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Resting Squat Progression | Mobility and Depth
Follow the resting squat progression carefully if you want to master the full resting squat.
We are not talking about squatting as an exercise, or heavy barbell squatting.
Our focus today is on the deep, flat-footed squat.
Squatting is one of the human body’s most fundamental movements.
Some people refer to this position as the “ass to grass” squat or the Third World Squat.
It is a natural human resting position.
This posture is how we evolved to “sit” before the modern use of chairs,
Many adults have forgotten what they were once able to do effortlessly.
Most people in the developed world have lost their ability to squat comfortably.
Resting Squat Progression:
- Unloaded squat (pelvis neutral) lying on your back
- Wall squat hold (back to wall)
- Front assisted squat
- Full squat, lower and pause at the bottom for 5 seconds, repeat for reps
We are not meant to sit for long periods of time.
Think back to when you were in kindergarten, and you had to be trained to be able to sit still.
Children instinctively perform perfect squats, but most adults have spent our lives sitting in couches, chairs, and cars.
Sitting has steered our bodies away from natural squatting.
The Benefits of Practicing the Resting Squat Progression
- Improved hip mobility
- Improved ankle mobility
- Stronger, healthier spine
- Better squat mechanics in exercise
- Stronger, more resilient knees
If you can’t get into a full, flat-footed squat without falling over, don’t worry, you are not alone.
Humans are not machines because we’re meant to move.
Squatting while you work, or at least taking squatting breaks is one way to head off the effects of long-term sitting.
Sitting not only creates lots of postural imbalances, but it puts you in a static position for a long period of time.
The best way to avoid death-by-sitting is to start squatting!
- stand straight up with your feet shoulder distance apart
- take a deep breath and hold in your abs
- squat down until you cannot go any lower
- keep a straight spine
- place both arms at the inside of your legs
- hold the position for at least 30 seconds
- repeat 3 times
If all these steps are working well for you try to increase the time of each round with an extra 30 seconds until you have mastered it.
Then add another 30 seconds, and so on.
Open Up Your Hips
When you’re in your deep squat position, there are some things you can do to open your hips and spine up even more.
Place your hands in a prayer position in front of your chest.
Press your elbows against the insides of your knees to open them even more for a deeper hip stretch.
Do your best not to tense up.
Breathe deeply in through your nose and out through your mouth to try to relax into the stretch.
You can also practice spinal rotation while in the deep squat position.
Reach one arm straight up into the air and look up at your hand. Then lift and open your chest toward the sky.
Two Options to Help You Squat
If you cannot get into a full, flat-footed squat and hold it for at least 30 seconds, you will need some help.
So take your resting squat progression slowly and patiently.
First, hold onto something in front of you for light assistance.
You can use a counter top, pole, or door frame.
Gradually try to use less and less help from your arms and whatever it is you are holding on to.
Or if your squat looks like the one pictured to the right, and your heels are lifted, then put a wedge or support underneath your heels.
This can be a book or even a piece of wood.
Using a book is helpful because you can turn the pages each day to gradually reduce the assistance.
Need More Resting Squat Progression?
If you aren’t ready for an unsupported full squat where your calves are resting against your hamstrings then try to build up slowly with these options.
Start with a daily stretch routine to help restore a full range of motion.
Morning, evening, and before you start your exercise routine, are all great choices.
As long as you do it, it doesn’t really matter when it happens!
Do 10 or 20 slow, deliberate bodyweight squats as a warm up.
Once you’ve completed them, sink down into your deepest possible squat position and hold it right there.
Grab onto a sturdy object if you need to.
Right away, you will notice a big stretch in your hips, groin, calves, and maybe even your ankles. This is good.
Take a deep breath and breathe into it. Hold this position for one minute at first, and gradually work your way up to holds of several minutes or longer.
You can be Comfortable in a Resting Squat
If you practice for a few days or weeks, you should begin to feel more comfortable in this position.
You might find this hard to believe but eventually, this can become a resting position and you’ll be able to stay in this position for extended periods of time.
That’s when you’ll really start to see the benefits of reclaiming your squat. You’ll see greater hip and ankle mobility, improved spinal health, and improved knee health.
You’ll also be able to use better techniques and form when doing your strength-building squats.
You’ll be able to build more powerful legs through a full range of motion.
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Recommended Squatting Daily Allowance
We have RDAs (recommended daily allowance) for vitamins and minerals, why shouldn’t we have “RDAs” for natural movements?
If we lived in the wild, we’d get these daily minimums without any thought or planning.
In modern society, we have to artificially build them in.
The good news is that once you create the habit, you’ll just start squatting automatically without thinking about it.
So, in a sense, your resting squat progression takes a lot of intentional effort until it eventually becomes unintentional and second-nature.
How Long Should you Squat Every Day?
Some people recommend squatting about 30 minutes a day.
Once you’ve achieved a decent proficiency holding the deep squat, you’ll want to start playing with moving while squatting.
Obviously, in the western world, we’ve lost a lot of this use of the squat.
And many people have difficulty just getting into a squat, never mind comfortably resting there.
Ideally, you rehab your squat so that you can begin incorporating it into your daily activities.
How to Add Squats to our Routines
In the world we live in we can use squatting to:
- Replace sitting while working (best done with a laptop)
- Play with kids
- Wait for the bus (or waiting anywhere)
- As a movement break during the day
- Watch TV or hang out
Final Thoughts on the Resting Squat Progression
Don’t think of this as a workout. This is really about reinstating a natural movement pattern back into your life.
Remember to be patient.
We all want instant gratification.
So often we feel we should just be able to do it, and we want to do it now.
You need to realize that you didn’t get where you are overnight.
It took a lot of sitting and bad habits to reach this point.
It will take time to undo the years or decades of unhealthy choices and a static lifestyle.
Be patient with yourself.
Enjoy the journey and make full use of all the resting squat progressions that you might need to reach your goals.