Squat-Holds (a.k.a Hunter/Gatherer Squats) are a golden bullet when it comes to hip mobility pathologies. If you can do them properly, a 30-60sec squat-hold will strengthen your glutes and other abductors; stretch your adductors; stretch your hamstrings & calves; and mobilise the sacroiliac joint (SIJ)
30-60sec might sound like a short time, and a squat-hold might look easy, but it will probably take you several weeks to be able to hold that position comfortably .Nevertheless, it will be several weeks well spent!
This is my guide on learning how to do a good squat-hold.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes turned out about 30-degrees, and your shoulders and hips square. Don't use a weight until you've perfected your form using bodyweight only.
If this is the first time you're attempting a squat-hold, do it in front of a mirror so that you can see what you're doing.
Keeping your back straight, slowly lower your bum as close as possible to the ground, without lifting your heels off the ground. As you squat, your knees should track forwards and outwards, in-line with the middle of your feet.
When you reach the bottom on your squat, your elbows should be resting on the Vastus Medialis muscles on the inside of your knee.
Stay in that position!
Start a stop-watch so you can time yourself. If it's your first time trying a squat-hold, don't set a time goal - just go as long as you can (probably about 10sec.)
As you're holding the squatting position, squeeze your bum to strengthen your glutes, and push your knees outwards with your elbows to stretch the adductor muscles.
You might find it difficult to balance the first few times you try this exercise. Try grabbing on to a step or the wall while you're holding the squat, but DO NOT lift your heels off the ground.
After you've held the squat for as long as you can hold it, relax your arms to release the pressure from your knees/adductor, but keep your bum squeezed.
Stand up slowly, making sure to keep your heels on the ground throughout the movement. Relax your glutes once you're fully standing again.
Repeat the squat-hold 2-3 times, once per day and after any legs/back/core exercise.
If you can manage to perfect the squat-hold, and do them regularly, your hips and lower back will be in the best possible shape to do sport, to go to the gym, or just to stand-up against the natural forces of ageing.
If you start finding squat-holds easy, add resistance to the squat with a kettlebell or dumbbell.
If you want more information on squats, email me directly via the contact page
Dr Mitch Clark