Print Friendly, PDF & Email

A friend once asked me, “What do you think we should still be able to do physically, up until the week that we die?”

Here’s the first post in a series to respond to that question.

Up with the Arms, Down with the Hips

As I attempt to whittle down a shortlist of things a body should remain able to do through our life, my first pick is mobility-dominant: a dowel overhead squat.

Why? Because it’s the exact opposite of the way that life pulls us, which is toward tightness in the upper back, shoulders, hips and ankles.

There’s a reason that this is the first test in the Functional Movement Screen series! And whatever the limitations may be, let’s try and fix them now.

Objective Criteria

As with any squat, we can’t have knees caving in… That’s just nasty on the body in the long term. Often weak hips are the culprit, sometimes tight calves.

Let’s keep a neutral spine, all the way down to when the hip crease descends beneath the knee joint.

And remember, extra marks go to those who can keep their heels flat on the floor while performing it.


Sure, a young and strong person can consider putting weight overhead, maybe even lots of weight, but as a minimum for quality of life as we age, let’s make sure that we don’t lose that ability to reach up or squat down.

And yes, it may feel a bit difficult — but even if it seems far away from where you are now, I feel there’s always a way to move yourself in a good direction. And if it’s easy now? Awesome! Never lose that skill.

And Next?

To continue my series of things that I feel we should be able to do, in some form at least, until the day we die:

If you need help nailing any of them, please contact me.