Squat depth and not shitting on yourself
In all of my workout programs, I make sure there is a focus on functionality. Now, “functional” is a word that gets thrown around a little too much in the fitness industry, but for the sake of this discussion, let’s define it in an exercise context as any movement that is practical and mechanically logical.
Working off that definition, some examples of functional activities and their practical applications include dead lifts and picking things up, farmers walks and carrying things, and squats and not shitting on yourself.
Now, the most widely accepted reason for squatting is gaining the ability to get out of a chair without using your hands. I’d argue that is far less crucial than the ability to not shit on yourself.
If you’re thinking, “But wait! My toilet is basically a glorified chair, and I never shit on myself!” I’m getting there.
Imagine you are taking a walk in a prairie or a desert, and suddenly you feel a rumble in your tummy. Nature is calling and she didn’t allow a lot of time between her call and her arrival. Faced with two options, you have to make a decision: am I going to go into a deep squat, poop, and maybe use my sock for toilet paper, or am I going to shit on myself?
Most people would choose the former, but to each their own.
If you choose the deep squat, your odds of staying clean are better especially if it’s not the first one you’ve attempted since kindergarten. So let’s practice, and learn how to squat correctly.
That is proper squat form, but in order to defecate you are going to have to go a little deeper than seen in the video.
There is a lot of controversy about how deep a person should squat, and I think the major controversy is around the context of the squat.
If you are a trying to lift very heavy things, I recommend squatting as deep as you are capable of while maintaining a neutral lumbar spine.
If you are squatting with no weights or light weight, I’d suggest squatting a bit lower until your butt “winks.” In other words, squat until your hips turn down. Fight the butt wink as long as possible, and soon you’ll have some newfound mobility in your hips and thoracic spine.
Lastly, if you are squatting to do your business, you need to go low. I’m talking baseball catcher low. If you haven’t tried this in a while, your knees are in for a surprise.
Even if you’re trying to improve your ability to maintain this position, I wouldn’t recommend repping ass-to-the-grass squats unless you are quite advanced. Instead, work slowly toward getting low with good form, the same way you would with no weight or light weight.
With all that said, if your next trip is a vision quest into the Mojave Desert and you want to be prepared for the inevitable, try getting into a deep squat and holding the position for 10 to 15 seconds before coming up. You could even use a suspension trainer or hold on to something stable to work on maintaining your posture.
Another way to prepare is to invest in a Squatty Potty. I only plug products that I personally use and that I know work, and Squatty Potty fits the bill. It is a stool that conveniently slides under your toilet so that when nature calls, you can pull it out and put your feet up to imitate a squatting position. It makes everything flow faster, easier, and increases your hip mobility. It’s a huge win.
A deep squat is an ability that every person should work toward mastering; if you haven’t, I hope you have some good friends, because you are going to need them.
Got fitness questions? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org