6 Squat Variations for Injury Prevention

Squats are not an exercise you want to skip. They target many of the major muscles used in running, such as the quadriceps, gluteus maximus, hamstrings, and core. Strengthening these major muscle groups may prevent injury by supporting and stabilizing the joints around them. The squat, in particular, focuses on the knee and hip joints, two of the major joints involved in running.

There are a variety of different squat exercises that may contribute to injury prevention. Further, mixing it up can prevent plateaus from occurring and challenge your muscles in a whole different way. The following outlines 6 squat variations, starting with the basics, for you to mix up your leg routine starting today.

What Is Your Body Language Communicating?

As humans, we tend to spend a lot of our time thinking about the things we say — especially in and around the office. Of course, it’s important to think carefully before speaking, but that’s actually only half the battle when it comes to communication. In fact, some expert believe only about 7% of all communication is verbal, and the rest of the 93% is communicated through non-verbal cues like body language. That’s a huge percentage of communication that we’re not paying much attention to.

Non-verbal communication includes things like facial expression, gestures, tone of voice, eye-contact, body positioning, and posture. As social beings, we subconsciously pick up on these subtle cues to inform our impressions of a person’s characteristics, personality, state of mind, and much more.

What Your Body Language is Saying About You

Take a look at the two photos below. Just a quick glance at the two people in the photos and we can immediately tell that the person on the left demonstrates confidence, whereas in the right, she likely feels insecure and unsure.

upright posture, confident body language      slouching posture, insecure body language

Using only body language as a cue, you were able to make a snap judgement — fairly confidently, too — about the mental state of these two people. Based on these two images, if you were asked to guess how you think each of these people would do presenting in front of a large audience, or in a leadership role, you’d probably guess that the person on the left demonstrating confidence is better suited for the job.

Assuming she is a qualified individuals, slouching puts her at a significant disadvantage compared to her adopting an upright, open posture.

This is obviously an extreme, hypothetical case and that’s not how decisions about presenters or promotions are made. However, there is something to be said about the advantage you can gain in taking extra care and attention in what your body is communicating to those around you.

Body Language on Your Own Psyche

Dr. Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist, delivered a fascinating TED Talk a few years ago on the importance of body language and how our posture influences not just the way others perceive us, but also our own thoughts and feelings. In her studies, Dr. Cuddy found that indulging in poor, slouched posture where you are closing yourself off from your surrounding and physically taking up less space perpetuates feelings of fear, stress, and anxiety, lowering performance in stressful situations. This creates a negative cycle where:

Insecure Thoughts → Closed-off Posture → More Insecure and Negative Thoughts

To break this cycle, Dr. Cuddy recommends adopting what she calls “power-poses”. Power-poses are a series of strong and confident postures that have the ability to influence two important hormone levels: testosterone and cortisol. She found that adopting these “power poses” increases testosterone levels to help you feel more assertive and decisive while lowering cortisol levels to reduce stress and anxiety. The combined effects of these two hormones provide an almost immediate boost in confidence and have been shown to improve performance in stressful situations, thereby introducing a positive cycle:

Intentional Power-Pose → Boost in Confidence and Mood → Continued Good Posture

The bonus to this cycle is that not only does being in good posture fosters positive thoughts and moods, it also communicates confidence and strength to the people around you, as we discussed in the first section of this article.

So, even if you are feeling shy, insecure, stressed, or uncomfortable, simply fixing your posture to be more upright and open can help you escape the negative cycle of emotions to enter a much more positive sequence.

Good Posture in Practice

By now, you know the importance of good posture and the positive influence it has on your own psyche as well as others perceptions. So how do we get into good posture, and more importantly, how do we stay in it?

Getting into Good Posture

To get into good posture, imagine your head is being pulled straight up by a string. Lift your chest slightly and draw in your abdominals. Keep your shoulders down and back, and your chin tucked in. You’re aiming for a strong, confident position! When sitting, scoot your hips to the back of your chair and avoid reclining against the seat-back. If you’re not sure you’re doing it right, here’s a more detailed instruction post on how to get into good posture.

