by Matt Weik, BS, CSCS, CPT, CSN
If you’re Asian, there is a high probability that you have performed an Asian squat at least once or multiple times in your life. And no, I don’t need some cultural training like I’m trying to be mean with that statement. The fact of the matter is, the Asian squat is an amazing exercise and something you should include in your workouts.
This form of a deep squat has a strong cultural link with many Asian countries (hence the name). It has been used for thousands of years in Asian regions and has become an important part of their culture.
All that being said, it seems to be a relatively simple exercise that has been growing quite popular around the world. While it is considered simple to most of the Asian community, Western countries have realized that they are unable to hold such a deep squat. But now that people are starting to acknowledge the benefits of the Asian squat, more people are doing it.
In this article, we will dive deeper into everything you need to know about the Asian squat, its benefits, and how you can master this trending exercise.
What is an Asian Squat?
The Asian squat is a very basic but highly effective exercise that can help build strength in the lower body. It’s performed by squatting down while keeping your feet flat on the floor and your back straight (similar to a traditional squat).
The Asian squat is a great way to strengthen your thighs, hips, glutes, and lower back, as well as improve balance and flexibility. While it may look simple, it’s actually quite challenging for beginners and will help you develop core strength and stability.
The best part about the Asian squat is that you don’t need any equipment or even much space to perform it properly, and you can even do it in the privacy of your home if you wish.
Here’s how you complete the Asian squat correctly:
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and toes pointing forward (or as close as possible). Make sure your knees are aligned over your ankles when you’re standing up straight. If they aren’t, adjust your posture until they are to help prevent getting injured and to use the correct form.
- Bend your knees slightly, lowering yourself into a crouching position — but make sure not to bend forward at the waist. Keep your spine straight throughout the movement so that your back doesn’t arch or round out too much while doing so (it should remain neutral). The only parts of your body that should be moving during this step are your hips and legs.
- Return to standing by pushing through the heels of both feet until you’re upright once again.
Benefits of the Asian Squat
The Asian squat has many benefits to offer as it works on improving flexibility and strength in multiple areas of your body. Here are some of the most important benefits you should be aware of:
1. Improved digestion
The Asian squat helps mostly in the elimination process of the digestive system. No, I’m not joking. Squatting helps to squeeze food through your digestive tract and get it out of the system more effectively. That’s one of the reasons why many Asian countries, to this date, use squat toilets despite the availability of modern toilet systems.
If you want a visual, think of the Squatty Potty and how it brings your knees up higher than your waist and helps you go #2. Same concept.
2. Gets your core muscle engaged
The Asian squat is great for developing strength in your legs and core. As you perform this exercise, you’ll feel it in your glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps — all of which are important muscle groups for overall fitness.
The Asian squat is a great way to get your whole body working together. It engages the core and helps you be more stable during the exercise. This is important because it teaches you how to be more stable when you are doing other exercises like deadlifts and traditional squats.
3. It helps improve your balance
The Asian squat is a great way to improve your balance, especially if you have trouble standing on one leg. It requires you to keep your center of gravity over your feet and not allow it to shift towards either side. Doing so helps strengthen your ankles, knees, and hips, as well as improve your balance.
4. Beneficial for pregnant women
For ages, women gave birth in a squatting position as it encouraged better muscle contraction and helped in the delivery process. Squatting during pregnancy can decrease pressure on the uterus and help strengthen the muscles that work during childbirth. The Asian squat teaches the pelvis to open, which can help during delivery.
5. Reduces risk of hip osteoarthritis
Hip osteoarthritis is an age-related disease that causes pain and stiffness in the joints of the hips. It can also cause limited mobility, which affects your daily activities like walking or sitting down, which may cause further damage to your joints if not treated properly. The Asian squat might help decrease the chances linked with hip osteoarthritis as it maintains a better range of motion and strengthens the hip bones.