The squat is considered by most people to be an exercise that primarily targets the legs. But here’s a lil’ secret from our chiropractic fitness experts:
When you do it right, it can actually be a full body workout. A movement that targets just about every muscle group in your body.
This makes it one of the most efficient and effective exercises a person can perform. Whether you have 5 minutes or 45 minutes a day, doing squats over a period of several weeks or months is bound to pay off.
So, the question then becomes: what is the right way to do a squat? Unlike eating Reese’s peanut butter cups (which we strongly advise against), there is a wrong way and a right way. And we’re going to teach you the latter.
But first, we should clarify a few things, like why is it important to do squats in the first place?
The short answer is, as stated above, it’s extremely effective. Whether you’re trying to lose weight, build muscle, or both, the squat can help you accomplish your chiropractic fitness goals fast.
The long answer is:
It’s one of the most basic foundational moves in any fitness routine. We’ve been doing squats since we came out of the womb. Over time, as we began sitting in the same position all day long, our squat form became basically nonexistent. Many of us don’t know how to properly do a squat at all.
Prior to modern-day technology and furniture, the squat was the way to sit, whether you were reading a book, using the bathroom, or both. Here’s proof: ever heard of the Squatty Potty? It naturally puts your body in the most optimal position for using the toilet. It’s inspiration lies in the bathrooms of third-world countries that don’t have modern plumbing. The company’s tagline is “the best poop of your life.” They must be on to something, because they’ve made millions…
It doesn’t leave anything out. You don’t just use your legs to squat. You use your hips, core, back, and even your shoulders and arms for balance. This compound movement is a challenge for multiple muscle groups, giving you a total body workout with fast results.
Squatting will make you a better athlete. Whether you’re running a marathon or giving birth, this movement builds strength in areas that many people would call “weak,” including your knees and hips. This makes you stronger which leads to better athleticism overall. This is a critical training move if you play any type of competitive sport.
In short, with squats, you’ll get the biggest bang for your buck. It’s no surprise why this exercise is in just about every chiropractic fitness routine, and most experts would recommend you perform at least 2-3 times per week.
So let’s get to the goods … how do you make the most out of this incredible movement?
Stand with your feet slightly wider than hips-width and your toes pointing slightly outward (~5 to 20 degrees).
Keep your head up and look straight out in front of you at a spot on the wall. Keep your head and gaze in this position throughout the exercise.
Put your hands around chest-height with your elbows bent as though you’re holding an imaginary medicine ball.
Ensure your weight is equally distributed on the heels and balls of your feet as if they were glued to the ground. Your toes should be able to move the entire time (though you won’t actually move them as part of the exercise.)
Tighten your abs and keep your core engaged throughout the movement.
While breathing in and bending your knees, send your hips backward as though sitting in a chair. Keeping your back straight, your chest and shoulders up, and your spine in a neutral position, be sure your knees stay in line with your feet and don’t move past your toes. Continue to squat until your hip joint is lower than your knees.
Keep your core engaged and everything tight, and drive through your heels to return to a standing position. Make sure the balls of your feet stay firmly planted and squeeze your glutes at the top.
Once you master your bodyweight squat technique, you may want to try adding a little extra weight to the movement by trading that imaginary medicine ball for a real one! But concentrate on mastering this exercise with just your bodyweight for now. Any chiropractic fitness expert will tell you that proper technique is crucial to getting the results you want in a least amount of time.
If you’d like to know for sure that you’re doing the squat properly, give us a call to schedule an office consultation! We’ll include a mini-lesson on squatting along with an X-ray, any necessary diagnostic testing, and your first adjustment for just $50!
Still not sure if chiropractic fitness is right for you? Click here to request a free phone consultation, and one of our doctors will call you to discuss your goals and needs.
The necessity of seeing a chiropractor as an adult athlete is undeniable. Queen City Health Center has helped many young adults who play sports, both on the hobbyist and professional levels. Not only have we helped to relieve the pain and symptoms of various sports injuries in athletes young and old; we’ve also provided coaching for the prevention of athletic injuries so that our patients can enjoy a better quality of life as they get better at whatever sport they choose.
However, we can also attest to the small number of high school athletes undergoing chiropractic care. That number is simply too small for us, so we’ve decided to write this post on the importance of seeing a chiropractor, especially if you’re a teen who plays sports!
