Thursday, January 12, 2012

Third World Squat - do you have it?

3rd World Squat

I have noticed often that many of our members have mobility problems and getting into what is known as the Third World Squat. You make ask yourself "why is this important? why are the coaches so concerned with my squat?".  Well let me tell you, the squat is the foundation of a lot of our movements.  Think Air Squat, Wall Ball, Front Squat, Back Squat, Overhead Squat, Thruster, you get the picture.  If you aren't comfortable getting deep in your squat, you will struggle with these movements.

This is a natural sitting position that you see many toddlers and small children use. The problem is that as Americans, we tend to sit in chairs all day which over time, creates mobility issues.  You may ask yourself, "Coach, how do I fix this?" I'm glad you asked.

From T-Nation "Your goal here is simply to attain this.
In order to prevent falling backwards, grab onto something sturdy in front of you, like a doorframe or a handrail. While maintaining a neutral spine (sternum high and brace those abs!) grab onto whatever's in front of you and lean back on it, pushing your butt out behind you. Keep your feet pointed fairly straight forward, and don't allow your knees to track in or out. Your weight should be on your heels. Try wiggling your toes to confirm this. Now drop your hips progressively lower.

Once you can't drop any further, hang out for a while, slowly rocking side to side and up and down. This should free up a little bit more range of motion. Try to maintain this position for about one minute. Repeat this at a minimum of once daily. Either as a part of some pre-workout mobility work, or after sitting or standing for an extended period of time.

As you progress, you'll find yourself dropping lower into the position and becoming increasingly comfortable. At some point you'll be able to drop into a shallow third-world squat without the assistance of an object to hold onto. Congrats, this is your first benchmark. At this point, you'll most likely still need to lean far forward and stick your arms out in order to balance and not tip over backwards. This will be the next set of training wheels to get rid of.

All your hard work will pay off
From this point, continue working on the squat at least once daily. This frequency will help ensure steady progress. One minute of holding the position will begin to feel easier, and you can either lengthen the time, or begin adding more sets. Focus on dropping deeper into the squat each day, and bringing your spine more and more vertical. Physically placing your kneecaps into your armpits will help.

Eventually you'll improve to the point that you can sit deeply in the third-world squat without holding onto anything with your arms and without any difficulty in balancing. Your spine will be nearly vertical, in a neutral position, and you'll be able to move freely. Getting into and out of this position will feel no less natural than walking up a flight of stairs or getting into your car. Your body will reap the rewards of this new level of mobility.  From here, all you have to do is maintain what you've got by utilizing the squat on a regular basis."

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