I told you I’d share my love for the squat – Are you ready?
The Quintessential, if-you-only-do-one-exercise-ever movement, most functional, most beneficial exercise of all time.
You wanna build that booty?
You wanna burn tonnes of calories?
You wanna get baby into a good position for delivery?
You wanna prime your pelvis for delivery?
The best thing about squatting is there are so many variations. Bodyweight squat, Front Squat, Back Squat, Split Squat, Deep Squat, Plie Squat, Sumo Squat… And on and on and on…
However, the squat isn’t necessarily intuitive anymore. Most of us don’t live functional lives anymore. We spend the majority of our time in chairs, couches & cars, not walking, squatting and moving!
Think of the last time you have to pick something up off the floor, like your baby or a basket of laundry. How did you get down there to grab them? Did you squat? Or did you bend over at the hips, with a rounded spine, and groan as you stood up because it hurt your back. You always hear ‘lift with your knees’. What they really mean is, squat! Maybe not all the way down to the floor for everything, but bending your knees and hips to get lower to lift something is squatting!
It’s really what our bodies were designed to do. Next time you see a toddler playing, pay attention to how much they squat, and how much time they spend comfortably in the squatting position. Squatting is instinctive! No one teaches toddlers how to squat, they just do it! It’s natural when you spend so much time on the floor.
So how does squatting benefit you in pregnancy? It’s well known in the midwife community that squatting opens the pelvic canal. Think about it, if you were a cave woman in the forest, how would you give birth? Probably squatting. Squatting during pregnancy (when you know that baby is head down – NOT breach or transverse) can help baby descend into the pelvis prior to labor, aiding in dilation and shortening the length of labor. I know when I was 37 weeks pregnant, my midwife couldn’t even palpate Nugget’s head because he was already so well engaged!
The other benefit of squatting is the deep squat, like your peeing in the forest, is on of the best stretches for your pelvic floor! I know what you’re thinking, why do I want to stretch my pelvic floor? Won’t that make it looser? Who wants a floppy pelvic floor! No one! But the pelvic floor is a set of muscles. Think about your biceps, if they are tight, and you can’t extend your elbow, how useful is that arm? How strong is your bicep? Not very. In order for muscles to be strong and functional they have to be able to move through their full range of motion effectively! And if your pelvic floor isn’t functioning well, you are going to have issues like incontinence and pain.
I know a lot of women have told you, oh it’s normal to pee yourself when you sneeze or cough when you’re pregnant or postpartum. Let me tell you, it is NOT! It is COMMON, but it is NOT normal! Do you think we evolved to lose function of our body after reproducing? I don’t think so. I will get more into pelvic health in later posts, but all I have to say about this is if you are having issues with pelvic pain, incontinence, or having trouble having sex after having a baby, there is help! Please find yourself a local Pelvic Health Physiotherapist, I am telling you, they are supremely helpful! I will share my story of working with a PHP with you guys as well!
So if I could leave you with one tiny little thing from this, it would be, you guessed it, Squat!
And it doesn’t even have to be ‘exercise’ just incorporate it into your daily movement! Every time you pick up a dirty sock, your toddler, the laundry basket, squat instead of bending over!
Your butt and your back will thank you for it 🙂