Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Ido Portal's 30/30 squat challenge

I took this up on a whim, perhaps out of boredom and a certain lack of goals since I took a break from online university courses.

Described pretty much completely in this image:

I didn't feel I had any major issues with this posture, though my ankles are a bit stiff, I had one knee arthroscopy about eight years ago and the other one is a slightly dodgy. I used to be able to do pistols (one leg squats), even after the knee op, and I'd like to think I could get them back, this regime maye marking a step along the way. Then again, I used to be able to do standing backflips too, at 59, but I think those are probably a thing of the past now. I'm 61, give me a break.

Ido Portal is known as a "Movement Guru", and has featured on the London Real podcast a couple of times. He also spent some time training UFC champion Conor McGregor, most notably before the latter's loss by submission to Nate Diaz. Nate had some unkind, though extremely funny, things to say about both Conor and Ido before that fight.

(Conor won the rematch on points. It was a great match and fairly close.)

It's hard to work out exactly what Ido's overarching approach is, and at  a reported $1800 per person per seminar you'd have to be keener than I am to find out. That's about ten times as much at least as what my favourite trainer of all time, Steve Maxwell, charges. There are quite a few Youtube videos of Ido's stuff which give a reasonable idea of what he does, and there's no doubt that if you could do all the stuff he can, you'd be a specimen. Though how sustainable it would be into your sixties and beyond is another question.

Good for Jiu Jitsu? Or MMA? Opinions vary. A podcast I listened to with Steve Maxwell had it that motor learning is highly specific ... getting good at a wide range of "generic" movements doesn't necessarily translate into getting good at any of the particular movement patterns you use in Jiu Jitsu. We already have a huge and wide variety of movements to train in any martial art as it is, and adding extra ones doesn't necessarily make us better at the ones we already have to learn.

Opinions on the squat challenge Facebook group vary from the "life changing and affirming", with little info on exactly how, to the "Meh."

I am somewhere in the middle, though probably closer to the latter camp. I have always been pretty active and have done a fair amount of flexibility work. I have a lower back issue for which I received some very good treatment (physiotherapy) in my late thirties which for me really was "life changing". I've always been conscious of the need for constant maintenance regarding my posture and flexibility for that reason.


I could get pretty low in a flat footed squat straight away. I may have got slightly lower, shoulders between my knees, over the thirty days, but it's difficult to quantify.

It's supposed to help your digestion and elimination. I think it did, though squatting low on a full stomach is not a good idea. Hard to quantify.

My knees felt a bit creaky at the start but I quickly adjusted. It's debatable whether this was mental or physical. After 30 days I definitely feel more confident that my patellas (patella? Plural?) aren't suddenly going to be fired off into space when my knee ligaments reach breaking point. I feel I could go back to doing one legged squats with a bit more preparation and persistence. And, yes, patience.

I can stay in the position for maybe three minutes without everything starting to ache or feel like it's falling asleep. People claim they got to the point where squatting deep is more comfortable than standing, but not me. I watched a show about Chinese migrant workers' kids who got left for years with grandparents or in institutions with no contact from their parents. Quite sad. One of the grannies there was always hanging around in a deep squat. Maybe you have to to start as a kid.

You can either turn your feet out wide, which allows your hips to sink deep but puts rotational pressure on your ankles, or have then turned in a bit more in which case flexibility in the ankles, calves and achilles tendons become the limiting factor. Some people can just about put their butts on the ground (I can't, but from the photos it doesn't look like Ido can either, ha ha).

It's supposed to loosen up your hips. Truth be told, for the first couple of weeks my hips had never felt tighter! Worked through it with hip flexor stretches. The muscles around my hips did start to relax towards the end, though it was hardly any sort of quantum leap.

My hips would ache in bed at night, more if I lay on my sides than flat on my back. This was slightly disruptive to my sleep. Truth be told, intensive leg stretching has similar results. Probably related to my lower back issues. Still, I'll be glad to see the back (no pun intended) of that.

This isn't an ability I want to lose as I get older, so I'll keep up the practice. It certainly didn't hurt; But more than a few minutes a day seems like overkill.

I might try this as well:

Ido Portal 2.0 squat challenge

The man bun is a definite no.

On balance, I think this is something to work towards if you can't squat properly, not something you need to do if you already have reasonable movement capability.

Glad I tried it, even more glad to see the back of it

1 comment:

John said...

30 minutes sounds like work! Good to see you taking what is useful and making it your own ;)