Squats are one of those versatile moves that don’t require a trip to the gym in order to rep out on a regular basis. And since so many of us are now discovering the freedoms of working out from home, a squat challenge—specifically, a 10-minute squat test designed to test your oh-so-important mobility—seems like a pretty worthy goal to take on right here, right now.
Squats have a pretty singular reputation of working that peach (aka your glutes), but rotating between a standard squat and an assisted pistol squat—as mobility coach Kelly Starrett, PT, explains in the video—tests your hip mobility like pretty much nothing else can. All you need to get started with Starrett’s technique is some kind of pole or door frame to hold onto for stability.
As Dr. Starrett explains in the video, unilateral (or one-sided) movement like moving from a squat to a pistol variation teaches you how to conduct all your other training with stability. Why? You learn to lock your knees in place rather than letting them splay outward or inward. And this translates into any and all movement patterns, from standing up from your desk chair and lifting heavy items to the day you finally make it back to the gym’s squat rack.
The 10-minute squat test to master for better stability on the other side of lockdown
- Locate your pole, or the stable object you’re going to hold on to during your 10-minute journey. Bend your elbows at a 90-degree angle, and back up so the pole is at the same level as your fingertips.
- Bring your feet no more than hip-width apart (this is closer to a regular squat than a sumo squat).
- Grip the pole with both hands. As you sink your butt toward the floor, push your knees out so they’re still in line with your ankles, but are slightly out to the sides. You shouldn’t be able to push your knees out any farther.
- Keeping your torso upright, sweep your left leg out to the right and touch your heel down to the floor. Then, sweep it in front of you, and again, rest your heel. (More advanced squatters can keep their heels lifted throughout this movement pattern.)
- Come back to center and repeat on the opposite side. Go back and for 10 minutes, rotating between your squat, side squat, and pistol squat. As you do so, make sure you’re doing your best not to let your stabilizing knee bow out or in. Keep your hips squared to the pole.
How to do a squat the right way: