NINJA: Squat Stretch

A while ago, I came across this article about relaxed squatting and how it helps improve performance on squats and deadlifts.

Photo by: Funky64

This is a deep squat onto flat feet with your arms resting on your knees or between your legs.  At first, I had to hold onto the leg of a table for balance.  Eventually, I was able to squat down and keep my balance without holding on to something, but I was resting my weight on the inside of my feet.  So, I worked to distribute my weight more evenly and keep my feet flat.

To envision the proper position, just think of any group of construction workers on a smoke or coffee break in South America or Asia (places where this squat is commonly used).  They squat down, relax, talk, smoke, drink, etc.  If you still can’t picture it, you should watch this short instructional film by Daniel Hsia:

Unlike an hour of the Asian squat, sitting at a desk takes a toll on your body and your posture.  Throughout the day, I get up and stretch.  The squat stretch is a favorite, because it loosens my lower back and hips.  Try it out, stick with it (at least once a day for a month) and see if you don’t notice greater flexibility and improved leg strength.



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10 responses to “NINJA: Squat Stretch

  1. Alaskan Ninja

    To clarify — is the goal to keep the feet straight and parallel (ie, pointing straight ahead) or is the creation of a “v” OK? In trying to keep them parallel, I get a lot of tension in the muscles at the front on my shins and have greater difficulty keeping my heals down. With a “v” there are less problems. Perhaps I’m just too inflexible … OK, I know I am, but I want to make sure I’m getting this right and progressing. Definitely helps to relieve the tension in the lower back from sitting on my posterior at the office all day. My secretary thinks I’m a bit off, now.

    • stoffainkorea


      *I think the V is OK.

      *Making sure the feet are flat on the floor is the key. If you tend to roll onto the inside edge of your feet, you want to consciously press the feet down on the outside, so that they are flat. When you do this, you will feel it in your hips.


      P.S. I can’t believe that you managed to fool your secretary for this long…

      • Alaskan Ninja

        Hey! Re: PS, I might be out of shape right now, but my office ninja skills are still operating at an optimum level.

        That being said — she was probably just looking for confirmation.

    • The V is actually really great to do, because it allows you to get deeper into your squat. It opens up the hips and gets a little bit extra range of motion for those with tight hip flexors or tight hip capsules.

      I don’t know if you’re anything into CrossFit or know who Kelly Starrett is, but he gave a great series of videos on the CrossFit Journal about hip mobility, and this was one of the exercises he said to use as warmup. I’ve incorporated this, as well as a few more, hip mobility exercises into my warmup, and it’s helped immenseley as I am an incredibly inflexible person.

      Sometimes I even push my elbows into my knees and rock back and forth just to get that extra oscillation as I would do on my patients manually. Give that a try.

      • I have experimented with CrossFit on my own and worked out a couple of times at CrossFit gyms. I even subscribed to the journal (like 3 years ago now – yikes time flies).

        Their articles and videos are very informative. I encourage folks to check out their information. Meanwhile, I will be looking for the Kelly Starrett videos you recommend and rocking this stretch at work.

  2. nice “documentary” about the asian squat

  3. What is kinda fun is sitting like this but with your feet on a chair, I like to grab the desk as an anchor to swivel the chair back and forth.

    This one guy called ‘L’ in the death note anime (great kicker) sits like that.

  4. Sowah Odamtten

    Am a physiotherapist and i need more guidelines about loss of belly,reduce lower back pain etc.

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