Friday, January 27, 2012

Pivots and Squats, What's A Gardener To Do?

If you have a few minutes, ok, a minute and twenty seconds, would you please view this video and tell me what you think?  Doesn't this gentleman make this look so easy?  That's the way I want to get up and down in the garden.  Simply pivot and get up.  Like the camera man on the video says, "It's Magic!"  I want me some Magic in the garden.  I want to do the Martial Arts move and pivot up and pivot down just like him.

I'm assuming my thighs are the problem (along with having to hoist too many pounds).  My thighs must be too weak.  My knees do not like getting up over and over again, and that's also probably due to too much weight and also improper form in the movements.  I'm fine when I'm down on my knees, but the getting up is another thing.  I found myself last year using a five gallon pail for something to push off from or a garden stool at times, too.

Do any of you notice pain upon rising from your knees?  Have you found any exercise that helps?  My knees don't bother me at all when I walk (thank goodness) but I did notice pain climbing stairs.  I was told the best way to ascend stairs is to put the entire foot on the step (not just the toe) and push yourself up using your heel and leg muscles which takes the strain off the knees.  That has been a wonderful fix for the stair climbing.  I used to just step up using my toes on a staircase, but using the heel helps a lot.

And another thing I do wrong:  whenever I had to squat down to weed or pick up something, I was up on my toes.  That's the stance I had used all my life, even as a farm kid because you have to squat down over and over again when you milk cows.  Ouch--- the knees!  Now I read online that there is a better way to squat. 

Who knew?

Check out this video:





The only problem with using this squat technique is I tip over whenever I try to get all the way down. I was watching an online video of a young, athletic-looking guy trying to do squats keeping his heels on the floor and he kept tipping over, too.  I giggled because I could relate to his struggles.   It's going to take some practice and strengthening.  When Joel was home, I asked him if he could do it and he had no problem whatsoever.  Arghhh!!  I have to work on this.

I do NOT want to land on my still-sore behinder just yet, so I'm going to keep working on strengthening my thighs and doing squats as low as I can for now.  I know the key to all of this is not to overdo anything.  Slow and easy is the motto for this old gal.  Flexibility is not my middle name.  That's right, I can't touch my toes, either.  Can't even come close.  I like to think my failure to reach my toes is because I'm rather tall and I have short arms (I'm all about the excuses, LOL)  but I know it's because I need to work on my flexibility.  It will come with time and effort.

(I hope.)

I can't wait to hear from all of you gardeners as to what works to keep you flexible, especially in regards to getting up from a kneeling position.

I want to pivot and stand.  It looks Magical!




23 comments:

www.FarmLifeLessons.blogspot.com said...

I am an odd squater, sometimes I am with one leg bent under me as in the Asian Squat, but with the other kind of straight out. But, I'm double jointed and my hips rotate all the way out. My muscles are not as flexible as I'd like either. I am often too stiff and really feel as if stretching would just make me feel better, overall, as it used to years ago.

Good luck with doing your squats. I'd think with all the gardening that you do that you're actually in better shape than you believe. You know, it's good to have a few extra pounds on us, there's now evidence that those of us who have it may actually live longer and healthier than our too thin counterparts.

Lana

Sue said...

I tried that first way of getting up and gotta say, that didn't work well for me at all. I must REALLY be out of shape. It seemed to "twist" my knees--not a good feeling at all. Maybe I just need to work on this............

Sueb said...

Hay it's magic I can do the pivot!! Won't need the block and tackle any more. As for Asian squats not a chance, fell on my you know what. But then again the man did say if you have big boobs... that’s my excuse and I'm sticking to it!! Brilliant clips made me laugh.

Darla said...

You are always a delight to visit Karen. I never know what I will be subjected to, LOL. I'm a squatter...doesn't help my hip issues at all though. Going to have to find a different position as we are trying to save the wear and tear on my hip and knee joints, not ready for surgical replacements, I just turned 49! (from nearly 30 yrs of gymnastics)

Junebug said...

Oh my, I think I will just sit here and sip my coffee this morning. Maybe this weekend I'll try some new moves but for now sitting is just fine! Go getter Dinimo!

shannon i olson said...

oh my, I was going to say like Junebug above something about sticking to my coffee or falling over mid pivot and then staying there until someone brought me coffee! Fun I do think that looks pretty smart actually, but my garden is fenced and smaller if I did that move I would wipe out half my tomato plants. I wonder is there a way to graciously lean over the fence and weed, with a cup of coffee in hand? hmmm

Alison said...

