Squatting is the one and only exercise that I would suggest to senior citizens if I could only propose one.
Squats are an excellent exercise for improving your leg strength, as well as your mobility, balance, and overall ability to move.
So let’s speak about squats for older people today, shall we?
One of the most natural movement patterns for human beings to perform is the squat.
Unfortunately, in today’s modern western world, the vast majority of individuals have forgotten how to properly execute a squat, despite the fact that in many other cultures, squatting is a common way to relax and do business in the restroom.
This is due to the fact that we are always taught to sit in public places.
In the classroom, the workplace, the restroom, the vehicle, in front of the television or computer, and other places as well.
It is impossible to get into a full squat since the seats are always positioned too high.
Your muscles will get weak, and your joints will become stiff, if you continue to sit for so long.
If you had to perform many body weight squats every day for the rest of your life, like people have done for thousands of years, you would dramatically lower your risk of having knee and back problems, and your health and fitness would also improve.
This is due to the fact that our bodies are constructed to do the squat, and that performing them throughout their full range of motion will maintain your muscles, joints, ligaments, and tendons strong while also preserving their mobility.
Squats not only improve your lower body strength, but they also challenge your balance, stability, and proprioception. Squats are a great exercise.
Squat: What Exactly Is That?
Because the vast majority of people are so removed from the movement pattern of the squat, I felt it would be beneficial to have a conversation about what actually qualifies as a squat and what does not qualify as a squat.
A complete squat is a pattern of movement in which the individual sits down between their legs in such a way that their heels remain flat on the ground and their hips dip below the level of their knees.
Squats can have a passive (relaxed) bottom position, or they might have an active bottom position.
When you reach the bottom of the squat and relax, your lower back will flatten out somewhat, and your pelvis will tilt forward to achieve the entire depth of the movement.
If you are of a regular weight, carrying your body weight and relaxing in this position is totally safe.
However, if you lift any form of load while in this position, your lower back will be put in an unsafe position.
People in Asia rest in the passive bottom position while they are waiting for anything, while billions of people in other parts of the world adopt the same position when they go to the restroom.
To say the least, it’s normal, and it’s certainly not dangerous in any way.
If you are not used to it, it will feel awkward at first because it needs quite a bit of motion on your joints and ligaments to relax in this position. If you are used to it, it will feel natural.
When you are in the active bottom position, you want to make sure that your back is flat and that your hips are active.
You will not allow the front of your hips to tilt forward.
Because of this, your glutes and hamstrings will be loaded, and your lower back will be protected; as a result, you will be able to either lift a load or explode into a leap.
The active full squat is the pattern that is employed for producing explosive force in many different sports, and as a result, it is the key to improving athletic performance.
There are several varieties of the squat, including as the box squat, the chair squat, the back squat, the front squat, and so on. However, a squat is not considered to be a true squat if it does not require you to use both of your legs and bring your hips down lower than your knees.
At the gym or in workout courses, it is not uncommon to see people performing only a portion of a full squat.
It is not uncommon for personal trainers, particularly those who work with senior citizens, to make no attempt at all to instruct their clients in how to complete a full squat.
This is counterintuitive since it would likely be more advantageous to be able to complete a single squat with a full range of motion rather than a hundred partial squats. This is because performing a full range of motion squat requires more core strength and stability.
The muscle imbalances that are already there due to prolonged sitting are simply made worse by performing partial squats.
The most common difficulties include inactive hips and weak hamstrings, problems with mobility in the hip, knee, and ankle, and overactive quads that are still weak.
The wrong movement patterns that are reinforced by partial squats put your knee joints and other joints in your body, especially your knees, at risk due to faulty biomechanics and muscle imbalances.
Can Seniors Get Benefits From Squats
As we age, maintaining muscle strength and balance is crucial for maintaining overall health and preventing falls. One exercise that can be particularly beneficial for seniors is the squat. Squats can be modified to accommodate different fitness levels and abilities, making them a great option for seniors. Here are some of the benefits of squats for seniors.
- Increased leg strength: Squats work the muscles in your legs, including your quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes, which can help improve leg strength. This can be especially important for seniors, who may experience age-related muscle loss.
- Improved balance and stability: Squats require core engagement, which can help improve balance and stability. This can be especially important for seniors who may be at risk of falls or other balance-related injuries.
