When I walk through the doors of my neighborhood gym, I’m usually too focused on my impending workout to care much about what’s going to happen in an hour, much less in a decades. The truth is though, every movement sweat-lovers do right now improves the longevity of our bodies. Jason Pak, trainer and founder of Achieve Fitness in Boston, says that paying attention to weight distribution in particular is the key to keeping your body safe and functional well into the distant future.
“You can get away with inefficiencies with [improper balance] in the short term, but in the long term if you’re looking for optimal health, strength, and longevity, you’d be really well off if you were mindful of your weight distribution during all exercises,” writes the coach in a recent Instagram caption. Why? Proper weight distribution forces your center of mass to land smack-dab in the middle of your stance, ensuring that you don’t place too much weight on any one body part.
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IS YOUR SQUAT BALANCED?! – What’s up, Achievers?! @jasonlpak here with a quick post talking about squats. So, one thing we’re always looking at when we coach our members is not just their form and alignment, but their overall balance when executing an exercise. You can have a “neutral” spine, hit below parallel, put a lot of weight on your back, and still not be as efficient as you could be based upon your weight distribution. – What we mean by “balance” is having your center of mass be positioned directly in the middle of your base of support. You can get away with inefficiencies with this in the short term, but in the long term if you’re looking for optimal health, strength, and longevity, you’d be really well off if you were mindful of your weight distribution during all exercises. – So, how can you tell? If you feel like you weight is distributed along the middle of your foot (not pushing forward toward your toes or so far back that your toes lift up). Another key indicator is where the bar cap is aligned over at the bottom of your squat – ideally it should be directly over the middle of your foot. – Next time you squat, try to be mindful of where your weight is distributed. It could be helpful to squat without shoes on to really tell where your weight is distributed. It could also be helpful to squat at a slower tempo to see if you’re “hiding” anything from yourself. – If you’re shifting a bit, don’t sweat it! The fact that you’re squatting in the first place is amazing. I’m still working on my weight shift as well. Until next time, high fives and positive vibes! . . . #squat #squats #squatting #backsquat #somervillema #achievefitnessboston
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To test your weight distribution, Pak wants you to pay attention to one thing in particular: your squat form. “Next time you squat, try to be mindful of where your weight is distributed. It could be helpful to squat without shoes on to really tell where your weight is distributed,” he says. “It could also be helpful to squat at a slower tempo to see if you’re ‘hiding’ anything from yourself.”
Your squat form suffers when you shift too far back and your toes lift off the floor. This limits the depth of the move. Shift too far forward and your weight pours into your toes, placing excess strain on your knees. Once your body is balanced evenly between the front and back of your squat, congratulations—you’ve located the sweet spot. You’ll be able to drop it low without compromising the your joints.
Although this example speaks specifically to everyone’s go-to booty-torcher, remember that the same logic applies with any and every strength training move. If you find yourself teetering in the middle of, say, a lunge, press pause and distribute that weight equally! That way, you’ll be in the weight room well into tripe digits. (Hey, one can dream.)
Learn proper squat form with trainer Megan Roup: