since reading this article (http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance/the_thirdworld_squat) I have been intrigued by this squat. I can't do it unsupported without falling on my butt, but I can easily do it on a small downward slope. Even when I do it on the downward slope, I am straining with the tendon on the front of my ankle - is this normal? I know some people can hold it for many minutes and it seems perfectly comfortable for them. Bizarrely, my 65 year old dad, who is just about as active as I am, can do it with no problem...wtf? (I'm 16, so it's not like being stiff and achey is an issue)
what do you think is the best way to practice? My favorite way right now is getting into position and grabbing/pulling with my arms onto the coffee table (the author of the article recommends something similar, I think). Would it be best to decrease heel height, simply go unsupported, or do it supported like how I'm doing it?
asked byRR (333)
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on May 26, 2011
at 03:17 AM
the best way to practice if you can't fully support yourself in the squat position is to stand in a doorway, facing one side of the frame, grab it, and start working down to the squat position as you hold on to the door frame. you could do this with a pole or anything else sturdy and vertical. remember to:
- keep your weight in your heels
- keep a nice 'set' back -- no rounded back!
- don't be afraid of letting your torso lean forward -- it does not have to be upright. if you are pushing your butt out, your torso needs to lean forward to balance your center of gravity.
a great mobility exercise for the squat position is to get in the position, put your arms/hands in a praying position, and use your elbows to really push your knees out. this will help to work out stiffness in your abductors, which are supremely important at the bottom of this movement.
on May 26, 2011
at 12:11 AM
on May 26, 2011
at 05:34 PM
I'm a yoga fanatic and quite flexible and fit, practice squatting (and other similar stretches) all the time, can squat comfortably for a very long time, but can't do it flat-footed with my butt off the ground. It's nearly effortless either in bare feet with my heels raised a bit off the ground, or in shoes with at least a 1 1/2" heel, or with my butt just touching.
I think it's a body type issue. If you have a longer torso/waist and shorter limbs it seems to comes naturally. I have a very short and small torso and all my weight is in my hips - even if I bring my torso so far forward between my legs that my shoulders are below my knees and my spine is nearly parallel with the ground, it's not an adequate counterbalance for my ass with my heels down, and I exhaust my lower legs and roll backwards very quickly. Coming up onto the balls of my feet brings my center of gravity far enough forward that it can be comfortably supported for a long time.
There's a good reason it's so often called the Asian squat, IMO. I have very rarely seen pictures or footage of people in 3rd world African or Middle Eastern countries doing a flat-footed/butt off the ground resting squat (although I've seen plenty do a resting squat with the heels up or the butt down), but I've seen countless pictures of East Asians doing it with ease.
Anyway, I say if you can do it well with your heels a bit off the ground, that's good enough. Just practice doing it that way for longer and maybe you might be able to hold it for a while with your heels down, one day.
on September 14, 2013
at 02:52 PM
@ Sean M That isn't proof that heritage has nothing to do with it. I'm not saying you are wrong, but here are some counterpoints: Our sitting height ratio changes drastically from when we are toddlers to when we are adults. See figure 29-3 here: http://books.google.com/books?id=Cx22TcXodrwC&pg=PA432&dq=sitting+height+ratio&hl=en&sa=X&ei=47r5UZOkHoyUjALLwoDwBQ&ved=0CC0Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false So just because we are built to squat as a toddler does not mean we are built to squat as adults. Secondly, you can't ignore the poster who said you don't see other third world inhabitants squatting like this nearly as often as you see Asians doing it. In my observations this is true; the #1 predictor that someone can do it, by far, is having been raised in Asia. So, there are two reasons to not be so hasty to say that if it weren't for chairs we would all squat like that. Finally, even if it's true that we would all squat like that if not for chairs, it doesn't mean we should necessarily learn to do it now. Check Wikipedia, which lists possible negative side effects including knee osteoarthritis and peroneal nerve palsy. It also mentions squatting facets, which may indicate non-squatters have bony blocks preventing them from acquiring the habit.
on September 01, 2013
at 05:05 PM
An 'Asian' squat has NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with where you were born or your cultural background. Look at any 1-2 year-old and you will see them ALL doing 'Asian' squats whilst playing. This means that WE ALL used to do them. The difference is that many people in the 3rd world CONTINUE to practice the squat throughout their life, whilst most people in the Western World abandon this stretch and start SITTING ONLY.
on May 27, 2011
at 06:48 AM
Well, I saw someone talk about MWOD, that's what I thought of when I saw your question.
After doing that one, go back to the very last page (around page 41 or so), and start doing all the leg ones between #1-#10. Helped immensely. I started MWOD several months ago and went from being able to being able to stand 1-2 minutes supported by a wall, to just dropping down and being able to hold it. 10 minutes is now more about being bored than worrying about the length of time...
on May 26, 2011
at 02:26 AM
Just practice it and just stretch out your groin and everything with other postures, you'll probably be able to do it soon with a little work. I lean forward but not totally collapsed onto the tops of my legs, and the upper arm rests on the knee with elbows hanging out over knees, it's quite comfortable when you get used to it. Regular squats can help you build up those muscles and then easing into it will give you the balance. I heard one of my friends say only asians and eastern european people can do it. Well I'm neither and I learned how to do it. It's something I'm really grateful to have learned.
on May 26, 2011
at 02:08 AM
Perhaps you could try doing it with a 2x4 under your heels for a while.