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    cherylg28's Avatar
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    Unable to squat or sit on my heels

    Primal Fuel
    I was just watching Marks's sprinting video. At the end he does a deep squat/sit for rest. I am unable to do this. Nor can I sit back on my heels *my knees just don't bend that far. I am reasonably fit (5'7", 160 lbs), but I've seen really overweight people sit back on their heels with no problem. The last time I remember squatting that way was in my 20's (30 years ago), and I don't remember ever being able to sit on my heels. Any orthopaedists out there who may know what the issue is? I realize no one can diagnose from an email, but if you've seen this limitation before, what is usually the root cause? Thanks.

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    Knifegill's Avatar
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    Tense leg muscles. Grab a doorway or a pole for now so you don't fall over backwards and stretch down into position. Took me a few weeks to be able to do it even remotely. I had no idea white adults could do it at all, thought is was just Chinese people and little kids who could do it. Now it's as natural as breathing, I squat properly to pick up things I drop all the time.


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    RichMahogany's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cherylg28 View Post
    I was just watching Marks's sprinting video. At the end he does a deep squat/sit for rest. I am unable to do this. Nor can I sit back on my heels *my knees just don't bend that far. I am reasonably fit (5'7", 160 lbs), but I've seen really overweight people sit back on their heels with no problem. The last time I remember squatting that way was in my 20's (30 years ago), and I don't remember ever being able to sit on my heels. Any orthopaedists out there who may know what the issue is? I realize no one can diagnose from an email, but if you've seen this limitation before, what is usually the root cause? Thanks.
    Spend less time in a chair/couch. Look into zero-drop footwear.

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    Badkty22's Avatar
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    All of the above. It is most likely an inflexibility issue versus a true problem with your knees. Take up a regular stretching regimen like yoga. You need to loosen up the backs of your legs: hamstrings, calves,and achilles tendons, as those all come into play during a squat. I had a yoga instructor once who insisted that if we take nothing else away from her class, we should always remember to squat as often as possible.

    Try this to start- lay on your back and work on hugging your knees to your chest, one at a time if you need to. Flex your feet (so your toes are pointing straight up, or even back toward you). Also work on bending over and touching your toes, bent legs at first if needed, working up to straight legs.

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    primalrob's Avatar
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    mark actually links to a bunch of resources on mobility in the hips and knees for squatting in yesterday's blog post:

    Floor Living: Sitting on the Floor | Mark's Daily Apple

    all the best stuff starts about halfway down.

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    While there may be a flexibility problem, it's also likely you have no strength in that range of motion because you haven't used it in so many years. I lifted weights in my 30s and had some idea that I had a lower limit below which my knees would not carry me down. But it wasn't until quite recently that I figured out how to remedy it.

    Agreed that you need to hold onto something very sturdy at first. You can hold a secure post or pole, but you can also hang onto both doorknobs of an open door. Allow yourself to lean back. You will feel extremely uncomfortable at first with this position and movement, but give yourself all the assistance you need by using your arms as you go down as far as possible, deeper with each try to the best of your ability. Experiment until you find the foot position that works best for you. Then gradually you will be able to let yourself down all the way, then rise up straight.

    As you get stronger you will need less support until it will just be there for your balance. You will be surprised how fast you improve.

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    Thanks for the replies, everyone. I can squat, but I just can't go much deeper than a 90-degree angle (thighs more or less parallel to the ground). I think you all may be right that it's more a muscle flexibility issue than a knee one. I do sit down most of the work day - will keep that in mind and try to stand and stretch more.

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    It has taken me months to comfortably "rest" in a deep squat position without balance assistance and/or discomfort in my hip flexors, below/behind my knees. I'm glad i spent a lot of time on this as squats improved greatly. I suggest forcing the issue as much as possible without, well you know.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cherylg28 View Post
    I don't remember ever being able to sit on my heels.
    We expats call that the "Korean squat" here in Seoul. The locals can squat on their heels while smoking a cigarette on the streetcorner. They have some sort of genetic adaptation, or a lot of yoga.

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    mobilitywod.com

    can you lift your knee higher than your belt line? If so, it's probably an ankle mobility problem and not a hip mobility problem.

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