July 24 and let’s do a tabata of squats, 8 rounds, where each round is 20 seconds of as many proper squats as you can do and 10 seconds of rest, for total of 4 minutes. A tabata of squats is a powerfully effective workout, especially if we focus on proper form and pushing to our personal limits. It is only four minutes, so go hard. We know that movement is medicine, especially functional movement. Wikipedia defines functional movements as “movements based on real-world situational biomechanics. They usually involve multi-planar, multi-joint movements which place demand on the body’s core musculature and innervation.” Functional movements like squats involve gross motor movement that strengthen and stabilize the core, which refers to the muscles of the abdomen and spine. To do truly proper squats we want to keep our spines neutral, and let all the flexion and extension occur in our hips and shoulders, but not our spine. You want to initiate the movement from your hips first, so they will take the most of the load. The joints that get loaded first during the move get loaded maximally during the movement. This is why we start our squats by moving our hips back and not with our knees going forward. As a matter of fact we want to keep the knees behind the toes throughout the whole move. Another way to help stabilize the joints is to create torque by imaging we are “screwing in our feet into the floor” in an outward direction. We aren’t actually moving our feet but exerting a force in an outward direction like we imagine we are spreading the floor out. This rotation force will help stabilize our hip, knee and ankle joints. This is a lot to think about while we are doing our tabata and it may mean we do less squats per round; but the better form we use the more benefit we will get from the movement. Self care bonus of the day is to eat of piece of perfect fruit (peaches, plums, berrries and melons are all in peak season) and enjoy it with full awareness and presence. Yum summer goodness!