We have a challenge for you. Drop something on the floor right in front of you. Please pick a non-breakable object.
Squat down to get it by bending your knees wide until your butt is near your ankles and keep your heels on the floor.
How did it go? Chances are you laughed at us for making you try something that seems quite simple, but then maybe you had some trouble doing it. Did you lift your heels off the floor? If you did, you’re not alone.
Most of us squat by lifting our heels off the floor. However, that position is a balancing act and hard to hold for long.
The Asian squat (what you just tried to perform) is much more stable and beneficial. For those of you who have mastered the pistol squat, perhaps the Asian squat was a little easier to manage.
It makes sense as it’s the same idea of a deep squat that keeps your heels on the ground. Of course, a pistol squat involves a leg lift making it extra difficult.
Are you now inspired and wanting to perfect this deep squat? Hang tight guys. We got you.
History of the Asian Squat
So where did the Asian squat come from? Asians have used this deep squat for years.
For one, it is taught at a very young age for the purpose of being at leisure. Instead of sitting or standing, the squat is the preferred way to chill.
Another reason is some public toilets in Asia have squat pans instead of a toilet. To do your business for lack of a better term in a squat pan is thought to be more sanitary than a toilet seat.
If you are thinking, that’s gross, well maybe, but it makes sense. That deep squat position gets you a lot closer to the ground for things to land where they should. Sorry…that was the best way to describe what we mean.
For all of you ladies out there, the traditional hover done over a public toilet is not our favorite. We do it because we believe the same thing. The toilet isn’t sanitary. We should all get a squat toilet.
Being that this is an alternative to sitting, the Asian squat is common while enjoying a meal.
While the lower half of your body is bent, your torso is lifted and your forearms rest on the knees. While it might not sound the most comfortable, it actually can be.
When visiting Asian countries, one thing to note is how often you see people squatting and how they are holding the position for quite some time. Practice is all you need.
Is the Asian Deep Squat Beneficial
The benefits of the Asian squat are numerous and many people have converted to using it to enhance mobility, flexibility, and stamina.
The added benefit of gaining lower body strength makes us want to start these squats immediately.
Where are our weight lifters? Think about the proper form for grabbing that barbell and lifting it to an overhead press. You never tip from the hips, right? That puts loads of pressure on your back and can result in injury.
Instead, you bend your knees and squat to utilize the strength from your legs to pick up the weights.
In a similar way, the Asian squat effectively helps you to lift weights by reducing the amount of pressure on the lower back and spine. The lower body muscles take over the weight resulting in proper form and better leg strength.
Pregnant women also benefit from the Asian squat. When you sit in this position it improves the function of the pelvis.
Practice this squatting position and the baby will have an easier time getting through the birth canal during childbirth. We bet you didn’t know that.
Why Is the Asian Squat Hard to Master?
Well, for one thing, it’s not something that we have been doing since we were kids like many Asian cultures. In the western world, the Asian squat isn’t as popular. Remember they have been squatting since they were kids. Their bodies have acclimated to the exercise.
The fact is Asians are built for this type of squat as well. Shorter limbs and longer torsos have the advantage here.
If you found this difficult and you are a long-limbed individual, we are sorry–actually not really. You are lucky you have long legs and arms.
There had to be a drawback somewhere. Unfortunately, the Asian squat might be your kryptonite. Don’t be discouraged. You can still do it. We’ll teach you. Keep reading.
Other Reasons the Asian Squat is Difficult
If you are thinking that you have a long torso and short limbs and you still can’t do this squat, there might be other reasons. Again, don’t get discouraged.
They aren’t going to keep you from ever doing it. It’s things that you just need to address.
While you might have the correct body composition as we described above, it could be a mobility issue–specifically ankle mobility.
To perfect the Asian squat, you need plenty of mobility in your ankle. This might not be an area that you thought was that important for mobility. It’s okay. You are not alone.
You can have an excellent body composition, have great health, and perform body calisthenics exercises on the regular, yet you still struggle with this squat. Chances are you just lack mobility in your ankles.
The good news is that there are many exercises you can practice to improve your ankle mobility.
Once you have improved that, there is a good chance you will be able to do the squat and stay in that deep position for awhile.
Stamina is a huge factor when it comes to the Asian squat. Like any exercise, if you lack stamina, you won’t be able to hold a position for long periods of time.
Even if you can squat to the ground, holding it won’t happen without stamina. Remember the Asian culture had years to practice this squat so don’t get down on yourself.
Practice is the only way to improve. Get to squatting every day and you will find it gets easier and easier to hold it longer.
How do I Perform an Asian Squat?
We need to come clean.
Technically, it was unfair of us to ask you to perform an Asian squat right away because you do need to know more than “bend your knees and lower your body to the ground.”
Please accept our apology in the form of us telling you the proper technique to become an Asian squatting master.
Start with your feet about shoulder-width apart and use your toes to grip the ground. It helps to flare them out a bit to get a good feel for this. Now to squat. Bend your knees and bring your body straight down, working to keep your body weight centered.
You want to keep your torso upright to avoid falling forward or backward. The most important part–keep your heels on the floor. Resist the urge to lift your heels so that your butt sits on them.
You want your butt to rest right next to your ankles. Continue to hold that position for a few minutes if you can.
With time, practice, and improved ankle mobility, you will notice that this starts to feel like a comfortable position. Now you can understand why many Asian cultures utilize this stance rather than sitting or standing.
Ready for the Squat Challenge?
Are you ready for the squat challenge? Re-read this article while doing the Asian squat. Come on! You can do it.
You’re thinking about it now, aren’t you? You have more natural ability than you think. Keep practicing the Asian squat and then let us know how long you can last.
If it helps, check out some beginner calisthenics exercises to get your body stronger.