Now, for the hard part: staying in good posture.

For many of us, getting into good posture isn’t too much of a challenge. The challenge arises as we try to maintain it throughout the day. In fact, our internal data study with 15,000 Lumo Lift users revealed that during the workday, people on average spend only 36% of their time in “good posture”. That amounts to 38 minutes of poor posture per hour, and 304 minutes, or about 5 hours, of slouching per a regular 8-hour workday.

The key to achieving better posture throughout the day is to train your mind and body to adopt better posture as a habit, rather than a conscious choice. To achieve this, there are three elements at that need consideration: anatomy, muscular endurance, and the correct neuromuscular patterns.

Anatomy: Physically getting into good posture.
Muscular Endurance: Developing and strengthening supporting muscles in your back and core to stay in good posture.
Neuromuscular Patterns: Communication between your brain and muscles to learn what good posture feels like., i.e., muscle memory.

At Lumo, we’ve taken this three-pronged secret sauce to improving your posture and created a device that helps you do just that: Lumo Lift. Lumo Lift is a small, wearable device that discreetly attaches magnetically to your shirt to monitor your posture all day long, and gently vibrates when you slouch to remind you to straighten up to strengthen correct neuromuscular patterns. The accompanying Lumo Lift app recommends various exercises and stretches to help you develop the necessary muscles to support your newly improved posture.

Here’s how Lumo Lift works:

 

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Communicate Confident, Strong Body Language with Lumo Lift

Lumo Lift is a small lightweight wearable that tracks and coaches you on your posture, as well as tracks daily activity, such as steps taken, distance traveled and calories burned. Compatible with iOS/iPhone, Windows desktop and select Android devices. Free shipping, 30-day money back guarantee and 1 year limited warranty.

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Lumo Bodytech Partners with PUMA to Provide Best-in-Class Product

We are excited to announce today our partnership with PUMA, a leading sports performance company, to introduce a new PUMA product powered by our artificial intelligence motion science coaching platform.

Our MotionScience Platform, a deep and full-stack technology architecture equipped with AI and machine-learning capabilities, currently power two of our proprietary products: Lumo Lift, a posture and activity coach, and Lumo Run, an innovative coaching platform and device for runners. We recently announced data that demonstrated that the AI-powered coaching model used in Lumo Run helps runners run faster, farther and more efficiently. Now, in collaboration with PUMA, Lumo is expanding their MotionScience capabilities to extend to a new kind of product.

“Lumo and PUMA have a shared vision for building a new cutting edge AI product and we’re thrilled to provide this solution to people all around the world,” said Monisha Perkash, CEO and Co-founder of Lumo Bodytech. “We’re also excited to expand our Lumo MotionScience Platform to build next-generation capabilities for PUMA’s market-leading sports performance products.”

The partnership, lead by the PUMA Innovation Team, is a natural, strategic move towards the next-generation of future connected health and fitness products that go above and beyond a simple tracker and into an AI-powered real-time coach that provides deep insights into human movements.

We recently announced the general availability of the Lumo MotionScience Platform, ushering in the future of personalized feedback technology for third-party partners. The Lumo MotionScience Platform, designed by engineers from Stanford University, offers access to unique algorithm models that can track a myriad of human movements and provide a wide spectrum of biomechanical insights relevant to various industry applications, while offering actionable feedback to promote behavioral change for healthier habits.

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For more news and updates from Lumo Bodytech, follow us on LinkedIn and subscribe to our monthly newsletter.

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Is Slouching Killing Productivity and Costing You Millions?

Take a second to consider your current posture. Bring close attention to your head, neck, shoulder and spine position. Is your head hanging forward, hinging at your neck? Are your shoulders rounded in as you rest your hands on your keyboard? Perhaps your back is hunched over to be eye-level with your screen.

Keep this posture up and you’re in danger of wreaking havoc on your spine, killing productivity and putting yourself at risk of a lifetime of back and neck aches. 

How AI is Shaping the Future of Technology and Sports Performance 

Artificial Intelligence, or AI, is all the rage now. With leading innovations like Google DeepMind and Apple’s personal assistant engine Siri, AI technology is quickly finding its way into household devices and technology to further enhance interactions.

One application of AI that is particularly applicable to the healthcare and sports market is this idea of real-time feedback using AI for injury prevention and performance enhancement. Coupled with deep, enriched data on human movement, this allows users to get immediate and actionable feedback on their body mechanics, even those invisible to the human eye.

The take away? Data alone is never enough; successful products that are adopted, used, and loved by people need to address the “so what?” of any given problem.

This is precisely why we created Lumo Run, an award-winning running wearable that helps runners run faster and farther with less risk of injury through form coaching.

 

Why Running Form?

Proper running form is critical, as it minimizes wasted energy and the risk of injury. When you run in poor form, the body experiences biomechanical inefficiencies, often leading to injury. Researchers have found that running with correct biomechanical form lessens the risk of running related injuries.

For example, according to a study done by the University of Wisconsin-Madison, an increase in cadence can significantly reduce the likelihood of knee pain and iliotibial band syndrome. In a separate study, researchers found that gait retraining, while using visual cues, decreased knee pain in their participants.

 

Lumo® Run User Data Study

In a dataset based on 8 months worth of data and containing roughly 27,200 runs from thousands of customers using Lumo Run, 97% of users improved their running form within their first three runs. In an additional data set containing 22,600 runs, we found that: 82% of men and 76% of women improve in distance and/or pace.

 

In Forbes’ recent article announcing this news, contributor Andrew Karcz notes: “But what about all this new data – do you really need yet another app to keep track of your workouts? Lumo Bodytech is working on that, partnering with other run and fitness platforms. Their goal, ultimately, is to “be where the runners are; to help everyone move better and prevent injuries,” reinforcing again, the importance of addressing the “so what” for products to thrive and succeed in this crowded marketplace of trackers and apps.

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Lumo® Run is now available for partners and businesses to integrate and customize into existing or future products to offer a unique proven running solution to their customers. 

 

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Lumo Run Data Announcement

We’re proud to announce that research done by our resident data scientist, Dr. Derek Chang, has shown that Lumo Run does indeed help users run faster and farther. Using data our Lumo Run data over the past 8 months, we’ve found:

  • 97% of users improved their running form within their first three runs
  • 82% of men and 76% of women improve in the distance and/or pace.

Announcing Strava Integration

Integrate with your Strava account so you can sync your GPS data to your Lumo Run account. Run with your GPS watch and your Lumo Run sensor, sync the GPS data with Strava, and your data will automatically be uploaded to your Lumo Run account. We love this feature because you can now get your pace, distance, and route data into Lumo Run while leaving your phone at home.

Here’s how to use this feature:

STEP 1
GO TO SETTINGS > CONNECT SERVICES > STRAVA

In the Account section of your Settings, you will see “Connect Services”. Click on this to see the Strava connect button. Click on the “+” to connect with Strava.

STEP 2
AUTHORIZE YOUR ACCOUNTS TO LINK

Follow the instructions to link your accounts. Click on the “Connect with Strava” button. You will need to enter your Strava username and password, then just authorize Lumo Run to access your data from Strava.

All-New Lumo Lift App Available Now

You asked, we listened! Today we are excited to announce major updates to the Lumo Lift app, including a fresh new design, simpler settings for alignment and more. The new Lumo Lift app is available now on Google Play and the Apple App Store, so update now and be on your way to better posture.

Questions Every Runner Should Ask: A Q&A with Dr. Rebecca Shultz

Image source: Lifehacker

Running isn’t always as simple as lacing up your shoes and hitting the road. Whether you’re training for your first 5K or your tenth marathon, chances are that you will face some challenge during your running career, such as an injury or a setback in your performance. At this point, it’s critical to ask questions and find the resources that will steer you in the right direction.

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