Go Low – Improving Your Deep Squat

In September 1964, Bob Hoffman and his York Barbell Company laid their claim to the then nascent landscape of powerlifting by hosting the first national — albeit unofficial — lifting meet. The event would serve as progenitor to the Golden Age of American powerlifting and its three pillars: Squat, Bench Press, and Deadlift.

Over the years, the sport would adapt its own standard for these lifts. Most notably, the criteria for an acceptable squat would be determined by the depth to which one could squat down. And while squatting through a full range is important to achieve an ideal stimulus for strength, it’s important to take into account the mobility and flexibility component associated with this complex movement.

Our range of motion keeps us honest; it’s key when considering the amount of stimulus a person can apply to their body.

You may have heard of putting plates under your heels to “squat deeper”; however, this is just a temporary solution to a bigger problem: ankle mobility. A common problem for lifters, those without proper dorsiflexion will find it difficult to keep their torso upright when performing a squat. Being the case, improving one’s ankle range of motion is imperative when trying to go low. Below we’ve collected some of our favorite stretches to improve ankle mobility. Next time you’re at the gym, make sure to include these in your routine!

1. Squat Weight Shifting

2. Loaded Dorsiflexion & Loaded Plantarflexion Stretch

3. Dorsiflexion Mobilization with Monster Band

The Risk of Snow Shoveling and Heart Attack, & What You Can do to Help Prevent It

Snow shoveling can be a strenuous task for those who lead a sedentary lifestyle, and if certain precautions are not taken a heart attack may be in their future.

For many in the US, exercise is not a constant in their lives. Because of this, it can be especially worrisome when the person is expected to do very strenuous activity all of a sudden. Instances such as these occur during a heavy snowfall and the person has to shovel or push a snowblower. This sudden strenuous activity can sometimes lead to injury, and in even some cases a heart attack. Those who are at risk for heart attack when snow shoveling are as follows: those with a history of a prior heart attack, those with a known heart disease, those with a history of high blood pressure or high cholesterol, smokers and those who lead a sedentary lifestyle.

So what can you do to prevent heart attacks if you fall in that category? Here are a few things that you can do before you shovel to ensure you don't increase your risk of heart attack:

  • Talk to your doctor about shoveling before winter sets in.
  • Don't eat a heavy meal, drink coffee, or smoke before shoveling the snow. Blood is diverted to the stomach when eating, while coffee and smoking elevates blood pressure an increases heart rate.
  • Give yourself some time after waking up before shoveling, and be sure to warm up by marching in place an doing some stretches.
  • Use a small shovel, drink lots of water and take frequent 15-minute breaks.
  • Dress in layers while being sure to cover your head, neck, and mouth.
  • Watch for signs of heart attack (lightheadedness, dizziness, shortness of breath, and tightness or burning in the chest and neck/arms).