Asian Squat: What Is It? What’s The Hype? Can You Do It?

The Asian Squat seems to be something that’s becoming rather popular in the world of weight lifting lately.

In fact, you may have even seen people in Asian countries doing this exact move.

Perhaps you have a couple of friends that have visited an Asian Country, then have come back to recount their tales of seeing the locals squatting pretty much on command around the country.

Asian Squat

With that in mind, you may be wondering what this move actually is.

Well, in essence it is a very deep squat and it tends to be done by residents of Asian countries.

It may seem a little bizarre to a Westerner, but there are both cultural and practical reasons for this.

Namely, a lot of people in Asian countries are taught from a young age to rest in that position.

It is also used as an alternative to sitting or standing. Not only that, but Asian public restrooms don’t tend to have traditional toilets.

Instead, they have pans, meaning that people need to squat in order to use them.

This is because it isn’t seen to be as clean to sit on a toilet, so the squat is used for the sake of hygiene. 

Now that you know what it is, we’re going to explain everything that you could possibly want to know about the Asian squat.

We’ll cover the things that make it challenging, and if you can do it. 

The Big Phenomenon – The Asian Squat. What Is It?

As we’ve briefly mentioned, a lot of people from Asian countries would generally opt for squatting rather than standing.

It’s popular for resting, rather than sitting down, leaning or lying on a surface.

This isn’t all, either. Many people in Asian countries will also squat when they are completing general household tasks.

For instance, they may squat when they are eating, or smoking.

They may do it when they are doing chores like laundry or reading. Some may even wait for the bus while in an Asian squat! 

Notably, a lot of Asian households will hand wash their laundry, so they will do the Asian squat to keep them comfortable.

Eating is often done while squatting too, regardless of the size of the meal.

They may also squat while gardening, since it’s a lot more comfortable than bending awkwardly in order to do the thing that they need to do.

As we touched upon previously, toilets aren’t super common in some sections of Asian countries.

It is considered to be cleaner to squat over pans than it is for your skin to be in contact with a toilet seat.

You will need to squat over the pan if you need to use the bathroom.

It’s especially common in public bathrooms. Of course, some households in places like cities do have toilets, but in the countryside, toilets aren’t as common.

This is a key difference between bathrooms in Eastern and Western countries.

You will usually find that a lot of Western tourists are a little shocked when they see the Asian squat in person.

You should give it a try every once in a while though – it’s pretty comfortable! With that in mind…

How Do You Do The Asian Squat?

Okay, so you’ve decided that you want to give the Asian Squat a try. How do you do it?

Well, in general it consists of sitting with the hips in the middle of the ankles.

To do the movement, you need to have good mobility in your hips, knee mobility and ankles. 

Here’s what you need to do in order to do the Asian Squat.

First of all, stand with your feet a little wider apart than your shoulders. Then, push your toes out away from your body a little.

Start to bend the knees then and lower yourself down.

Asian Squat: What Is It? What's The Hype? Can You Do It?

It’s important to ensure that your bodyweight is positioned over the midline of your foot – the last thing that you want to be doing is rocking back and forth.

Try to make the squat as deep as you possibly can, ensuring that the torso is positioned in an upright way.

Your heels should be planted firmly on the ground. When you have done this, rest the arms onto the knees and stay in the position for just a couple of minutes.

You’ll notice that the muscles begin to relax with time.

Why Is This Move So Difficult?

For a lot of people the Asian squat is fairly simple to do.

For others though the move can be a lot harder to do, for instance if you aren’t able to position yourself low enough or if you don’t have a great deal of energy to hold yourself in a certain position for a long period of time.

It’s worth seeing if you have one of the issues listed below if you are struggling to do the Asian Squat.

  • Your limb proportions aren’t right for the move

Sometimes, our bodies are the thing stopping us from doing certain movements.

In this case, having limbs of a certain length can make the Asian squat much more difficult.

It’s worth noting that your body is in little segments, based on your bones and their lengths in between the joints in your body.

In your leg for instance, you have the upper and the lower leg, and this is broken into smaller muscles too.

Your lower leg contains the tibia, and this is the space existing in between the knee and the ankle.

On the other hand, you have the fibula in the upper leg, consisting of the distance from your hip to your knee.

