For Something New: On Squats

I’ve spent the last couple weeks out of it when it comes to writing, editing, and pretty much anything else. Between the heat (107 degrees, really Mother Nature?) and being busy with work, I’ve had very little willpower to do anything outside of sleeping. So, I have little to say about how excited I was to finish my second draft and start on my third (and the third is goin’ nowhere).

Instead, I’m going to talk about squats.

I wish that I had more time to spend working out. Movement is sort of my thing. I learned from a fairly young age that just moving from point A to point B made me feel good. I distantly remember enjoying running when I was in 5th grade, but I hated sports. I’m uncoordinated, mostly because of lack of practice, and my glasses are a great target for basketballs, baseballs, and soccer balls. I even ended up with one of those bouncy red balls used in dodgeball in my throat. My teacher laughed at me when it happened, but it still freaks me out.

Before my freshman year of high school, I took summer school PE. There was this “college advanced” class that my parents were dying for me to take, so we had to open up a slot in our classes for it. To do so, I had to take PE during the summer. It’s the middle of the desert in June, averages 105 degrees during the midday and it rarely drops below 75 degrees at night (so you’re looking at 80-90 degrees at 9 AM). And that’s where I first met the weight room.

We did not learn how to lift weights and it never came up again.

Fast forward to a little over a year ago and the weight room came up yet again. This time, in the form of a woman who did lift weights. I expressed interest. Lifting weights is sort of “a thing” where I work and many of my coworkers do so. I’d also heard that lifting weights was good for the bones, which was great because I was the epitome of weak. She took me to the gym and taught me the basics.

I’m going to spare the details, but I started out by curling 10 lb weights… and it was hard. I started shoulder presses with 5 lb weights… and it was hard. I could not squat with the bar on my back.

So we’re back at the point. Squats. There are a lot of exercises that are hard for me, but squats take the cake. They take the cake for various different reasons than other exercises. Most exercises are hard because they require strength, balance, or stability that I don’t have. For example, the Crow Pose in yoga is hard for me because I don’t have the arm strength to support my entire body. Squats are hard for two reasons: my ankles and my frustration.

Did you know your ankles have some level of flexibility? That should be obvious, but it’s difficult to keep my heels on the ground when I go down low for squats. Turns out, I’m lacking in flexibility so I started doing the Third World Squat. Oh yes. I don’t have much to say about it, other than I never realized what I would be doing in my 20s when I was in my teens.

The other thing is frustration. Squats piss me off. If I’m doing them right, I’m okay, but when I start failing in form, I get mad. I get mad at myself. How could I have let my body fail to such a point? How could I not feed myself properly? How could I have *fill in the blank*? I’m not for certain why squats, of all exercises, bring out those feelings in me when the others don’t.

Of course, I’m not doing regular good ol’ squats in the phase of the workout I’m doing. Instead, I’m doing split squats, which brings out all sorts of things (mostly exhaustion). I’ve never had such a problem keeping balance… ever!