The best way to get better at squatting is to practise within your comfortable range of motion.
Getting a little closer to a squat is better than forcing your body into a position the tissues are not ready for. A small increase in loading helps your tissues adapt without stress.
The key is to stabilise, mobilise and strengthen your whole body, from top to toe. Start small. Flex your hips and knees a little more than what they are used to. Sit on a pile of blankets or a stool to peel your vegetables, play a board game or drink your favourite beverage.
If this is too much for now, simply sit on the front edge of your chair and let your muscles participate in holding you upright. That would be a great start!
Is this a good squat?!
Yes and no.
No, because it puts quite a strain on my knees, ankles and lower back. I have gone beyond what my body can comfortably do, for now.
Yes, because it informs me what areas I need to work on to rest like this with more ease - to poke the fire or to tie up my child's shoe laces, and maybe my grandchildren's one day!
What does your deep squat look like? Look in the mirror and see. Or get someone to take a picture.
Here is a list of ideas that are helping us transition from a sedentary family to a more active one.
Sitting on the floor is an easy way to add movement to our daily life. Getting onto the floor and getting up again mobilise our muscles in ways that are different to what they are used to, after sitting in chairs, sofas, cars or on bikes. Here you have a hamstring, quad, calf and glute strengthener wrapped up in one. Floor sitting is great for hip, knee and ankle mobility and does not require any special equipment. It is the best way to visit the full range of your knee flexion and extension and ankle dorsiflexion and plantarflexion.
There are many different ways of sitting on the floor of course - legs crossed, legs tucked under; legs to the side; legs outstretched; one leg bent, one leg straight; squat; etc. And it is a good idea to change position every few minutes.
Floor sitting may not be easy for everyone so it is worth using props such as a folded blanket, a yoga block, a cushion or a low stool. The main thing is to make sure that the pelvis is "untucked". You should see or feel a bit of a curve in the lower back. If the lower back is rounded, then the pelvis is tucked under. The best way to get the feel of an untucked pelvis is to go on all fours and let the back (and abdomen!) relax down. It feels sooo good!
Be sure to respect the current boundaries of your body's capability. Only lower yourself as much as you are comfortably able at the present time. There is no prize for how low you can go! If you make floor sitting a daily habit, you will naturally be able to lower yourself further and further. Take your time, there is no rush! Most of all, have fun with it! Have a meal sitting around the coffee table, have an indoor picnic, bring the laptop to floor level, play a board game, read a book, peel vegetables, etc. The possibilities are endless and so are the benefits. Try it and see.
It's also worth remembering that there is not ONE perfect sitting position. Ideally, you will change position every 10 to 15 minutes - sitting in many different ways, standing, lying down, moving your neck, moving your legs, moving your arms, going for a walk, etc. Variety of movement is essential for the health of your joints and soft tissues!
Mum of 4, nature lover, passionate about the power of human movement.