A year ago I wrapped up the first year of Dr. Guy Voyer’s Somatraining course work with the Squat/Posturology course. I was no stranger to the squat. I had been squatting since I was a teen, yet I learned more than I could have imagined.
Since the course, I have been using the squat bar warm up (take a peek here to see what the warm up looks like) and a variety of the different squat styles each for the past year.
Benefits I have experienced:
- Improvement in posture
- Decrease in body fat
- Increased muscle mass
- Improvement in my digestive function
- More power and endurance in my martial arts practice
- Zero injuries (injury prevention)
You may be wondering, what is it about squatting PROPERLY that can lead to such a wide variety of gains…..
It’s your paraspinals! Your paraspinal muscles (the ones that run up your spine from bottom to top) are largely responsible for extending the spine against gravity stopping your upper back from rounding. You know, like when you sit at a computer all day. These muscles engage the minute you put a bar on your shoulders in an effort to fight gravity. By simply strengthening these muscles, you can hold your spine straighter.
Additionally, your paraspinals are the first muscles to be connected to nerves since they are the first muscle layer to be penetrated by the nerves exiting the spinal cord. The stimulation of this muscle group leads to better proprioception and awareness of the different spinal segments. When these muscles are actively stimulated one experiences an overall relaxation of these muscles post workout.
Paraspinals and organ function
As your posture improves via the paraspinal work, you reap all the benefits of having better posture. For example, less compression on the organs because you are not hunched over as often.The founding principle of Osteopathic Medicine is that structure and function are interrelated. That means that if you are constantly slouched you are putting pressure on the organs, nerves, and vertebrae negatively effecting their function. Kinda important when you think of your heart or lungs…
While there are a multitude of other improvements including hip mobility, improved cardio-respiratory function, and muscle mass gain, we will save that for another day. Moreover, it’s essential to spend adequate time post squatting to do some Myo-fascial stretching and ELDOA to ensure that your tissue stays hydrated and pliable. Need help getting started?
3 things you can do to squat better today:
- Perform a proper warm-up like the one in the video linked above
- Start with body weight ONLY to insure proper technique
- Explore multiple squat modalities. (Not sure how? Click here.)
Check out the video below to see me doing some squats!