“I haven’t got time for the pain,” was the jingle for a commercial in the 80’s and maybe 90’s. Granted, it was for menstrual cramps and this pain specific pain does not apply to everyone! The mantra, however, is what most people live by as they just figure pain can be hidden, avoided, and swept under the rug. While you think this is possible and will stick to your story regardless of how bad it hurts your quality of life, I know better as a Corrective Exercise Specialist!
Am I a soothsayer, profit, or wizard? It’s distinctly possible if you ask me. The truth is I’m trained to look at your movement patterns and can diagnose why you have problems with your mobility, flexibility, and strength from one simple exercise. Is it magic? Well my one of my nicknames is Magic Matt, but the ability to slip into VIP areas unseen has nothing to do with helping you to relieve your chronic pain.
What is this unseemly exercise I talk about? It is the overhead squat. A simple move raising your arms straight above your head and performing a squat. You can hold a PVC pipe or broomstick above your head to show more of what pains you if so desired. How can this simple, not necessarily easy, move show all your postural sins? The movement places you in an extreme, not damaging, position that requires motor control, mobility, flexibility, and strength from every joint in your body. Because you have nothing to hold for balance and form, everything has to work in unison to function properly.
The main culprit that destroys overhead squat form is sitting for long periods of time. It is easy for me to diagnose these issues by the way you lower yourself, raise yourself, and what happens to your fully extended arms in the process. Here are three areas that cannot be hidden no matter how hard you try:
- Arms falling forward – this shows me how tight your chest and mid back muscles are, in addition to the weakness in your upper back and shoulder areas
- Excessive forward lean – this shows the tightness in your hip flexors, calves, and quadriceps, in addition to weakness in your hamstring, shin and glute areas
- Knees caving in – this shows the tightness in your groin muscles, in addition to the weakness in your hip rotator area
Performing the overhead squat is one of the first assessments I do with clients and is the basis for their exercise program. Nobody is perfect, and that’s okay. We all have tight and corresponding weak areas to work on. The pros and cons are that this struggle never ends. Humans are creatures of habit, and we like to be efficient to use minimal physical and mental energy in all we do. Your job makes you do the same thing for hours daily, and yest, sitting is a repetitive movement through lack of movement. This repetitive pattern produces overuse injuries and pain when not dealt with properly. Humans don’t like change, even though change is where growth happens physically and mentally.
The goal of using the overhead squat is to quickly and easily assess progress through an exercise program to keep challenging you and giving you the results, you desire. The cool thing about the human body is that change happens when you stay consistent to stretching and strengthening. I see it daily in my clients and they comment about the pain they don’t feel anymore. Can it work for you? Absolutely! I’m offering a free overhead squat assessment to the first 10 people who email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and put OHSA in the subject line. What’s the catch? You will be amazed how much I can tell about you!
Working with a trainer or corrective exercise specialist like myself can help you integrate these types of movements safely and effectively. To learn what a comprehensive corrective exercise program can do for you, go to mattpeale.com. Who is a corrective exercise program good for? Everyone! We are all athletes in the game of life, it’s time you treated yourself like it!