How To Do Squats Safely

How To Do Squats Safely

“Stop, Smell The Roses and SQUAT!”

Sometimes even the most zealous health and fitness expert or tunnel-visioned life- extensionist needs to step back, smell the roses, and re-think even our most hard and fast beliefs. There’s nothing more AGING than rigidity and thinking you have it all figured out.  There are few things that will stymie discovery more than pooh-pooh’ing that for which we don’t have a pat answer.

Why can honey bees, for example, meander MILES away from home and still make the proverbial beeline straight back? Are there really bugs that respond to peer pressure?  Is it true that tree-hugging can actually alleviate depression as well as headaches? And, more importantly.

“With my bad knees, am I really never allowed to EVER do squats again?”

Take a look at times at these and other things that might upend your sense of what you think you know. Stop, smell the Roses and SQUAT!

Next time you pass a vase full of roses you might wanna stop and not just smell ‘em ,but have a quick heart to heart. Science shows us that plants are not just “alive”, but that they have full-blown personalities and are capable of communication.

There are plants that formulate their growth patterns based on their own weather “predictions” years down the road. Think Majij the MindReader meets Mike the mayapple.

We’ve all seen vines that seem to reach out for places to grip and hold, insinuating themselves in nooks and crannies for support while they grow. That’s what vines do. We count on them for that when we place them on a fence or wall that needs a little beautification. But how do they “know “to do this?

Science has proven that getting touchy feely with trees can improve many health issues such as; mental illnesses, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), concentration levels, reaction times, depression and the ability to alleviate headaches.

I mentioned above that some bugs respond to peer pressure. There’s a study that shows that roaches do just that. How can we explain such a thing unless there really is more to everything around us than meets the eye or that can be easily explained with existing science. There’s just so much that we don’t even know that we don’t know.

Now to the oh-so-important question: “To squat or not to squat?” This is where I’m about to rock some beliefs, I’m certain.

See, my knees ain’t great. They’ve devolved over years and years of fitness and sports whatevuh’s  and some genetic predisposition factors. I’m planning to get some stem cell somethin’ somethin’ soon. (I’ll report back on that as soon as I do.) In the meantime, I, like so many over the age of 40 who have abused themselves over the years, have been advised NOT to squat as part of my workout.

“Worst thing you can do,” is the orthopedic party line. “Find a way to work your legs that doesn’t involve squatting of any kind,” say the experts who are apparently unaware of the addictive and emotionally satisfying qualities of a few sets of good old-fashioned butt thrusts.

But wait a minute. Isn’t SQUATTING what I do every time I get up off my chair, airline seat….er, um… toilet, fer gawds’ sake? As Robb Wolf,  author of “The Paleo Solution” ( and Guest Speaker on my NUKE AGING teleseminar) says in his latest book, “Unless you are going on strike and never intend to stand up again, if you sit down, you will eventually stand back up. That, friends, is called “a  squat”. …..If your medical professional is very concerned that you are squatting, tell them you have switched to a much safer movement called a sit-to-stand.” (more about Robb and his books at

If you, like me, have been avoiding squats, maybe it’s time to ease back into them gently and safely. No dumbbells or barbells needed or advised at this point, just handy and ever-useful body weight.

Here’s how:

Stand with your legs shoulder width apart. Angle your toes out slightly. Hold your arms straight out in front of you. Tighten up the everything from the bellybutton down.

Keeping your core stabilized and your spine straight, push your fanny back and down, as though you are about to sit on a chair. Keep those knees behind your toes and your weight on your heels, not your toes.

Keep sinking your hips lower,  keep reaching your fanny back and only allow your chest to come forward as needed for balance. Don’t round or arch your spine.

As your hips descend just to the level of your knees (or just ABOVE them if you are just getting back into squatting, better safe than sorry) focus on your glutes and power them up to bring you back to your standing/starting position.

Start with ONE set of 6 squats (if you are a newbie again). Gradually build up to 4 sets of 8 squats and then build to sets with weights for added intensity and resistance.

Back to taking a look at things anew: As they say: Nothing is certain except change. And like I am fond of saying,

“Watch out if you think you have it all figured out, because that’s exactly when the Universe will throw a screamin’ curveball your way and knock you on your butt.”

Actually, that’s the first time I’ve ever said that, but I  kind of like it.

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Greta Blackburn is an actress, fitness magazine editor and Founder/Director of Greta Blackburn’s FITCAMPS, which have taken place for over 20 years in locations ranging from Malibu, Maui, and Mexico to Las Vegas and served as training symposiums for fitness professionals and other interested men and women from all over the world. Today the focus at Fitcamp is making 100 the new 50.

In 2011 Greta co-authored, “The Immortality Edge” with Michael Fossel, MD, PhD. (author of the pivotal 1997 tome “Reversing Human Aging”) and Dr. Woynarowski with research and solutions based programs based on the emerging field of Telomere Biology.

Posted in Health & Weight Loss

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