For quite some time, we’ve been shown what some people think good health looks like. Whether you’re looking at a magazine, watching TV, or scrolling through any form of social media, you’re likely shown perfectly slim, toned bodies. Health and body image are often viewed as one; however, those with a thin body aren’t always healthy, and those holding onto a few extra pounds aren’t necessarily unhealthy either. It isn’t just about size and shape. While health really is multi-faceted, there are certain physical markers we can look at as some good indicators. One of those markers is the ability to perform deep bodyweight squats (DBS).
To get a little more understanding of the deep bodyweight squat along with its benefits you need to understand where the term came from and why. DBS is a more politically correct form of what many refer to as the “third world squat”. A “third world squat” is the position you’re in at the bottom of a full body squat with your bottom resting comfortably on your calves. If you have a small child or toddler, they often hold this position when they’re picking up a toy, or playing in the floor. It received its name from the fact that in many less fortunate countries, you will often see those of many ages sitting like this for hours at a time. This may be for the comfortability of the position or it may be from the lack of seating in many areas.
So, how does one’s ability to perform a DBS regularly say anything about their health? Not only does it improve your mobility as well as flexibility, but getting in this position can show any issues in mobility and flexibility and help pin point possible causes. The most important aspect of practicing the DBS is making sure you’re using proper form. If you aren’t, you’re training your body to move in a dysfunctional manner. So, here’s how to properly complete a deep bodyweight squat:
1) Set your feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart, while they’re pointing straight forward.
2) Keep your heels on the ground, and the weight distributed over the arch. You want to make sure the weight is distributed evenly.
3) Lower your body and keep your spine in a neutral position.
4) Continue all the way down until your bottom touches your calves or just hovers just above the ground.
5) Hold this position for 20-30 seconds, then push up to slowly return to standing.
Make sure when dropping into the squat that your knees aren’t moving forward, and your back isn’t arching. Keep your knees over your pinky toes. Try to hold your back straight and steady throughout the entire squat. The main point to remember is you want to make sure your body goes well past parallel and that you hold this position for a short period of time, whatever feels comfortable for you.
Remember, while many make this position look easy, if you’re not used to it, it may take some time to get comfortable moving in and out of it, as well as holding it for a period of time. A DBS is supposed to be comfortable when completed correctly, so pay close attention to your form, and at what point if any you feel uncomfortable. It may show you a few underlying mobility issues you didn’t realize you had. You may also consider having a chair or something else nearby to help you balance as you move into and out of the DBS.
While DBS isn’t a position many of us are used to holding for a long period of time, it is a position that can teach us quite a bit about our body and train it to be more mobile. Try performing a DBS and see what you’re able to accomplish. Don’t worry if you’re not able to right away, just practice and work your way up to it. Trust me, you will be able to tell a difference in your mobility and flexibility.