Squatting: How To And Modifications (For Everyone)

January 5, 2018

 

Squatting, believe it or not, is one of our body’s ideal resting positions.

 

It is a requirement for maintaining a healthy lumbar spine, pelvis, hips, knees, ankles, feet and pelvic floor (guys, yes you have a pelvic floor too!) If you feel as if these areas of your body don’t move as well as they could or should, the best place to start is incorporating more squats into your day.

 

Traditionally, our ancestors spent hours a day squatting to eat, wash clothing, make a fire, take care of children and just have a conversation with others. It's obvious that our modern lifestyles have eliminated the need to spend so much time squatting, but that doesn't mean it isn't still important for maintaining healthy joints and lower body mobility.

 

If you're someone who has spent the majority of your life sitting in chairs, it's very likely that your body is unable to squat (yet) in a way that doesn't cause you significant pain, tension, pressure or discomfort, which is why I've included some squat modifications for you.

 

 

#1. Gold standard squat position: This is what an ideal squat looks like. Feet are hip width apart, and your toes can be pointed forward or pointed outward slightly. Your butt should sink down to parallel and your thoracic spine should be extended.

 

 

#2. Modification 1: Use a chair (as pictured here) or hold both sides of a doorknob as you back yourself up from the chair/door with your arms extended. Prioritize keeping your heels on the floor. Once they start to lift, you need to stop, or place an object (rolled up towel) under your heels to elevate them slightly.

 

 

#3. Modification 2a: Lying face up on the floor, tuck your knees to your chest

 

 

#4: Modification 2b: Facing the floor, move your knees wider than your pelvis and reach your arms overhead, sinking them into the floor. This is also called child's pose in yoga.

 

Modifications 2a and 2b are ideal starting positions if you're lacking the mobility to move into a squat position from standing without feeling unstable or experiencing pain. Both of these position simulate a squat position (so you can reap the benefits of squatting) while supporting some of your weight on the floor. 

 

Ideally, you're squatting daily, even if it's an accumulation of a couple of minutes. It is one of the best at home exercises that you can do to help support the adjustment process once you leave the office. Trust me, your low back, pelvis, hips, knees, feet and ankles will thank you.

 

As always, if you have questions, please leave them below in the comments section for me.

 

-Dr. Jenna

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