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Squats & Deadlifts for a Moving Experience

Posted Sep 12 2008 6:51pm

"Nikita" flashed on the LED of my cell phone at 2:30 Tuesday afternoon. "Here it is," I thought. "The call I've been waiting for. . . "

"What's up buddy?" I asked.

"Soski," he replied. "I'm moving into my new home on Saturday and you'd offered to help me if I needed it. I need it. Can you make it? It'll be really simple -- a quick job."

Quick? Simple? If quick and simple was anything like Nikita's version of an "inexpensive" (min. $125 a person) dinner, this move was going to be freakin' hard.

There was also the issue of snowboarding -- I'd intended to go one last time for the 2006/07 season. But I'd also given my word a month earlier. It looked like I was going to be hauling furniture to Westchester County -- instead of hauling ass down Killington Peak -- on Saturday.

"It'd be my pleasure to help you. See you Saturday morning."

As I hung up, all I could think was, "thank God I've got strong legs and an even stronger trunk."

 

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Unless you've got a strong back and pair of legs, I'd run away if this man approached you with a request to help him move his furniture.

As a fitness professional, I'm amazed at how many people fail to acknowledge the importance of exercising their legs -- muscle-bound lifters with chicken legs come to mind.

And I've lost count of the clients who (initially) don't understand why squats and deadlifts are such an integral part of their workouts. Among the protests that are commonly heard:

"They're so hard!"
"They're so boring!" (Because variations of squats and deadlifts are emphasized so often.)
"Why do I have to do these anyway? Can't I do something else?"
"How are these movements significant in my daily life?"

How are squats and deadlifts important? Allow me to give a few examples:

  • You know, we're bipeds. Training the legs that carry us back and forth -- and the trunk which stabilizes and supports our spine -- is rather important, don't you think?
  • Squats and deadlifts are two of the basic movement patterns we use to survive -- along with pushing, pulling, twisting, bending over, lunging and walking/running.
  • They're incredible tools for efficiently strengthening the entire body, while promoting intermuscular coordination (ability for muscle groups to work together).
  • The lifts demand lots of energy. So, from a metabolic perspective, squats and deadlifts are great tools for fat loss.

One of the primary reasons to train is that it provides us with strength and energy reserves; i.e. it makes "everyday activities" easier to perform. Walking. Running. Standing for hours. Dodging sidewalk traffic. Getting in and out of beds, chairs and cars. Playing sports. Picking up and playing with our children. Squatting and deadlifting (as well as variations of these lifts) play a significant role in improved performance of these activities.

Of course, they also make the once-in-a-blue-moon activities easier. You know, like helping your friend move from his classic Brooklyn 3rd floor walkup to beautiful Westchester County -- and a house (on a steep hill) with more stairs.

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