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MAY 20, 2024

The Resting Squat: Your Key to a Healthier, More Flexible Body

Improve back pain, increase flexibility, and maintain mobility with one simple exercise: resting squats.

Read time: 12 minutes

We sit down too much - almost all of us in fact - just sitting down too long throughout our day. Chances are, you’re probably sitting down while reading this. And the truth is, long periods of sitting down can have negative impacts on your health.

Whether it’s at a desk, in a car, or on the couch, prolonged sitting can take a toll on our bodies but there’s a simple yet highly effective way to counteract the negative effects of sitting: incorporating resting squats into your daily routine.

To get you started down this path, we’ll guide you through the benefits of resting squats, provide a step-by-step tutorial on how to perform them, and offer tips to help you ease into this beneficial practice. Sound good? Then let’s get to it.

Who Can Benefit from Resting Squats?

Resting squats are a versatile exercise that can benefit anyone, but they’re especially useful for anyone who spends much of their day sitting. If you experience lower back pain, tight hips, or general stiffness from long periods of inactivity, resting squats can provide significant relief. What's more, if you’re looking to improve your overall mobility, posture, and digestion, resting squats can be a game-changer.

The Benefits of Resting Squats

Resting squats have a whole range of benefits, making them a valuable addition to any daily routine:

Stretching Your Lower Back

Resting squats help elongate the lower back muscles, alleviating tension and reducing pain.

Maintaining Hip Mobility

Regularly performing resting squats keeps your hips flexible, which is vital for overall mobility and preventing injury.

Reducing Aches and Pains

By promoting better posture and relieving muscle tension, resting squats can help reduce the general aches and pains associated with prolonged sitting.

Improving Digestion

Because of its position, squatting can aid in digestion by promoting better alignment of the intestines and stimulating bowel movements.

But before you just drop to the floor, you should spend the proper time stretching and limbering up your body to prevent injury and ensure optimal performance.

Dynamic stretches targeting the hips, hamstrings, and calves will significantly enhance your squat technique and make the movement more comfortable. On top of that, investing in a good electric shaker bottle for your protein shakes is a smart move. Why? Well, by consuming protein shakes post- workout, you help repair and build strained muscles, promoting quicker recovery and enabling you to maintain a consistent exercise routine. Simple really. So, by combining proper stretching with effective nutrition, you'll maximize the benefits of resting squats and overall fitness.

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How to Do a Resting Squat: Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Start Standing: Begin by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Your toes can point slightly outward.
  2. Lower Your Body: Slowly bend your knees and lower your hips towards the ground, as if you’re sitting back into an imaginary chair.
  3. Keep Your Heels on the Ground: Aim to keep your heels flat on the ground. If this is difficult, try using a folded towel (more on this below).
  4. Go as Low as You Can: Lower yourself as far as your body comfortably allows, ideally until your hips are below your knees. Your thighs should be parallel to the ground, or even lower if possible.
  5. Maintain an Upright Posture: Keep your chest up and your back straight. Avoid rounding your shoulders or arching your back.
  6. Hold the Position: Stay in the resting squat position for as long as comfortable. Aim for up to 5 minutes initially, gradually increasing the duration as you build strength and flexibility.

Tips for Beginners

Building the perfect resting squat posture takes time and practice. If you’re struggling to keep your heels flat on the ground, don’t worry, we have a helpful tip: fold a towel and place it underneath your heels. This will provide some elevation and make the squat more comfortable. As your body adapts and becomes more flexible, gradually unroll the towel until you can squat flat-footed on the floor.

Consistency is key to getting good at resting squats. So start with just 2-3 minutes per day. You can do this while watching TV, during a break at work, or even while waiting for your morning coffee to brew. Over time, you can build up to the 5 minutes and you’ll notice improvements in your flexibility, posture, and overall comfort.

Other Squat Variations to Try

Once you’ve mastered the resting squat, you might want to explore other squat variations to keep your routine interesting and further enhance your strength and flexibility.

Goblet Squat

Hold a weight (say a kettlebell or dumbbell) close to your chest while performing a squat. This adds resistance and engages your upper body.

Builds strength in your legs, core, and upper body.