That pivot/kneel looks too much like exercise to me! I think I'll just continue to kneel on my kneeler thingy, I can use my arms to push myself back up. It's one of those devices that folds up, and can be used as either a kneeler or a seat. I squat as little as possible, I could do the Asian squat, but it wasn't comfortable for my knees when I placed my feet further apart. That was a fun video!

HolleyGarden said...

Yes, it's the thighs, but I think it's also balance. I realized how much I needed to work on this when I got a Tai Chi DVD for my dad. Of course, I watched it first (and did it for a few weeks) and it really did help. Harder than it looks. And I think Leslie's "opposite arm and leg" sections help, too. It will all come. And as you say, don't overdo. I pulled a muscle last fall and for two months could do nothing. I'm taking it VERY slow now!

Karen said...

Lana, wow, I wish I had your flexibility! You'd think I would be in better shape after a season of gardening and throwing rocks around, but menopause has hit me hard, right in my soft, doughy middle. I will keep on working on the squats and the knee-getting-up-from-position. (There must be a better term for it than that??) Thank you, Lana!

Sue, I know what you mean about the twist in the knees, I felt the same way about it. I also cannot tell you how confused I was the first few times I tried it, there I was, down on my knees and trying to figure out just what it was that I was supposed to pivot and where the momentum is supposed to be coming from. I know I'm missing some key component, like a Sky Hook I could just reach up for to help me up. I'm not sure about that move either, but he sure makes it look easy. Sigh.

Sueb, Well, congratulations to you on figuring out the Pivot!! What is the secret?? Is it as easy as he makes it look? Wouldn't a block and tackle be a great thing to have around though? I've often thought how handy it would be to have one following me around the garden, ready to hoist me up. And I could use it for the big rocks, too. And I'm with you on the big boobs excuse for not being able to perform the Asian Squat properly, thank you for the giggle, I needed it! (Sitting here dripping with sweat. Leslie just left for the day. Dang, she's a tough taskmaster!)

Darla, ouch. I hear you. Being a gymnast, you must be so flexible. You'd be mortified to see my attempts at fitness. If I didn't have any pride at all, I'd make a video of my work out and post it, but I do need to keep some dignity, lol. I worry about wearing out my joints, too. Not sure what the right thing is; Carl keeps nagging me if I keep doing all the walking, I'll wear out the joints. But if I don't walk, he'll have to cart me around, so I will try for the old saying, Everything in Moderation. Phooey.

Junebug, I'm not much of a fan of coffee, but if it were hot chocolate, I'd be right there with you. I'm not sure if I can keep this up or not...or if it's doing much good, but for some odd reason it's addictive. Trouble is, my housework is suffering. And I don't bake much anymore. I miss the smell of something delicious in the oven. So when I do bake, I send it with the boys when they come home. Must be an empty nest thing, I need something else to obsess over now that the kids are gone? Or I'm just weird, lol.

Shannon, if you can come up with a way to lean comfortably and weed, Please let me know. Wouldn't that be fantastic? I keep staring at that video, watching that guy just pivot and stand up and I'm still at a loss for what muscle it is he's using. My muscles wish I'd give it a rest, they're all screaming at me to knock it off and just lay down on the floor and stay there.

Alison, I use the kneeler bench, too, and I love it. But sometimes I forget it when I'm in one of my GADS moods and I find myself weeding an area I had no intention of going to in the first place and then have nothing to get up with. The big rocks are fantastic help for that though, and that's another reason we have so many of them strewn about the garden. The squat thing is just a puzzle to me, too, I cannot keep my weight forward enough, and that's amazing seeing as how I have so much weight to spare. I can see if I would have squatted like that during my farming days, it would have been much easier on the joints. I get myself into bad habits and then I have to get myself back out of them again. Climbing the steps with my whole foot has really helped a lot though, and that's one habit I think is stuck in my head now. I'm a slow learner, lol.

Karen said...

Holley, so it is the thighs. Aha! I thought so. I've looked at some Tai Chi videos and wondered if it was something I could do. In the exercise class I go to, the leader has us do some simple Yoga stretches which are also harder than I thought. Of course, since I'm about as flexible as a potato chip, I have to work up to this. (Why is everything about junk food with me?) I agree with you whole-heartedly, if I overdo it, then I will have to quit and any progress I've made will be gone again. Progress, not perfection, one day at a time.

