Mastering the Asian Squat: A Comprehensive Tutorial

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The Asian squat, often referred to as the “deep squat”, has gained attention for its cultural significance and potential health benefits. This unique squatting posture involves resting in a deep squat position with the heels flat on the ground. 

It is commonly observed in many Asian countries, where people use it as a natural resting position. This requires a high level of ankle mobility, and believe it or not, Asians developed this level of flexibility by using squatting toilets.

In this tutorial, we’ll delve into what Asian squats are, the muscles they engage in, their difficulty levels, and step-by-step guidance on how to perform them. Additionally, we’ll explore the benefits of Asian squats, compare them with the Slav squat, and provide key takeaways.

What Are Asian Squats?

An Asian squat is a deep squatting position with your feet flat on the ground and your heels down. It’s a common sight in Asian cultures, where people use it for various daily activities, such as cooking, resting, socializing, and even going to the toilet. This squatting posture requires flexibility in the hips, ankles, and lower back.

In one study, males were assigned to two groups, a full squat group and a half squat group. The results suggest that full squat training is more effective for developing the lower limb muscles excluding the rectus femoris and hamstring muscles.

Muscles Worked by Asian Squats

Engaging in Asian squats provides a comprehensive workout for several muscle groups:

  • Quadriceps: The front thigh muscles work to support and stabilize the squatting position.
  • Hamstrings: These muscles help control the descent into the squat and aid in maintaining balance.
  • Glutes: The squatting motion activates the glute muscles, contributing to hip stability and strength.
  • Calves: The calf muscles are engaged to maintain balance and support the weight of the body.
  • Hip Flexors: Asian squats enhance the flexibility and strength of the hip flexor muscles.
  • Core: The core muscles play a crucial role in maintaining an upright posture during the squat.

What Level of Difficulty Is Asian Squat Pose?

The level of difficulty for Asian squats can vary depending on an individual’s flexibility and strength. People with greater hip and ankle flexibility might find it easier to perform, while others may need to work on their mobility over time. However, with consistent practice and patience, most individuals can gradually improve their ability to perform Asian squats.

How to Perform Asian Squats

Follow these steps to perform an Asian squat correctly:

  1. Start with Your Feet Shoulder-Width Apart: Position your feet at shoulder width or slightly wider.
  2. Initiate the Squat: Lower your body down by bending your hips and knees. Keep your chest up and your back straight.
  3. Heels Down: Aim to keep your heels flat on the ground. If this is challenging, you can use a rolled-up mat or wedge to provide support under your heels.
  4. Upright Posture: Maintain an upright posture with your chest lifted and your spine aligned.
  5. Hands Placement: You can place your hands together in front of your chest, use your elbows to push your knees gently outward, or simply let your arms hang.
  6. Hold and Breathe: Hold the squatting position for 20-30 seconds. Focus on deep breathing to help relax into the position.

Asian Squat Warm Up

Flexibility plays a crucial role in maintaining proper movement patterns, balance, and overall lower body mobility. The lack of hip, ankle, and lower back mobility is what holds people back from being able to hold the Asian squat. Perform each stretch as a warm-up for 2-3 sets, holding for 20-30 seconds on each side. Breathe deeply and maintain proper form throughout.

Butterfly Stretch:

  1. Sit on the ground and bring the soles of your feet together, allowing your knees to fall outward.
  2. Hold your feet with your hands and gently press your knees towards the ground.
  3. Feel the stretch in your groin and inner thighs.
  4. Hold for 20-30 seconds.

Calf Stretch Against a Wall:

  1. Stand facing a wall and place your hands on it at shoulder height.
  2. Step one foot back, keep it straight and press your heel down.
  3. Feel the stretch in your calf muscles.
  4. Hold for 20-30 seconds and switch legs.

Hip Flexor Stretch:

  1. Kneel on one knee with the other foot in front, creating a lunge position.
  2. Gently push your hips forward, feeling the stretch in the front of your hip of the kneeling leg.
  3. Hold for 20-30 seconds and switch sides.

Asian Squat Benefits

Slav Squat vs. Asian Squat

The Slav squat, also known as the “Slavic squat” or “Russian squat,” shares similarities with the Asian squat in terms of posture. However, the Slav squat typically involves a more casual and relaxed approach, often performed with a slight forward lean and the heels lifted slightly off the ground. 

It’s worth noting that while both squats have cultural significance, the mechanics and purposes behind them can differ. If you want to take your Asian squat to the next level, we suggest you check out our pistol squat tutorial and goblet squat tutorial to further enhance your leg gains. 

Asian Squat Variations 

Elevated Heel Asian Squat:

This variation involves placing your heels on an elevated surface, allowing you to achieve a deeper squat position without sacrificing balance.

How to Do It:

  1. Find a stable surface, like a weight plate, yoga block, or a rolled-up mat.
  2. Position your heels on the elevated surface, keeping your toes on the ground.
  3. Lower yourself into the squat position, focusing on keeping your chest up and back straight.
  4. Hold the squat for as long as comfortable, gradually increasing the duration over time.

Benefits:

  • Enhances ankle mobility and flexibility.
  • Reduces strain on calf muscles, making the squat more accessible.

Goblet Asian Squat:

Description: Incorporates a weight held close to your chest, adding resistance to the squat and engaging core muscles.

How to Do It:

  1. Hold a dumbbell, kettlebell, or a weighted object close to your chest with both hands.
  2. Assume the Asian squat position, keeping your feet flat on the ground and heels down.
  3. Lower yourself into the squat while holding the weight, maintaining an upright posture.
  4. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat for the desired number of reps.

Benefits:

  • Increases lower body strength, especially in the quads and glutes.
  • Engages the core muscles for stability.

Asian Squat with Overhead Reach

Description: Combines the Asian squat with an overhead reach to enhance upper body flexibility and overall mobility.

How to Do It:

  1. Assume the Asian squat position with your feet flat and heels down.
  2. As you lower into the squat, simultaneously raise your arms overhead.
  3. Reach towards the ceiling while keeping your chest lifted and back straight.
  4. Hold the stretch briefly and return to the starting position.

Benefits:

  • Improves shoulder and upper back flexibility.
  • Enhances overall body coordination.

Upper Body Workouts

Now you’ve immersed yourself in the world of lower body training, we’d like to show you our top 3 key upper body exercises that will help you take your calisthenics to the next level. These are what we call the “fundamentals”

Asian Squat Pose: The Takeaways

The Asian squat offers a unique way to improve flexibility, mobility, and overall lower body strength. While it may initially be challenging, consistent practice can lead to significant improvements. Remember these key takeaways:

  • Start Slowly: If you’re new to Asian squats, begin with patience and gentle progress.
  • Consistency is Key: Regular practice will yield the best results in terms of flexibility and mobility.
  • Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to your body’s signals and avoid pushing yourself too hard.
  • Use Props if Needed: Don’t hesitate to use props like rolled-up mats to support your heels as you work on your flexibility.
  • Cultural Awareness: Respect the cultural significance of the squat while also focusing on its potential health benefits.

Incorporating Asian squats into your fitness routine can unlock a range of benefits for your muscles and joints, promoting better overall mobility and flexibility.

And if you’re looking for a complete program that’s fully equipped with in-depth tutorials for each and every movement, and having me there holding you accountable every step of the way, then our 90-Day Calisthenics Cheat Code can help you reach your physique and skill goals. Book a free consultation to find out more.  

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