While most people seek out a chiropractor in the event of an injury that has already happened, this type of alternative health care is essential to the prevention of injuries as well, especially if you’re an athlete who engages in repetitive motion.
As many athletes know, repetitive motions and repetitive injuries are more likely to result in more injuries down the road than if you’ve never been injured in the first place. So the prevention of injuries from happening is crucial to ensuring you get to continue enjoying your sport. No one wants to spend a season on the bench—or worse—on a stretcher or in a hospital room!
A chiropractor can help by performing simple adjustments designed to optimize athletic performance, while also recommending specific stretches and exercises to aid in building strength. They can also pinpoint motions that may be contributing to inflammation and/or injury to the joints.
If an injury has already taken place, there’s no need to panic. Chiropractors are experienced when it comes to the treatment of injuries and the alleviation of pain and other symptoms that come about as a result.
However, not all chiropractors are created equal. While some may focus solely on adjustments to treat a condition, the south Charlotte chiropractic doctors at Queen City Health Center will prescribe a holistic regimen that also incorporates diet, rest, exercise, and mental attitude in a way that’s designed to heal your whole body from the inside out. That means you won’t just experience temporary pain relief. You’ll experience full-body healing which aids in the further prevention of injuries in the future!
Moreover, our staff doesn’t just focus on the injury site itself, as we know that doesn’t always lead to complete healing (though it may temporarily relieve your symptoms.) We will treat surrounding areas that may also be contributing to inflammation and pain at the site itself. Again, we’re all about taking a holistic approach to health, rather than masking symptoms and allowing them the opportunity to return.
This is a great question! Teens are undergoing an enormous amount of change over a very short period of time (in the grand scheme of their entire lives, anyway). Playing sports only magnifies this, and when injury happens, it not only has an impact physically but may also carry emotional weight as well. If a teen suffers a crippling injury that takes him out of the game altogether, it could lead to sadness or even depression. That’s why a holistic approach to teen health that incorporates not only chiropractic, but also the other essentials (diet, rest, exercise and mental attitude) is extremely beneficial.
If you’re a parent of a teen athlete who plays sports, get in touch with one of our Charlotte chiropractors today! We are eager to help, whether you’re looking to prevent injuries or you’ve suffered a recent injury and are ready to get back in the game. Give us a call at (980) 422-2000 to schedule an office visit, complete with X-rays, a consultation, and an adjustment for only $50!
Not sure if chiropractic is right for your teen? Click here to request a FREE 15-minute phone consultation. We’ll help you determine if an in-person appointment at our office is a good fit for you.
Yoga is a wonderful way to de-stress and detoxify your body. If you’re looking for a form of exercise that will help you build and tone lean muscle, while increasing your flexibility and mental clarity through regular, meditative practice, you may want to consider yoga.
However, studio sessions can be quite expensive. If you’re on a budget, an at-home yoga practice might be your best option. Whether you’re new to yoga or a seasoned veteran, starting an in-home regimen is not very difficult, and you can definitely do it on a tight budget! Here are some tips for starting a yoga practice at home.
#1: First, get all of your gear in order. At the very least, you need a good yoga mat. You may also want to invest in a strap, a bolster, and a pair of yoga blocks. (Those will be extremely helpful if you are not very flexible and just starting out.)
#2: Designate a space in your home to practice on a regular basis. It is best if you lay your mat on a hard surface so that it won’t slip, and make sure you have plenty of room to move and stretch.
#3: Decide how often and when you will practice. And don’t stop there! Put it on your calendar. Making it a task on your to-do list will help you stick to it. There will be days when you’ll wake up and won’t feel like exercising, but try to get in the habit of doing it anyway (unless you’re sick or injured.) Morning yoga is a great way to start your day and get your mind in gear for maximum productivity. Evening yoga is fantastic for winding down after a hard day’s work. You may want to consider your work schedule when deciding whether to practice at sun-up or sun-down, and vary the time according to your expectations for the rest of your day.
#4: Download a program from doyogawithme.com, and use it to guide you through your practice. Do Yoga With Me is a website full of free resources for aspiring yogis! There are tons of tutorials, videos, and programs you can do right in the comfort of your home without spending a dime. However, if you use it regularly and enjoy the videos, we recommend that you make a donation to support the creators and keep the site alive!