Pamela Gordon said...

These are really interesting videos Karen. The pivot one is a good idea that I will try to remember to do come spring. When I garden I do so on one knee, usually my right one, and end up with terrible lower back and right hip pain. As for the Asian squat?? I can't do it. My knees and thighs are too weak and I couldn't even get down all the way. Maybe I need to practice that one. I have a few months before I'll need it! Balance is a difficult thing so I guess having strong core muscles helps. Keep on trying. I will too. Pamela

Missy said...

The guy in the second video is not to be trusted. He says when you do the Asian squat it makes you look sexy. I tried it and that's not the word I'd use - maybe to a giant frog.

gardenwalkgardentalk.com said...

I think the first video looks like a good method, but having a bad knee and that movement would only aggravate my problem. My solution is get somebody else to dig. LOL. Stop by sometime Karen, I have been missing you and your humor.

Karen said...

Hi Missy, yes, that Asian Squat isn't very sexy, is it? I agree we may have to fight off amorous frogs if we use this technique in the garden!

Donna, I think you're right, I should get someone else to dig. Great idea!

myomyohi said...

Karen, I have never been a good squatter. It has always made my knees hurt and after a bit my legs shaky. I normally either bend over, or go down to the ground. And I am not graceful at getting up from either a squat or the ground. I guess I need to practice your pivot and see what happens. My practice pivot in my living room didn't go well. Maybe I'm just too short, round and heavy. sigh...

Dragonfly Treasure said...

Oh my....they make videos for everything these days!

I was able to do the pivot..not sure how I did it but I did. My whole thought thru the video is I need to be able to use both hands usually. Now how would that work...not well it what my back was saying.

As for the Asian squat, forget it. I can't get my heel to the ground without falling over.

I've been so uncoordinated for the past year and having issues with my balance. I'm sticking to my Drs diagnosis...my balance probs are from stress. So weird they started happening the very next day after my world came crashing down..so very weird.

As far as touching my toes...not sure they are still down there, haven't seen them in awhile! But even when I could see them when I was little I still couldn't touch them! LOL

The way I usually get up from being down in the garden is crawl around until I find something I can use to pull myself up....of course the dogs think this is so fun...not. I need to remember to bring something with me like a bucket or milk crate....but then again that would include memory and that's a whole nother story! LOL

Have a great weekend Karen!
*hugs*deb

Indie said...

Haha, I loved the Asian squat video! I obviously am not doing it correctly, because I keep losing my balance. It doesn't look very lady-like, though, does it? (And it really doesn't look very lady-like when I keep falling over!)

I have problems with my hip on one side (aggravated by carrying kids around!), so gardening puts more stress on that. I don't think all the digging/pick-axing in my clay dirt helps though! Maybe I need to stretch before I do all these vigorous garden exercises!

Jennifer@threedogsinagarden said...

Hi Karen, You aren't the only one who struggles to hoist oneself up after mucking about in the dirt. I must confess that I need to loose some weight and get in better shape. Right now getting up is yet another sport: weight lifting! LOL

Tufa Girl said...

My first look at the video and I knew it was not the one for me - knee injury and the opposite foot injury. Not to mention I would injure myself with that tool in hand. I am a bit of a clutz - maybe why I have the injuries... I have helped my knee injury with glucasamine & chondroitin tablets. Get the kind with MSM as it is supposed to moisten the joints.

The Quarry Garden looks so beautiful under the snow.

Jen (emsun.org) said...

For some reason I can't get the videos to work for me right now so I will try to remember to come back and look at them.

I have lots of problems squatting. I'm young, but I've tore up my knees. It's one of the biggest problems with gardening (but also one of the reasons I love my raised beds).

HolleyGarden said...

Amorous frog! haha Thanks for the image - I will be thinking of that when I'm out in the garden! :)
I also wanted to let you know: I am awarding you the Versatile Blogger award. You can read more about it at my post here: http://dreamingofroses.blogspot.com/2012/01/1-blooms.html I hope you will accept it and have fun passing it on to others. Congratulations! :)

Rosemary said...

Made me smile again.... squats what is that! because I have a bad knee I now sit and garden and what an ugly sight it is when I try to get up......

xoxoxo said...

Hi Karen!
Trying to catch up in blogland!
That Asian squat video was hilarious!
How to avoid knee pain on stairs? Simply take the elevator :)
Do you have any community centers near you that offer water aerobic classes? Water is a great way to get a low impact workout with out the pain!!