Are you down with squatting?

Chris Hallaways shares the benefits of relaxing into a deep squat.

Can you squat? I'm not talking about a partial rep but a full-range 'ass to the grass' style squat. You don't need any weights for this, just your body in its pure form.

Introducing Ido Portal

One of my idols, Ido Portal, set a challenge a few years ago which took off massively. If you were to search Google it'll pop up everywhere. It was to spend 30 min a day in a squat, for 30 days.

Part of this challenge – which can be done by anyone – is to help you back on the road to movement, to free the joints of pain and to explore the boundaries of your body.

Ido Portal is a master of his own creation. He combines capoeira, the Brazilian martial art, with gymnastics, yoga and other martial arts to create what he describes simply as movement. After spending a weekend on a workshop with him last year, he totally changed my approach to training: being able to move rather than just pushing weights, which is what the majority of traditional gym sessions presently teach us. 

Find out more about Ido Portal.

Squat: The natural resting position

The squat is natural resting position. Before the rise of the chair, people spent long periods of time in a deep squat. All throughout Asia they still do. Everywhere you go, there are people waiting for buses, relaxed in the depth squat.

The human body is an amazing design, it was made for squating, twisting, lunging, hanging from trees, climbing and running – the ability to more or less move in every shape or form.

Why the body seizes up

It wasn't meant to sit at a desk for eight hours a day, followed by sitting on a train for another hour, then when you get home to sit in front of the tv for another four hours, before you go and lay down in bed – all to be repeated day after day after day. This all leads to the body seizing up and the building of calcification in the joints.

Over time this will effect your body in ways that will hinder the longevity and freedom of your life.

Take the first step towards freedom of the the body. Start by squatting!

Need some help?

There are a lot of videos on YouTube that can assist, if you struggle with the squat. You don't have to stay static throughout. 

View Ido Portals squat clinic for more techniques on stretching during the movement.

Why not do the 30/30 squat challenge? 

Rules for the 30/30 squat challenge, taken from Joshua Boorman's post.

  • No REST days during the 30 days.
  • You don't have to spend the 30 min in one sitting. Build it up over the day: one minute here, five minutes there. Before I you know it 30 minutes won't be enough.
  • Relaxed the spine – there's no need to try to remain erect or with a neutral spine. Its a RESTING position.
  • Feet should be around shoulder width apart but experiment and find something right for you – aim for maximal depth and relaxation.
  • How much should your feet be turned out or should they be facing forward? Don’t let anyone sell you the idea of ONE perfect position – this should be individualised and experimented with – aim for maximal depth and relaxation.
  • Knee pain? Hip pain? Stand up and move around. Resume the squat and work in small short bursts of squatting throughout the day.
  • Footwear? Best – barefoot. Second best – minimal footwear.
  • Keep your heels on the floor if possible. If impossible, try a small heel support until you gain the proper mobility to squat flat foot on the ground.
  • True sign of good squatting? When you get tired from STANDING – you squat and not vise versa. True story!
  • How deep should you squat? There is only one answer – DEEPER.
  • If you need any help or have any questions please feel free to contact me on 07800870444 or Chris.hallaways@gmail.com

Good luck squatting!

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ymca | 30 September 2016