#5: Attend a yoga class in person once a month. This is optional, but I highly recommend it, simply because doing yoga in the presence of a professional, certified instructor can be extremely helpful. An instructor can assist you by assessing whether you’re performing certain stretches correctly, thereby helping you achieve more difficult poses with minimal risk for injury.
We occasionally hold a yoga class in our Charlotte chiropractic office for just $5! Call us at (980) 422-2000, or check out our events calendar to find out when the next session will be held and reserve your spot!
It’s official: we are living in a world of slouchers.
The increasing use of computers and mobile devices causes us to shift our head, neck, and shoulders downward for hours at a time, while sitting at a desk or even when we’re standing upright or walking.
It’s easy to curve into a bad postural position and not even realize you’re doing it until you stand up and feel the pain that results from doing so for long periods. But obtaining good posture is essential to your overall health, wellbeing, and productivity.
As a Charlotte chiropractor who adjusts patients week after week whose jobs require them to sit and use a computer, I can attest to the fact that “text neck” is becoming a sad reality. However, all hope is not lost! There are ways to practice and establish better posture over time. Here are five exercises you can do daily to help give your spine a healthy curve.
Crunches better your posture by strengthening your core muscles. To do a crunch correctly, lie down with your back flat against the floor and your knees bent. Place your hands lightly on the back of your head with your elbows spread wide, and using your core, lift your head, neck and shoulders off the floor while “crunching” your abdomen.
#2: Wall angels
These are like snow angels, but you do them while standing straight up, feet hips-width apart, with your head and back against the wall. This exercise helps to strengthen your upper back, while forcing your head into proper alignment.
Another core strengthener, cat/cow is popular among yogis! It’s a great exercise to increase spine flexibility, stretch the neck and torso, relieve stress, and calm the mind.
Start out on all fours with your hands directly underneath your shoulders and your knees directly below your hips. (This is also called tabletop pose.) To move into cow pose, inhale as you drop your belly toward your mat, arching your back while looking up toward the ceiling and pushing your shoulders back and down, away from your ears. To move into cat pose, exhale as you round the spine toward the ceiling while drawing your bellybutton inward. Alternate between these two positions.
#4: Head Weighting
Head weighting helps to move your spine into proper alignment with your head and neck. This exercise is a practice employed in Maximized Living chiropractic offices (like Queen City Health Center!) We encourage our patients to wear their head weights once a day for anywhere from 2-20 minutes. Click here to purchase a head weighting system from our Maximized Living store.
Like cat/cow, cobra is another popular yoga pose that increases spine flexibility while strengthening and stretching the chest and shoulders. It also helps to open up the lungs, which is great for alleviating respiratory issues.
To move into this pose, begin by lying face down with your legs extended behind you and the tops of your feet resting on the floor. Place your hands directly under your shoulders and point your fingers forward while hugging your elbows into the side of your body. Pressing down through the tops of your feet and pubic bone, spread your toes, inhale, and gently lift your head and chest off the floor. Keeping your lower ribs on the floor, draw your shoulders back and down away from your ears and lift your heart. Begin straightening your arms to lift your chest while pressing the tops of your thighs down firmly. You can stay here in low cobra or deepen the stretch by straightening your arms, but only do so as much as your flexibility allows.
In a previous post, we outlined the process for achieving a bikini body in just 6 minutes a day! If you haven’t yet, make sure you read that post before doing the exercises outlined below, as it provides the timing and spacing for each exercise.
What’s great about this workout is you can do it anywhere! No need to buy expensive equipment or spend money on a gym membership (unless you really want to.) This can be done in the comfort of your own home. All you need is a timer to keep track of how long you’re doing each exercise. And when you go on your summer vacation, you don’t have to haul any weights, bars, or bands to your destination. All of these exercises can be done without additional equipment.
Here’s your 6-minute, 6-exercise workout recipe for a total bikini body!
Begin standing straight up with your feet hips-width apart and your hands down by your side. Squat down and plant your hands on the floor on either side of your feet. Jump your feet back to land in a pushup position, jump forward again to return to the squat, and jump straight up into the air to land in the original position with your feet planted.
Stand straight up with your feet together, planted flat on the floor, and your hands down by your side. Lunge forward with one leg until your thigh and calf form a 90-degree angle in front of you. Return to the original position and repeat with your other leg.
Begin in a pushup position, supporting your weight with your hands and toes. Flexing the hip and bending the knee, bring one leg forward until the knee is under the hip. Explosively reverse the position of your legs so that the bent knee is now straight behind you and the first leg is now bent. Repeat.
Begin standing straight up with your feet planted hips-width apart and your hands down by your sides. Flexing your calves, come up on to the balls of your feet, and jump straight up into the air. Keeping your knees straight, land on the balls of your feet and repeat this motion.
Begin lying flat on your back with your knees bent and your feet parallel to the floor. Place your hands behind your head for support. Engage your core muscles to lift your head, neck, and shoulders up off the floor, keeping your elbows wide and taking care not to pull on your head with your hands as you come up.
Begin standing with your knees slightly bent and your feet flat on the floor. Hold your hands in front of you so your arms are parallel to the floor, about chest height. Engaging your core muscles, jump straight up and bring your knees into your chest. Land with your knees slightly bent to absorb the impact, and repeat.
Together, these exercises make up a complete whole-body workout that can be completed in as little as 15 minutes a day (with only 6 minutes of actual hard exercise). The interval training format helps you burn fat in less time, so you’ll be well on your way to the bikini body you’ve always wanted!
For a daily, total-body, fat-burning regimen with more variety, check out the MaxT3 DVD, available in our online store!
If you’ve ever felt sad or depressed after a day of swimsuit shopping, this post is for you.
A lot of people claim they don’t have time to exercise. “I don’t have time,” is a very common limiting belief and a widely used excuse to justify a lack of movement and activity. But I’m here to squash that belief by giving you a daily six-minute workout regimen that is guaranteed to get you in shape if implemented consistently.
Stop looking at photoshopped pictures of celebrities in magazines and wishing you could look that good. You can! And I promise it only takes six minutes of exercise a day to get you there. If you don’t believe me, then I challenge you to try it for 30 days and see what a difference it makes—not just in how you look, but also in how you feel.
You might be asking yourself how it’s possible to get a rock-solid bikini body by only exercising for six minutes a day. I’ve actually had people tell me I was crazy for believing this. It does seem a little too good to be true, doesn’t it? Well, it’s not, and I know, because I practice what I preach. The secret behind this workout regimen is the natural hormone release it produces.
If you’ve been spending 45 minutes to an hour on a treadmill every day, you have my permission to QUIT! Running at a speed that accelerates your heart rate for more than 30 minutes will trigger the release of cortisol, a stress hormone that basically tells your body to hold on to fat. So contrary to popular belief, spending more time in the gym can actually do more harm than good.
For this reason, I like to embrace a “less is more” philosophy when it comes to working out. My six-minute workout regimen increases your heart rate at fixed intervals for only 20 seconds at a time. This technique, commonly known as “interval training” triggers the natural release of HGH (Human Growth Hormone), which aids in weight loss.
Now that you know the secret behind this incredible phenomenon, you’re probably wondering, “well, how do I do it?” Here’s a simple how-to to get you started:
That’s it! It’s actually a 12-minute workout from start to finish—15 if you add a warm-up to the routine—but you’re only really exercising for six of those minutes because of the resting intervals.
Who doesn’t have 12 minutes a day to get moving?
Check out our follow-up post, where I give you the six exact exercises I use to get a total-body fat-burning workout every time!
It’s Day 10 of our 12 Days of Christmas celebration, which means there are only 2 days left… (I know, so sad). But the good news is, it’s never too late to make a change!
If you are a Queen City Health Center Charlotte chiropractic patient, we’d like to invite you to join us (if you haven’t already) to commit to one thoughtful health change per day for 12 days! You can start over from Day 1 if you’d like, or you can finish out the next 2 days with us, then simply rinse and repeat.
Learn more about our 12 Days of Christmas celebration here.
Did you eat too much at your holiday party this weekend, or just want to burn some calories before you leave the house for work tomorrow? Do this workout at least three times through for maximum results.
(Oh, and it’s shaped like a Christmas tree—hence why it’s called the “Christmas Tree Workout”. That makes you want to do it even more, right?)
