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Asian Squat [Exercise Guide]

asian squat

Asian squats are a great mobility exercise that everyone should be doing. Let’s look at what the Asian squat is and why it’s so challenging for some people. We’ll also share the best ways to improve your flexibility and prepare your body for practicing Asian squats.

What Is The Asian Squat?

The exercise’s name refers to Asian culture. Asian squat is a deep squat commonly practiced by almost everyone in Asian countries. Instead of sitting in chairs or lying down, Asians prefer to rest in deep-seated positions. People living in Asian countries are used to reading, washing, and talking on the phone, sitting in a squat. 

For people from Western countries, Asian squat has become an exercise that restores the body’s natural flexibility and mobility. Because of the sedentary lifestyle, many of us lose these essential abilities. Regular Asian squat practice will restore your flexibility, and prepare your muscles and joints for more complex workouts.

What Muscles Does Asian Squat Work?

The Asian Squat activates a wide range of muscles. The lower body is the primary focus, but the core muscles are engaged too.

The Asian squat works the following muscles:

  • muscles of the gluteus (gluteus maximum, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus);
  • the hamstrings (biceps femoris, semitendinosus, and semimembranosus);
  • leg muscles, particularly the quadriceps (rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, and vastus intermedius);
  • core muscles
  • erector spinae and multifidus (muscles located down the sides of the spine).

How To Perform Asian Squat

Asian squat implies sitting straight in a very deep squat; the buttocks should be between the feet, the heels – flat on the ground. The technique takes a lot of flexibility in the hips, knees, and ankles. 

Follow this guide to perform the movement correctly.

Step1. Get into the starting position 

Stand with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart. Point your toes slightly outwards to assist you in moving more freely.

Step 2. Make a deep squat

Drive your butt backward and bend your knees while hunching your hips. Make a deep squat. Keep your body above the midline of your foot while exercising.

Step 3. Maintain the posture

Squat with your arms or elbows resting on your knees. Keep your heels firmly planted on the floor and maintain the posture as erect as possible. Hold this position for the desired period of time. If it’s too challenging for you, start with 20-30 seconds. Then progress to 5-10 minutes. Choose time depending on your fitness level and endurance.

If doing really deep squats is too tricky for you, you may place a chair against the wall as support. Leaning forward and putting your hands on the chair’s seat will help you get into the proper position.

Why Is The Asian Squat So Difficult

Asians do this exercise easily, and this fact can mislead you. In fact, Asian Squat is not so easy to master. Because of the sedentary lifestyle and minimal physical activity, many people cannot get into that deep squat and hold that position. Let’s dig into the detailed reasons for this state of affairs.

Lack of hip and ankle mobility

To perform the Asian squat, you need to bend your hips and knees completely. Also, athletes need high elasticity ankles. The mentioned requirements can be a problem for those who are constantly driving or sitting at the table and moving a little. However, anything can be fixed if you start training.

Natural proportions of the body

Sometimes, the natural length of your legs can be an obstacle to perfect technique. We’re talking about the distance between the hip and the knee and the length between the knee and the ankle. As a rule, long-legged people find it harder to practice deep squats.

Lack of stretching

Tight lower-body muscles are another reason why you may not succeed in the exercise. If a person sits most of the day, the muscles around the thighs change. The hip flexors become shorter. And this, in turn, leads to difficulties during deep squats. A regular stretching routine can make a difference.

Too little practice

Do not give up if the exercise did not submit to you on the first attempt. Perhaps, you have not yet mastered the technique of simple squats. If so, start with it. Watch your back position, and don’t cheat doing half of the job. When you feel that your muscles are strong and flexible enough, go to the next level – practice Asian squats.

Benefits of Asian Squat

Asian squats have a lot of benefits for your overall health. Regular exercises even help to cope with arthritis, poor circulation in the legs, and constipation. Let’s reveal this topic in more detail.

Keeping your core engaged

Lower body muscles are not the only ones that work during this exercise. The core works all the time to support the correct posture. Core muscles become stronger, helping you improve overall agility and make your performance of many other movements better. Strong core muscles also lead to posture improvement. If you want to slouch less and get rid of pain in the neck, shoulders, and back, try the Asian squat.

