If you have had a movement assessment in our clinic, then you know the last motion tested is the squat. Your movement capabilities on the squat tell us a lot of information as it is a motion that involves the movement of your thoracic and lumbar spine, hips, knees and ankles.
There are very few people that can squat well, from what I have seen atleast. Why is that? There may be many different contributing factors. Some people believe the invention of the toilet is one major contributing factor. On a toilet, your hips maintain 90 degrees which only slightly relaxes the muscles in the pelvic floor and prevents your bowels from fully excreting. The invention of the “squatty-potty” has helped many improve their bowel movements as it is able to decrease the hip angle and straighten the colon to allow full relaxation of the pelvic floor muscles, as in the squat position. I have been to many washrooms in Europe where the toilet is a hole in the ground and there are 2 foot prints to place your feet and squat over. And if you have “back country” camped, there certainly aren’t toilets around.
In some places in the world, squatting is a posture of rest or of work (squatting while cooking over a fire). The use of chairs again, may have altered this work position as the majority of workers 100 years ago, were not sitting at a desk all day long in a chair.
For those that can get into a full squat, have you ever done the Squat 30/30 challenge? This is a squat challenge made famous by Ido Portal, a movement educator. You basically sit in a squat position for 30min/day for 30 days. Now this doesn’t have to be 30min at one time, but can be over multiple time periods adding up to 30min/day.
Regardless of the cause of our lack of squatting ability, this is certainly a posture that many cannot do. But, we can improve on your squat, if not have it return fully.
In our movement screening, I want to see you keep you heels on the floor, and your butt needs to “break your knees,” or in other words, lower your butt below the level of our knees. I often recommend an assisted squat. For this, you can use a theraband or TRX band … Continue reading and attach it overhead in front of you. Holding on to the ends of the band loosely, squat as low as you can go without falling backwards. Use the band if you need to, to help you pull back up into the standing position.
If you have any current knee injuries, please don’t try this without any in person guidance. This is done with just your body weight. If you can’t get your butt lower than your knees, without your heels coming up, try placing a book about an inch thick under your heels. As you get used to this, slowly decrease the thickness of the book.
There are some other tricks to help you get into your full squat position, though, because everyone has their unique needs, this is where you need to speak with me further. I look forward to helping you with your squat.