- Increased bone density: Like push-ups, squats are a weight-bearing exercise, which means they can help improve bone density. This can be particularly important for seniors, who may be at higher risk of osteoporosis and other bone-related issues.
- Increased flexibility: Squats require a range of motion in the hips, knees, and ankles, which can help improve flexibility and mobility. This can be particularly beneficial for seniors who may experience stiffness or reduced range of motion due to conditions like arthritis.
- Improved functional ability: Squats can help improve the ability to perform everyday tasks like standing up from a chair, climbing stairs, and lifting objects. This can be especially important for seniors who want to maintain their independence and quality of life.
- Improved mood: Exercise in general has been shown to have positive effects on mood and mental health, and squats are no exception. Regular exercise can help reduce stress and anxiety, and may even help improve cognitive function.
It’s worth noting that if you’re new to squats or haven’t exercised in a while, it’s important to start slowly and work your way up. Squats can be modified to accommodate different fitness levels and abilities, so don’t be discouraged if you’re not able to do a full squat right away. Additionally, it’s always a good idea to consult with a doctor or a fitness professional before starting a new exercise program, especially if you have any underlying health conditions or concerns.
What Is The Correct Squat Technique?
Squatting properly engages all of the major muscle groups in your legs, hips, and core. Squats are great for building strength in all of these areas.
These include the quadriceps, which are located in front of your thighs, the hamstrings, which are located behind your thighs, the glutes, which are located behind your knees, and the abdominal and back muscles, respectively.
Hip activation is essential to doing a squat in the correct manner and achieving success.
If you do not properly activate your hips, you will perform the movement with your quads, which will cause you to round your lower back.
You probably don’t have active hips or you have extremely limited ankle mobility if you can’t get to the bottom position of a squat without pulling your heels up.
This is something that I am aware of due to the fact that if you do not make active use of your hips, you will stoop down by putting your knees forward.
When this point is reached, your knees will no longer be able to move forward, and you will be forced to lift your heels in order to get lower.
The problem with this strategy is that it effectively does not engage two-thirds of your leg muscles, and it forces your knees into an extreme position, which is not healthy for them.
Squatting correctly requires raising your hips back, rather than bending forward at the knees.
You keep the weight on the heels or the middle of your foot, raise your hips back (by keeping your buttocks pulled back while maintaining a neutral spine), and then begin to descend them.
Your knees will only move forward a very small amount.
You will initially get the sensation that you are about to fall backwards, so grasp hold of something stable while you are attempting this.
You will be able to learn the proper squat pattern by using my free training program, which is available for download down below and can be found here:
Program for working out using free weights.
A Progression For Those Who Are Older Citizens.
Squats are a great exercise for senior citizens, but how should they progress?
By performing assisted squats, you will be able to learn the exact movement pattern that the program prescribes, which is the first and most significant stage.
When performing and mastering the squat pattern, assisted squats require the use of a support of some kind.
Holding on to a stable object in front of you while performing assisted squats is one way to improve your lower body strength.
This can be anything that is strong enough to support your weight when you lean on it and that you are able to grab on to securely, such as a table, a couch, or even the sink in the kitchen.
The support has two purposes: first, it provides a point of balance that enables you to learn how to activate your hips by bringing your hips back, and second, it helps you stand back up from the bottom of the squat position.
The most important thing to focus on when performing assisted squats is first learning how to activate the hips, and then learning how to perform the movement pattern with as little assistance as possible.
At some point, you should be able to perform the squat without really relying on the support for your balance, and then you should be able to stand back up without really using your arms to assist you.
When you are at the point in the workout where you are able to execute 10 repetitions of the aided squats, it is time to add in some chair squats.
As soon as you feel that you have reached a point where you are able to do aided squats, you can strengthen your strength by performing several repetitions of chair squats after them.
The chair squat is performed by simply sitting on a chair (as low as you can find) and utilizing the movement pattern we learned with the assisted squats. After sitting for a moment, the exercise is completed by standing back up.
The function of the support that is provided for the assisted squats is fulfilled by the chair.
You are welcome to sit on it so that you won’t have to worry about the possibility of falling on your behind.
When you try to complete a full squat with active hips before you have acquired the pattern for doing so, this is a natural worry that you will experience.
People have a tendency to forget their fears when they have something to sit on.
You can help yourself stand up by giving yourself a slight forward lean, but you should still work on making the movement as fluid as you can.