Having certain proportions in your body can often determine how easy you will find it to do the Asian Squat.

For instance, if your femur in your upper thigh is very long and this is contrasted with a short tibia in the lower leg, you may find it hard to do the Asian squat.

Likewise, if your legs are very long and your torso is quite short then you may find it challenging to do the Asian squat too.

Now, if these proportions sound like your own then don’t worry – the chances are that you can still do the Asian squat.

It may just mean that it’s a lot harder to do, and you may need to lean more with the torso than you would if you didn’t have these proportions.

  • Your mobility isn’t sufficient for the movement

Perhaps the biggest issue when it comes to doing the Asian squat is that if you don’t have enough mobility, you are going to struggle with performing the movement.

You are going to need to have a decent amount of mobility in your ankles and your hips if you are going to correctly perform this movement.

In fact, there have even been studies to suggest that having good ankle mobility can have a big impact on whether or not you can effectively perform a deep squat.

There are some people that struggle with their mobility in the Asian squat because their body isn’t really built for it, as mentioned above, but everyone will have a level of mobility that they can dramatically improve if they train enough for it.

Here’s the main issue, though. The vast majority of people have no need to work on their mobility.

We don’t move nearly as much as we used to as a society. Instead of carrying bags around all day and working on farms, most of us simply drive from one place to another, sit on a desk to work and then sit on the couch to watch TV when the day is done.

There’s simply no need to improve the mobility of the ankles.

On the other hand though, children are brought up being taught how to do the Asian squat for various things in their life.

As such, their ankle mobility is usually very strong from a young age since the Asian squat is so pivotal to their lifestyle.

They remain very mobile throughout their lives as a result, so the Asian squat is simple. 

  • Not Enough Practice

In some situations you may have the mobility to squat to the right depth and get into position, but you just might not be able to hold the position for very long.

This ultimately comes down to stamina and it’s a simple fix – you just need to practice the Asian squat a little more in order to get that energy that you need.

It goes without saying that it will take time and sufficient practice for your muscles to have the flexibility to make the movement natural for you.

Once you are then squatting in the right depth, you are going to have to get to the point where you can relax in position instead of feeling strain.

It can take some time to get your muscles used to this.

Ideally, it’s best to practice the Asian squat in a few sets for around 60 seconds of holding each day.

After a couple of weeks, it will get a lot easier for you to hold the position.

Is It Possible for You To Do The Asian Squat?

So, you may be wondering if it’s possible for you to actually do the Asian squat.

As it so happens,you can train yourself to squat deeply.

It’s worth really highlighting that there are things that will influence how easy or hard you find it though, such as the way your body is built and the amount of mobility you have. 

In fact, one interesting fact is that some studies have illustrated that certain Asian countries have much smaller proportions in their limbs in comparison to other parts of the world.

Certain people will find the Asian squat much easier, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t practice it and do it too.

If you would like to do the Asian squat or you would like to start doing deep squats, you’re going to need to work to your body’s strengths.

If your limbs are shorter, you may have an upright torso – you should work that to your advantage.

You don’t need to worry about whether your posture is exactly the same as someone else’s.

You just need to have some practice at lowering the hips and maintaining your body weight above the midline of the foot. 

When doing the movement, make sure that you are keeping the feet positioned firmly on the floor.

You are going to need to try to loosen the calf muscles a bit in order to do this, and really focus on improving the mobility in your ankles. You can do a few exercises to help with this. For instance:

  • Banded Ankle Dislocation
  • Single Downward dog
  • Soft tissue calf release

Why Should I Do The Asian Squat?

In reality, there are a number of great benefits to doing the Asian squat. For instance:

  • You can work on the engagement of your core muscles. It’s important for keeping your posture upright while doing the squat.
  • It will work a number of key muscles in the lower body. For instance, it works the calves, glutes, quads and the hamstrings. Not to mention that it also works at your core.
  • It’s great for making you more aware of your body. This is critical for your general wellbeing, as it helps you to control your limbs much better.
  • It’s good for pregnant women in labor. 
  • It can help to open your colon more if you are doing them while going to the toilet.

Final Thoughts

There are a number of reasons why Asian squats are popular in Asian countries – it’s practical and has cultural relevance.

It can also be good for you too though, so it’s worth learning how to do it, especially if you want to visit an Asian country!