“Grok serves as our primal exemplar, a figurative model for evolutionarily tried and true lifestyle behaviors: diet, exercise, sleep, stress, etc.” – Mark Sisson, Author
I had been sitting at my desk staring at my computer for a while and decided to do a little stretching. I dropped down in a squatting position (the Grok Squat or Indigenous People’s Stretch) and stayed there for a minute. While I was squatting, Uncle Butt, my much older yet well respected cube neighbor at work who prefers to keep his professional name anonymous as he is avoiding fame :-), peeked in and said “What are you doing?!” As I maintained my most perfect Grok squat stretch, I went on to explain…
Mark Sisson, a driving force of the Primal/Paleo movement, describes Grok as a Paleolithic man “Born before the dawn of agriculture, he lives the life of a forager – hunting game and gathering all manner of roots, shoots, seeds and fruits for both himself and his family/small band. He’s perhaps 30 years old, on the upper end of life expectancy in his day, but he has the remarkable health to live far beyond that if he can avoid the traps of his time: accidents, predators, illness.”
The Grok squat stretch is how Paleolithic people and modern-day Indigenous people relax – they don’t have the “luxury” of sofas, beds or chairs. This stance is great for mobility. It strengthens and stretches the lower back, the core, the quads, achilles, knees, hamstrings – well, the entire lower body.
It’s important to get up and stretch or move throughout the day. Extended sitting has been linked to an increased risk in obesity, diabetes, heart disease, a variety of cancers and even early death, regardless of how much exercise a sitter gets (“active couch potato.”) Sitting is one of the most passive things you can do.
I actually like to do the Grok squat a couple times throughout the day. It’s a great way to get me out of my seat if I’m at my desk.
I found it interesting that my daughter naturally rests like this. It was so simple for her to do the Grok squat and stay there as I would struggle to do it for just a minute.
Uncle Butt rolled his eyes and his butt back to his desk.
Here’s how to do a proper squat per Mark Sisson –
- Stand with a comfortable stance. Most will prefer their feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart with toes turned out at a slight angle.
- Lower yourself by reaching back with your butt while maintaining a strong lower back. Keep your knees aligned with your toes and your toes on the ground.
- Chest up, upper back tight, eyes looking forward and slightly down, head in a neutral position. Maintain a nice cohesive line along your spine.
- Go just below parallel, so that your butt drops below your knees.
- Come back up by pushing through the heel.
If you want to turn it into a stretch, remain in the squatted position and put your elbows inside your knees. Try to get your shoulders to your knees but don’t touch the floor. Get as low as you can get. You can sway back and forth if it feels comfortable. Do it for a minute and then push yourself back up through your heels, but don’t use your arms to assist.
Things to Remember
- Don’t let your knees bow inward, or risk potential injury. Think of actively shoving your knees outward on the descent so that they track over your toes.
- To visualize driving through the heel, try lifting your toes off the ground the first time.
Thirty seconds or so of the Grok squat stretch is also a great way to prime the pump for your squat workout.
Watch this short video of me and my son demonstrating the stretch. He’s much better than me.
TAKEAWAY: Get out of your seat every 30 minutes and do a little stretch – the Grok squat stretch perhaps.
7 DAY CHALLENGE: Try to do the Grok squat stretch for one minute every day.
QUESTION: What’s your favorite stretch after sitting for a while?
Thanks for taking the time to read this. Now, I want to learn from you – share your questions, thoughts and stories!