The 10-minute squat problem
This squat challenge is not about accumulating reps or getting a maximum of one rep, although you will see improvement in these areas. It's about improving your general squatting mechanics so that you can lift more weight more efficiently and get faster gains.
Your body moves along links in a chain, but when one link is kinked, the rest of the chain suffers. For example, during a squat, tight ankles push your knees back over your heels and pull your torso forward as a counterweight. This pulls the movement from the rear chain (hamstrings and glutes) into the quads, the weaker link when it comes to squats. Finding and maintaining the correct squat position means freer movement, a stronger squat, and a reduced chance of injury and movement disorders.
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Take the squat challenge
The goal of this challenge is to sit on the floor of a squat for a total of 10 minutes without assistance. Sounds like a long time? In order to improve squat mobility and reverse the negative effects of long hours of sitting, you must be able to spend significant amounts of time in this highly functional and natural position.
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Your ultimate goal is to get into the squat and stay in position there for the duration of the time. You should keep an erect torso with your toes pointing forward, feet about hip-width apart, your feet flat on the floor with most of your weight in your heels, and your knees should stay in line with your toes.
Ten minutes may not be possible at first. So start with five one-minute breaks with a one-minute break in between or ten rounds with a 30-second break alternating with a 30-second break. Gradually increase the work intervals and decrease the rest to work up to the full 10 minutes. After mastering, you can do your 10-minute squat hold pre-workout or post-workout as often as possible.
But first these routes
Before starting your challenge, spend a minute on each of these stretches to prepare your body for the exertion ahead.
This stretch targets the adductors and inner groin so you can take a flat squat position.
Get into a table position with your elbows under your shoulders, forearms flat on the floor, and knees under your hips. Push your knees as far apart as you can, keeping the inside edges of your feet flat on the floor, and pulling your hips back slightly to align with your knees. Hold and breathe. As your muscles lengthen, you sink deeper into the stretch.
High Lizard Lungs
This elongates the hip flexors and hamstrings, which allows your torso to be pulled forward and out of position while tight.
Get a push-up position with your hands under your shoulders and your head, hips and heels aligned. Bring your right foot outside of your right hand and press your right knee into your right shoulder while keeping your back leg strong and straight. Lengthen your spine by pulling and holding your chest up and forward, or dropping it onto your forearms if mobility allows.
Do a minute on each side.
Forward fold with crossed legs
This stretch opens your hips like the frog and straightens your lower and upper back for improved depth and core position.
Sit with your legs crossed and your knees over your ankles. Step forward with your hands, fold your hips, and push your sit bones down as you reach forward. Relax your spine and let your head drop.
Tight hamstrings can tilt your pelvis back, making it difficult to keep your spine long and your torso upright.
Start in a low lunge with your left knee down and your right knee bent. Place your hands on the floor on either side of your right foot, then straighten your right leg, flex your foot, and draw your toes toward your shin. Pull your chest forward and down toward your foot. Repeat on both sides.