The squat is an essential, primal and fundamental movement. As babies and small children we are masters of the squat right up until the adults put us in chairs for hours on end in this thing called a school. Within a year or two, our ability to squat has been erased. This is unfortunate because if you look at the third world, humans are designed to squat until death.
As a matter of fact, humans use the squat as a rest position. We are primates and primates rarely sit but they squat constantly. This then brings us to the unfortunate world of doctors and “fitness professionals” who still insist that squatting is bad for you.
Makes me want to bang my head against a wall but there is a small kernel of truth to their assertions. That is the fact that most of us don’t have what it takes to squat safely anymore. What makes me want to punch these lazy jerks is the fact that their professional advice is to avoid the activity altogether. That of course only hastens our physical degeneration! Why do we keep allowing these people to be heard?
The proper approach is to teach people how to regain their ability to squat. That is what this little mini-series of tips is going to be about and this is part one. Part one consists of two key steps:
- Forget everything you think you know about squats and squatting.
- Now that you are operating from a blank slate, regain your ankle flexibility.
This issue of ankle flexibility is very near and dear to me. I dislocated my left ankle years ago doing combatives. The road back has been brutal and squatting is something I simply could not do for many years. The reason was that my left ankle was locked up and I simply could not free it enough to squat properly.
Fortunately, Dr. Grove Higgins gave me some neurological drills that helped a great deal. But it wasn’t until I started researching all of the muscles in the lower leg that I found the culprit!
The bastard even has a name: Flexor Hallicus Longus or FHL for short. In my subsequent experience, I have found that FHL is the primary culprit in restricting the range of motion in the ankle. It’s well positioned to do that!
Since this little discovery, I have yet to find a person who doesn’t benefit dramatically from stretching the FHL. Remember, muscle length adjusts to what we do consistently and Western societies sit more than they do anything else. In the video below I will show you a way to test your ankle range of motion and how to stretch the FHL.
Tell us how it worked for you on social media!