This Will Make You Better: Cook Squat with Reach

Let’s talk perspective.  At any given point in time, the position that you’re in probably isn’t that important.  Slide out to a broader timeline, and I believe that the positions that we’re regularly in can matter, especially when we’re considering making movement as reflexive and natural as possible.  If we can make our unloaded movement as graceful as possible, our loaded or athletic movements can be realized that more comfortably.  Think about it as cleaning your engine instead of just adding more power.

Part of cleaning your engine means making an objective assessment of how we spend lots of our time.  In the technology-driven world, the number one ranked position is probably the one that we’re both in right now.  What’s up, computer people:

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The number one ranked position in America is the one that we’re probably both in right now.  This isn’t a bad thing; We’ve got work to do people!  Getting into this position probably isn’t all that bad, but without the ability to get out of it, that’s not the hottest thing ever.

Let’s take a look at a great option that helping us open up from this position.  Enter the Cook Squat with Alternating Reach.  The Cook Squat is a deep squat variation that includes an shoulder flexion to drive better scapulothoracic rhythm.  We’re not trying to reverse the natural thoracic kyphosis, or forward curve, but we’re trying to let our shoulder blades maintain desirable movement across the ribs.  This is what we’re looking for:

Science
While working on those desirable shoulder mechanics, we’re also letting our hips and lower back relax in a position that compliments calmness through the hip muscles. Getting down there is more important than getting down there with a completely neutral lumbar curve, and I’d argue that getting into some flexion will actually help us clean up some lumbopelvic mechanics.

Let’s take a look at the Cook Squat with Alternating Reach in action:

If you’re trying to tie your warm-up to your exercises, need to practice more movement between work sets, or you’re searching for a simple way to stretch through out your day, give the Cook Squat with Alternating Reach a shot.

Filling this in for 3-4 reaches per side, along with a full exhalation before lowering your arm is ideal. The breath helps remind you that this is a calm squat: Don’t let it be as tight as you would be with a barbell. Squat deep and breathe easy.

Getting stuck in your chair, or stuck in your movement, isn’t the most fun we can have, but it happens. No big deal; this will make you better. Squat, reach, breathe, and let’s get it done.

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