing…or so I’ve heard.
If you can’t do part of the warm-up or perfect a basic movement then you should not be doing certain exercises until you can. Can’t get in a perfect squat position? Can’t plank just right? Can’t do a pull-up? Do it every day until you can. If you want to do something, then do it.
10 things I do every day:
- Foam Roll (with PVC – Hurt So Good- John Cougar Mellancamp)
- Stretch my hip flexors and other stuff (your hips are tighter than mine, why don’t you do this?)
- Turkish Get-Ups (full body warm-up and they are fun and impossible to master)
- brush my teeth (pretty important I think)
- blog (I like you guys)
- The big lifts (squat, deadlift, pull-up, bench, and row….or some variation of one of those)
- core (so much to learn young grasshopper)
- Explosive lifts (swinging bells, throwing stuff, jumping….lots of fun verbs)
- shower (so fresh and so clean)
- eat tons of fruit, veggies and protein
So keep pounding away at the basics in your warm-up and you will get better each day. This should also help pave the way towards reaching your goals. Remember:
“If it is important, then do it every day. If it is not, then don’t do it at all”. – Dan Gable