50 High Knees
40 Jumping Jacks
30 Bicycle Crunches
2 Sets 30-sec. Wall Sits
10 Push-ups (Toes or Knees)
20 Side Leg Lifts (On Each Side)
And while you’re at it…
Be a good friend this holiday season. Click the buttons below to share this post with your followers on social media.
It’s Day 4 of our 12 Days of Christmas Celebration, and we hope you’ve had a great time celebrating with us so far! In case you missed it, we are challenging all of our patients, friends, and family members to commit to making one thoughtful health change each day for 12 days. We’re pretty confident that by the end of these 2 weeks, you’re going to notice a difference in the way you feel just from taking a few action steps toward change!
Start the new year off right! Don’t wait until January 1 to take action on your New Year’s Resolutions! If you truly want to have a better 2016—to look better, feel better, and have better relationships—it’s important to start now.
Try this workout sometime today before you go to bed. During the holiday season, festivities will try their best to pull you away from your workouts and regular routines, but don’t let them win! Commit to this quick and easy workout that will deliver oxygen to your whole body, increase your immune system to fight off nasty colds and increase the release of your “happy hormones!”
This workout will get your butt in gear for the new year! Do all exercises for the number of reps indicated. Repeat the whole workout 3 times for maximum results!
Exercise #1: 30 Bicycle Crunches
Lie flat on your back with your legs out straight and your arms by your sides. Place your hands behind your head, keeping your elbows flat and open throughout the duration of the exercise. Be sure not to pull on your neck; simply use your hands for support as you lift. Begin alternating crunches, bringing each knee to the opposite elbow and releasing down, while keeping your core tense. Do this 30 times.
Exercise #2: 5 Burpees
Stand with your feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart and your arms relaxed by your sides. Lower your body into a squat position until your hands are flat on the floor in front of you. Step or jump both legs backward, so that you land in a push-up position. Jump or step both legs back into a squat, raise your hands above your head and jump straight up into the air. Return to the original position and repeat this exercise 5 times.
Exercise #3: 40 High Knees
Stand up straight with your feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart and your arms relaxed by your sides. Perform alternating jumps from one foot to the other, lifting your knees as high as possible while doing so. Hip-height is recommended. Follow the motion with your arms, and touch the ground with the balls of your feet. Do this 40 times (landing 20 times on each foot).
Exercise #4: 5 More Burpees (see description above.)
Exercise #5: 50 Squats
Stand up straight with your feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart and your arms relaxed by your sides. Keeping your back straight, chest lifted, and feet flat, squat down, bending your knees as though you’re sitting on a chair, until your thighs are parallel to the floor. For balance, raise your arms straight out in front of you so they are parallel to the floor as well. Pause and lift back up into the starting position. Do this 50 times.
Exercise #6: 5 More Burpees
Exercise #7: 40 Tricep Dips
Position your hands shoulder-width apart, fingers facing forward, on a secure chair or bench. Extend your legs straight out in front of you and slide your butt off the front of the chair or bench, keeping your heels on the floor for stability. Bend your arms and lower your butt down towards the floor. Using your triceps, hoist yourself back up and straighten your arms. Repeat this exercise 40 times.
Exercise #8: 5 More Burpees
Exercise #9: 30-Second Wall Sit
Stand up straight with your back flat against the wall and your feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. Keeping your back against the wall and your feet on the ground, slowly bend your knees until your legs form a 90-degree angle and your thighs are parallel to the floor. (You can bend your knees even more for a greater challenge!) Bring your arms straight out in front of you so that they’re parallel to the floor, and hold this position for 30 seconds.
Commit to doing this workout 3 times a week, and we promise you’ll feel amazing before January 1 even rolls around. You can modify the exercises to suit your comfort level, but don’t get too comfortable . . . remember, no pain no gain!
Also, be sure to check out our events calendar for information on upcoming events, including Community Yoga every week for the first 3 weeks in December.
We hope you have a happy and healthy holiday season! If you missed the Day 3 challenge, you can grab it here.
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Queen City Health Center is a Charlotte Chiropractic and total wellness center for individuals and families. With locations across Charlotte, NC and Matthews, NC, we specialize in helping individuals and families find true health and ways to maximize their lives through nutrition, lifestyle classes, detoxification and spinal correction.