As soon as you are able to perform 10 repetitions of assisted squats followed by 10 repetitions of chairs squats, it is time for you to progress to full squats.
You should now be able to accomplish at least a couple perfect repetitions of the full squat while maintaining good balance and control.
The full squat is identical to the assisted squat and the chair squat, with the exception that there is no support of any kind.
It all depends on you!
You use the exact same technique that we covered in the last lesson when performing the full squat.
Put your hips in a more forward position, and then lower them while inching your arms forward ever-so-slightly.
You can improve your balance by bringing your arms in front of you and holding them there.
At first, you should be careful not to lose your balance, and you should maintain your hips active when you are at the bottom.
When your hips move lower than parallel with your knees, you should explosively reverse the movement in a controlled manner and then return to the starting position.
Keep in mind that you should maintain a tight core and compress your abs.
Perform complete squats in a progressive manner across a number of sets.
If you are able to complete five repetitions while maintaining proper form, begin with three sets of five.
Increase the number of repetitions in each set, or perform an additional set at each and every workout.
You are able to maintain this kind of improvement for a number of weeks at a time.
When you’ve reached the point where you can easily complete 20 repetitions of squats using only your own body weight, it’s time to start adding weight from outside sources.
There is no practical need to continue increasing weight if you are happy with the results you have achieved up to this point. You probably already have sufficient leg strength for your health, so the decision to add more weight is more of a matter of personal preference.
Utilizing an external weight source such as a barbell, kettlebell, or dumbbell can make the squat a more challenging exercise.
The workout is made more difficult for a number of different reasons when an additional weight is used.
To begin, in order to execute a repetition with the additional weight, you will obviously need more strength.
In addition to this, you will need to hold and support the weight with your upper body, which will dramatically increase the amount of muscle activation.
The additional weight will also cause a shift in your center of balance, which will be affected differently depending on how you position the weight.
A goblet squat, in which you hold a dumbbell in front of your body, necessitates a different movement pattern and a different level of balance than a barbell back squat, in which the bar is placed on your back.
The specifics of the many types of weighted squats are beyond the scope of this post; thus, if you are interested in learning about weighted squats, I will write a post that is more in-depth in the near future.
To put it more succinctly, weighted squats enable you to load the squat in a progressive manner, which allows you to acquire progressive overload over a prolonged period of time. Progressive overload is the essential component of strength training.
Barbells are the most effective apparatus for this because they do not run out of weight and allow for very tiny changes in load.
Even if you are an older adult, it is not too late to make significant gains in your squat strength using a barbell.
I really hope that you had a good time reading about the squat progression for seniors and that you decide to give it a try for yourself.
I can assure you that the outcome won’t leave you feeling let down in any way!
Squats are the absolute best kind of exercise for older people.
They are unlike any other single action in that they test your leg strength as well as your mobility and balance.
In addition to this, they constitute a very natural movement pattern that the human body is predisposed to carry out.
Even if you have absolutely no interest in strength training, you should at least educate yourself on the correct way to perform a body weight squat and make it a goal to complete many of these exercises on a daily basis.
In this way, you will be able to keep up a foundational level of leg strength, which is essential for living independently and moving around freely.
If you are interested in strength training, I strongly suggest that you check out my free strength training program, which not only includes the assisted squat but also a number of other exercises that work your upper body as well.
The chair squat is a very beneficial workout for those in their latter years. However, in order to reap the benefits of the chair squat, you do not need to be an elderly person. For instance, if you are getting better from an illness or an injury, it is extremely important that you work on increasing your strength. The exercise known as the chair squat is an excellent technique to work toward achieving that objective.
It is essential that we continue to work on our strength and mobility as we get older. Chair squats are one method that can be used to accomplish this. Chair squats are a form of exercise that may be performed while seated and are appropriate for older adults. They contribute to increased leg strength as well as improved range of motion.
Squats are excellent for building leg muscle, but seniors should avoid any form of exercise that forces them to go into a deep knee bend. Squats are one example of this. Squats that go too deep put too much pressure on the knee joints, which is a common area for arthritis to develop. When you have issues with your back or legs, it might be challenging to perform squats with the correct technique.
Shoulder pain is a common side effect of supporting a heavy barbell with your shoulders. When performing squats, there is always the possibility of being immobile at the bottom position and being unable to return to the starting position. During the workout, if your knees move excessively inwards or outwards, you run the danger of hurting your knees. It’s possible that you’ll need a spotter.