The Flat Foot Squat is one of the most basic and fundamental human postures, often used as an alternative to sitting in other cultures and among small children. However, due to our westernized heavy reliance on chairs, improper footwear, and leading a sedentary life, the full squat becomes difficult as we age. There are occasions when we have to sit for prolonged periods of time throughout our lives and we know this can be devastating to our health. Scientists have compared sitting in a chair for extended periods of time to being weightless in space. This is due to the fact that the muscles, tendons, bones, joints, and other tissues aren’t supporting themselves naturally any longer. Many cultures throughout history have and still do rely on squatting to eat meals, perform work, relaxing, cooking, and communing. Our modern society has basically eliminated the need to squat down in our daily lives. Being able to squat all the way down is one of the healthiest things you can do for your body. Here are a few reasons to Drop a Squat!
Increased Hip, Knee, and Ankle Mobility – The flat foot squat is a great way to improve mobility, reduce stiffness in joints and stretch tendons and muscles, and restore full range of motion to these areas.
Reduce Back Pain – When going into a full flat foot squat the pelvis rotates backward and allows the spine to elongate, reducing lumbar compression, creating space between the individual segments of the spine and stretches the tight or shortened muscles in the lower back.
Glute Strengthening - The Gluteus Maximus if one of the largest muscles in our body, which allows us to perform the vital activities we do on a daily basis like walking, running, and lifting. The Glutes are important stabilizers of the core and legs. When coming in and out of a full squat it is one of the most effective ways to strengthen the Glutes. A fabulous benefit from dropping a squat is having a tight fanny!
Hip Strengthening – If a person has weak hip muscles, they often notice that their legs move inward (adduction) and internally rotate when they jump or walk down stairs. This adducted position puts the knee at an awkward angle and can cause injury. A full squat moves the hips in the opposite position, (abduction) strengthening the muscle groups responsible for performing these actions.
Better Posture – When working all of the areas I’ve mentioned above, overall improvement in the entire musculo-skeletal system will naturally become more aligned, which will ultimately improve how one feels, moves, and looks. Dropping a Squat each day my even reverse some of the bad habits the body has acquired from our modern way of living.
Stronger Bones – The largest contributing factor to poor bone density is lack of activity. Your bones need resistance to drive nutrients into them to generate stronger, less porous bones. Sitting too often will lead to weak bones, and a heightened risk of injury.
Bowel Health – This is a one of the most important reasons to consider implementing a full squat into your daily life! First of all, our genes expect us to be able to get down into the full squat position. It’s an important part of being human and being alive. Diverticulosis, heart failure, appendicitis, inflammatory bowel disease, and colon cancer may be linked to improper daily bowel elimination. Sitting on a toilet and not going all the way down as we are designed to do, actually pinches off the end of the colon, not allowing for complete bowel evacuation. When sitting on a toilet, this may cause straining and hemorrhoids. Imagine never having to be constipated again! Squatting makes elimination faster, easier, and more complete. So many benefits from dropping into a squat.
Bladder and Prostate Health – Dropping a Squat when using the toilet will protect nerves that control the prostate, bladder, and uterus from becoming stretched and damaged. Studies were conducted and indicated that after a few months of squatting while using the toilet, bladder and prostate health were restored even in participants well into their 70’s.
Easier Delivery during Pregnancy – Squatting avoids pressure on the uterus when using the toilet. Daily squatting helps to prepare pregnant women for a more natural delivery.
I could go on and on with the many benefits to incorporating the Flat Foot Squat into your daily life… but I think you get the picture now!
Drop a Squat for the next few weeks. See if you notice any positive improvements in how you feel. The same principles that apply to other forms of exercise also apply for squats. Squatting too often, holding the position for hours on end, or not allowing your body to recover between squatting sessions can place you at increased risk for injury.
You now have knowledge of the flat foot squat being linked to your health and vitality. Here are 3 tips that will help you to be successful at squatting correctly.
Tip #1 – Use a stable object to balance yourself. (chair, door, another person) Most people in our modern society can’t get into this position due to lack of hip mobility and tight ankles, in particular. Using an object to balance yourself while hanging out in this position is a great tool to make squatting easier when just learning.
Tip #2 – Do mobility exercises for the most common tight muscles. The hip flexors and ankles (Achilles Tendon) usually require some special attention. We'll address this on our Drop A Squat Training Video.
Tip #3 – Drop a Squat Daily! Make it a daily habit to squat down and hang out in this position. After you’ve been sitting for a while, drop a squat! You can simply squat down and set a timer for a minute or two and just hang out there. Eventually, you may find yourself eating a meal, reading a book, visiting with family and friends, or meditating in the squat.
For me, squatting has been a way of life since I was a child. Always squatting around the campfire, squatting because it just felt better than sitting for long periods of time. But now, there are many people who are realizing the importance of getting back to our anatomically natural and structurally healthy resting posture...the Flat Foot Squat! I not only eat my breakfast each morning in the Flat Foot Squat, but I utilize the Flat Foot Squat throughout the day in my classroom with my students, while working on the computer, when I'm on the road traveling and may be sitting for long periods of time in the car or at airports...Yes, you'll see me Dropping a Squat! You'll find your body will become much more flexible, and muscles will become more toned and lengthened. Check out our video on the Flat Foot Squat. So...come on, Drop a Squat!
Remember, if you find it's difficult to get into this position, take your time over a few weeks...remember to use something stable to hang onto that will assist you in getting into this wonderful, natural position. Being able to do a full flat foot squat is a sign of good physical health. Let us know if you decide to implement this into your lifestyle and tell us how things are going! We’d love to hear from you!