Balance improvement

If you can hold the pose of the Asian squat for a few minutes, you have a good balance. Otherwise, you would just fall. By practicing this exercise and prolonging the holding time, you contribute to your balance skills. Balance aids athletes in running, biking, swimming, etc. Having a great sense of balance allows you to perform many exercises and daily activities better.

Loads many muscles simultaneously

Like any other squat, the Asian squat is a compound movement. It targets the glutes, hamstrings, calves, quadriceps, and core muscles. Working multiple muscles means saving your time, burning more calories, and improving intramuscular coordination.

Flexibility improvement

Most individuals have difficulty squatting down to a deeper position because of tight muscles. Once you get into the Asian squat position, it helps you move to another level and improve your flexibility even more. The exercise increases the range of motion and gives the muscles their maximum stretch.

Great prep for any kind of sports

Hip, knee, and ankle flexion and extension are all engaged in a deep squat, which is prevalent in sports. Whether you are a runner or a lifter, deep squats will benefit you. The exercise makes you work on lower body muscle strength and flexibility, decreasing injury risks and giving you more control over your body.

3 Asian Squat Alternatives

1. Cossack Squat 

This squat variation works best for the improvement of your legs’ flexibility. Cossack squat loads quads, adductors, glutes, and hamstrings.

How to do a Cossack squat:

  • Stand with your legs wide apart. Find the maximum width you can stay stable in. 
  • Move most of your body weight to one side. Make a squat, using one of your legs as a support. The other leg remains straight, parallel to the floor.
  • You should keep the heel of your foot firmly planted and stretch the toes of your other foot upward.
  • Contract your glutes and quads as you rise to the beginning position. That’s one rep. Repeat the same on the other side.

2. Deck Squat 

The deck squat is a squat variation that incorporates a back roll. Since leg and butt activation is matched by spine work, this results in an overall strengthening effect.

How to do a deck squat:

  • Keep your back straight and your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Squat all the way to the ground. Make a deep squat and squeeze your thighs. Put the hands around the knees. 
  • Roll backward. When your lower and middle back is off the ground, it’s time to return to the deep squatting position.
  • Stand up.

3. Split Squat

With the split squat, you can work on your lower-body strength and balance.

How to do a split squat:

  • Get on the ground. Set your feet so that the front foot heel stays on the floor. Shin should be almost straight. The knee has to stay over that shin. The back leg stays bent, touching the floor with toes.
  • Keep your chest forward. The back knee should be behind the hip.
  • Push away from the ground, extend your legs, and drive up to the top. You can use a chair or a wall as support if you lack balance.
  • Come back to the starting position.

Mobility Exercises For Asian Squat

Despite the significant number of advantages, the Asian squat still puts a lot of force on your joints. That’s why it’s crucial to ensure you have enough mobility before practicing this exercise. The movements described below will help you prepare your body for Asian squats.

1. Hip Rotations

This movement allows the hips to fully open, develop their flexibility and work out the maximum range of motion.

How to do hip rotations:

  • Begin the exercise lying on your back.
  • Bend one leg at a 90-degrees angle and raise it.
  • Start rotating it from side to side to internally and externally rotate the hip.
  • That’s one rep. Change the leg and repeat.

2. Hip Flexor Stretches

This exercise improves hip mobility and flexibility. You may practice it before doing squats to enhance your performance.

How to do hip flexors stretches:

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent. 
  • Make a leap forward with one leg, extending your rear leg out in front of you.
  • Grab your front thighs and lean forward until you feel a superb stretch.
  • At least 30 seconds should be held on each side.

3. Bodyweight glute bridge

This movement works and stretches your glutes and engages hamstrings and core muscles. It’s an excellent combination to prepare your body for Asian squats workout.

How to do bodyweight glute bridge:

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and your shins parallel to the floor.
  • Initiate the movement by squeezing your glutes. Push yourself up. Hold this position for a few seconds, feeling the tension in your muscles.
  • Come back down.


Deep squatting is a common practice in many Asian nations for both practical and cultural reasons. The exercise isn’t easy. However, with enough effort and mobility training, even those with long legs may learn to do deep squats with proper form. The benefits are worth the effort. Asian squat can improve your posture, balance, and overall health, make you more flexible, enhance your performance in sports, and load lower body and core muscles at once.