Split Squat

Position one foot forward and the other foot back, lowering your body into a squat position. This is also known as a Bulgarian split squat if the back foot is elevated.

Improves balance, targets the quadriceps and glutes, and enhances unilateral strength.

Sumo Squat

Stand with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart and your toes pointing outward. Perform a squat in this wider stance.

Targets the inner thighs and improves hip flexibility.

Pistol Squat

A challenging single-leg squat where one leg is extended forward while you lower your body on the other leg.

Enhances balance, coordination, and leg strength.

Jump Squat

Perform a regular squat but add an explosive jump at the end, landing softly back into the squat position.

Increases power, cardiovascular endurance, and leg strength.

Incorporating these variations into your routine can keep your workouts engaging and ensure that you continue to challenge your muscles in new ways.

The Rest Is Up To You

Resting squats are a simple but powerful exercise that can benefit anyone who spends a lot of time sitting. By incorporating just 5 minutes of resting squats into your daily routine, you can improve your flexibility, reduce pain, and enhance your overall wellbeing.

Remember to be patient with yourself as you build up to the perfect posture, and use a folded towel under your heels if needed. As you progress, explore other squat variations to keep things interesting and continue to build strength and mobility.

FAQs About Resting Squats

Q: How long should I hold a resting squat when starting out?

A: When starting, aim to hold the resting squat for about 30 seconds to one minute. Gradually increase the duration as you become more comfortable and your flexibility improves. The goal is to eventually hold the squat for up to five minutes.

Q: What should I do if I feel pain in my knees while squatting?

A: If you experience knee pain, it could be due to improper form or lack of flexibility. Ensure your knees are aligned with your toes and not caving inward. Also, engage your core and avoid leaning too far forward. If pain persists, consider consulting a physical therapist to rule out any underlying issues.

Q: Can I do resting squats if I have lower back pain?

A: Yes, but proceed with caution. Resting squats can help alleviate lower back pain by stretching and strengthening the muscles. Start slowly and focus on maintaining proper posture. If the pain worsens, stop and seek advice from a healthcare professional.

Q: How can I improve my balance while performing resting squats?

A: Improving balance takes practice. Try holding onto a stable surface, like a chair or wall, for support. Engaging your core muscles and distributing your weight evenly on both feet will also help. Over time, your balance should naturally improve.

Q: Is it normal to feel muscle soreness after doing resting squats?

A: Yes, it’s normal to feel some muscle soreness, especially if you’re new to squatting. This soreness is due to muscle fibers repairing and strengthening. To aid recovery, make sure to stretch after squatting and consider taking protein shakes to help repair muscles.

Q: Can I incorporate resting squats into my existing workout routine?

A: Absolutely! Resting squats can complement any workout routine. They can be done as a warm-up, during a break in your workout, or as part of your cool-down. The flexibility of this exercise makes it easy to integrate into various fitness plans.

Q: How can I stay motivated to practice resting squats daily?

A: Set small, achievable goals and track your progress. Celebrate milestones, like increasing your squat duration or improving your form. Additionally, pair your squatting time with something enjoyable, like listening to music or an audiobook, to make the experience more pleasant.

Q: What should I do if I struggle to keep my heels on the ground?

A: If keeping your heels on the ground is challenging, use a folded towel under your heels for support. Gradually reduce the height of the towel over time as your flexibility improves. Consistent practice will eventually allow you to squat flat-footed.

Q: Are there any specific shoes I should wear for resting squats?

A: Flat, stable shoes are best for resting squats. Avoid shoes with thick soles or high heels, as they can affect your balance and form. Barefoot squatting can also be beneficial as it allows for better ground connection and stability.

Q: How do resting squats compare to other types of squats in terms of benefits?

A: Resting squats primarily focus on flexibility and mobility, making them excellent for daily maintenance of joint health and muscle relaxation. Other squats, like goblet or jump squats, are more focused on strength and power. Incorporating a variety of squats into your routine can provide a well-rounded workout for both flexibility and strength.

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Written by Matthew Stogdon

Matt has been writing for two decades, across print and digital media. He is also an accomplished filmmaker, with several accolades under his belt.


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