The Deep Knee Bend is an excellent, endlessly useful movement for balancing technique and stability.

The deep knee bend is a very common and convenient position. It is used to rest, observe, pick something up, look for animal tracks, etc. As a movement, it allows an easy and quick transition to ground positions, such as kneeling and squatting. Because the feet don’t come flat on the ground, it is not as stable as a deep squat, and can’t be held as long due to fatigue. However, it allows a quicker transition to and from standing.

Here’s a demonstration of the Deep Knee Bend…

From a functional standpoint, the deep knee bend is excellent especially at improving or maintaining feet and ankle mobility and stability. Even though we consider it a walking movement variation, it can be seen as a balancing exercise, even when holding the position on the ground, because you are supporting all your body weight on small points and base of support (the ball of your feet and the space between them).

The feet and ankles must be in the right position and stable, a position which strengthens them dramatically over time. If you are not used to it yet, you will feel the “burn” very quickly, and your balance and ability to relax will be quite challenged!

When you’ve developed the ability to hold the position at least a minute on the floor or ground, you can add a level of complexity and difficulty by practicing the balancing deep knee bend, or with some of the other ideas below.

deepknee1
How to Perform the Deep Knee Bend

From a standing position, bend your knees and start lowering your center of gravity while maintaining a tall posture. Lower yourself slowly so you can better control your position on the way down. Bend your feet, keep your heels up and off the ground, and shift all your bodyweight to the ball of your feet until your knees are fully bent.

deepknee2

You should end up in the deep knee bend, well balanced, feet and ankles stable, straight back, ample and relaxed breathing, and relaxed arms.

deepknee3
If you’ve lost balance, lean forward and use your hands or tips of your fingers to assist. From there, you can gently push yourself back to the Deep Knee Bend, and again use your hands or fingers for assistance whenever you need it.

deepknee4Birds do it together. So can human beings!

deepknee1
How to Perform the Balanced Deep Knee Bend

deepknee5
Jessika is assuming the balancing tiptoe standing position. She’s in control of her position and balance.

deepknee6
She slowly lowers herself, maintaining that balance. She’s mindfully focusing on her whole position from head to toes, especially the position of her feet on the beam, and the stability of the feet and ankles.

deepknee7
Jessika is holding the Balancing Deep Knee Bend stance, well-aligned, relaxed and breathing. It is so effortless she is smiling!

Next Steps

Before practicing the Balancing Deep Knee Bend, make sure that your ground level position has become easy for you.

You can also transition to practicing the deep knee bend on a rounded rock, or uneven ground, or inclined/declined surface.

Other good ways to practice include alternating between a dynamic deep knee bend from standing and back up to standing, a slow or very slow deep knee bend from standing and back up to standing, or going down slowly and back dynamically or the other way around.

You can also add weight…

You can walk forward…

Or, you can shuffle sideways…

The goal is to be skilled at the position and basic transitions regardless of your speed.

So, after you’ve mastered the Deep Knee Bend position on the ground, start the Balancing Deep Knee Bend on a simple 2×4 board, which serves as a flat, stable, and barely elevated surface.

Eventually, you should work up to practicing on rounded, elevated, narrower, and even unstable surfaces, such as those found in nature. Just keep it safe by keeping it progressive, as always.

Related Posts

Note: This article contains material from Erwan Le Corre’s book, The Practice of Natural Movement.

leaf_divide

Want Some Help with Natural Movement Training?

If you’d like to ramp up your movement skills, join us for a MovNat Level 1 Certification or a MovNat Workshop. We hold events all around the world. Or, find a MovNat Certified Trainer or Gym in your area. We also offer MovNat Online Coaching as an alternative to live instruction.

Most people know that they should be more physically active. Some even recognize the incredible value in a system like MovNat. But they struggle with actually implementing natural movement into their daily lives. That’s why we work closely with people from all walks of life to help them move better, get healthier and stronger, and discover their true potential with natural movement fitness. It’s also why we work extensively with health and fitness professionals who understand the value of this new paradigm and are eager to start implementing it with their clients.

So, if you’re ready to take your movement practice to the next level, this is your chance. Please join our community and check out an event near you soon.

Click Here to Learn More About the
MovNat Certification Program

 

2 Responses to “How to Perform The Deep Knee Bend”

  1. Thijmen van Kooten

    I still can’t manage a deep squat, but i can do this easily…

    Reply
  2. Nora

    Hi, I have always hated sitting in a “normal” seated position (in a chair at a 90* angle, feet on the floor). It feels I’m always unable to avoid pulling at least one leg up eventually. Lately, working from home, however, I’ve found myself sitting on my knees or having them fully bent (calf fully pressed into hamstring) against my desk or other surface and my knees hurt after hours of this. There is just a dull pain in the knee and a weird sensation a few inches above the knee. I am concerned that I’m hurting them, but maybe they’re just being stretched? It only hurts if I have been seated like this for more than an hour or so.
    Also, whenever I sit on a stool, completely unconsciously, I always end up standing with my feet on the stool in a deep knee squat position. With my knees splayed out so I can reach forward to my computer, I have literally written essays while in deep knee squat, balancing on my toes, on a stool. This clearly is not normal, but generally is comfortable to me for whatever reason (I also have adhd). But I am wondering if it’s damaging my legs and can’t find any resources about this.

    Reply

Leave a Reply