When the first standing desk movement came up, I was pretty much in love. Why?
Standing at work, sometimes even walking (treadmill desks anyone?) during work – where can I sign up? But I think standing all the time isn’t optimal either and we should aim for sitting less, not standing more.
Anyone who has stood more than 5 hours (heck, beginners can’t even stand for 20min.!) knows how problematic and tiring this can be. And when you’re in pain, your performance will suffer. Also don’t forget to count in all the posture, knee and back problems a lot of people have, and just standing around won’t fix them.
So Feyyaz, what are you offering instead, you may ask? Simple, I’m offering you a solution that will not only help you work better, improve your flexibility, increase your strength but it’ll be also resting at the same time. Wonder pill? Hell yeah!
Let me introduce you to this guy:
And this woman:
And this working man:
This looks like an interesting group:
“So she says to me: That hat? Amaze-balls!”
What have these people all in common? No, not their asian heritage (what’s with the racism, yo?) .
All these people squat to rest! These people are tired of standing, and since they don’t have chairs with them (who needs chairs, anyway?), they squat to talk, wait or chill.
The problem with Western cultures however is: we lost this basic position. Most of us can’t squat down, because we have too tight hips, bad knees or no ankle mobility. Try it out for yourself. Try to squat down, without lifting your heels. Some might even be able to do it, but we can’t hold it, because it’s super tiring.
“You’re crazy, you’re recommending me something that’s even more tiring than standing!”
Hold ya horses there, buddy. It’ll get better, but only if you work at it.
Let’s face it, most of us don’t use this squatting position at all, in our adult lives (except if we have a toilet situation in a third-world country.). And you’ll automatically lose the patterns and positions you don’t use. Your body’s adaptability goes both ways of course: Do a move every day and you’ll get better at it. Don’t do it, and you’ll lose it.
Your body is a machine, trimmed for efficiency. Your muscles are lazy and your neurons are even lazier. So they are looking for every way possible to not do something. The human muscles atrophy when you’re not using them. Don’t believe me? Did you ever try not walking for one week? One month? You’ll have a hard time even standing, because your body thought you won’t stand and walk anymore!
What we try in fitness in general, is use this force for us and not against us. That’s why we lift a little heavier every week, walk a little farther, run a little faster, every time we train (at least that’s what you should do). It goes even farther than this.
Ido Portal has a concept called “movement complexity” – the idea is that once you reached a certain skill/move you can take this and dig deeper. E.g. a handstand is a basic move, a one-arm handstand is a the move more complex, so the brain (and the body) has to adapt to the complexity. Our body craves complexity, but only IF you feed it to him/her.
Which brings me back to the squat. The squat is a basic resting position we should all have in our “toolbox”.
We can use it to:
- squat with weights in order to increase our strength (and in turn use this strength for other fun stuff!)
- as a basic position in floor work (e.g. Locomotion - every middle position is a squat!)
- simply to play with our children!
Once you “have” the squat, it’s not tiring anymore. Oh and it’s way healthier for your digestive system
Without going into the details too much, sitting forces you to press more to handle your toilet business, opening up a lot of nasty consequences for your GI health. Trust me, you don’t want to fuck around with your GI (I call mine GI Joe for a reason).
“But squatting is so difficult and tiring”
I feel ya, this is why I’ll suggest a solution today. I counter the standing desk movement, by introducing you to the 30/30 Squat Challenge.
Introduced by the great Ido Portal, the idea is to squat for 30min. every days for 30 consecutive days. This will fix your squat and open up a new world for you. The idea is to start a stop watch as soon as you squat and stop when you stand back up. Try to get 30min. in 30 days and your squat, your GI health, even your posture, will improve!
Your squat won’t be perfect, you might not able to go all the way down, or keep a straight back, and that’s ok. The idea is that you gain back a basic position of your body and be as cute as this girl:
Work while squatting
The squat is also a great position to work in. Screw chairs and expensive standing desks, get yourself a “LACK” from IKEA and get working, be awesome like these folks:
(taken from here)
Or this fit gal:
Or this strong woman:
Squatting while working will increase your awesomeness by about 43%*
So what are you waiting for, it’s time to squat, people!
Oh and also squat while waiting for the food:
Still here? Not convinced yet? You need the Asian squat video: