In this episode of Flipping 50 TV I’m sharing tips and technique strategies to help you look at your lunges and squats to find out whether you should ditch them or it’s possible to fix your lunges and squats.
Before I dive in, know that age is not the limiter. You may have pain doing them that is from prior injury, improper technique, having never been cued in a way that helped you get them right. While it’s true that you may have had decades of some activity that caused degeneration, don’t let it seep into your mind that because you’re X years old you will begin behaving a certain way… or you will.
There are centenarians proving that doing things right for decades changes the way we age. There’s no better time to start than today.
Inevitably, if a conversation about lower body exercises is happening lunges and squats come up. They’re favorites for boosting metabolism and targeting major muscles we need to live well. Daily activities of life actually have us doing squats (sitting, standing, into and out of a car) and lunges both (walking upstairs or up an incline). It can make life more fun and far less fatiguing if you can find a way to strengthen those moves that you do in daily life.
By far, these are the two most commonly avoided exercises by adults over 50. In some cases, it may make perfect sense that you find adequate substitutes and you take care of your knees by strengthening your lower body in another way. But, you might be surprised what the right cues at the right time will do for you.
3 Ways to Fix Your Lunges
- Step back into rear lunges instead of doing forward stepping lunges.
Benefit: reduce knee stress
- Stationary lunges
Benefit: reduce knee stress and reduce the demand for balance
- Side lunges
Benefit: reduce stress to your feet, big toe, plantar fasciitis
5 Ways to Fix Your Squats
- Keep weight on your heels
- Shift hips to behind the center of gravity as you prepare to lower. It should feel like you’re sitting back into a chair, and your toes are against a wall that will prevent knees from going forward beyond the toes. (though: this is not a bad thing as much as you may have been taught! it’s a good fix if you’re having trouble)
- Reduce the depth of your squats if you need to (to stay in your pain-free range of motion)
- Keep your knees aligned with your toes. Imagine pressing outward with them to avoid them falling inward.
- Press your heels into the floor to rise up
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When squats just aren’t working
If it’s your lower back that bothers you when you do squats: first, if you’re using weight, use much less or nothing for now.
Ideally, stop doing squats while you focus on the problem: tight hips. Until you can perform a good hip hinge and you’ve got mobility in the hip flexors and hamstrings, and piriformis, take a rest from your squats. You may find once you improve hip mobility you’re able to do squats.
When lunges and squats still hurt your knees
If you know you’ve got no cartilage in your knees (you’ve been told by a physician) then squats and lunges aren’t your best friends. Find other less stressful ways of doing lower body exercise. If joint replacement is on your horizon, be cautious while you are waiting for it. The body finds a way and compensating so you avoid pain on one joint can cause structural changes elsewhere that increase risk of injury.
Key Flip of the Day:
It’s not just what exercise you do it’s how you do it and often what has to happen first so you can do it successfully that matters.
That’s All Folks!
This is the last episode of Season III. I’d love to hear from you if you’ve been watching. Share your favorite episodes with me. I’d so appreciate you sharing with a friend so you can surround yourself with a community who are on the same Flipping 50 journey!
Thank you for watching! I’ll see you on the flip side!
If you have a question to share for consideration in a future episode go to flipping50tv.com
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