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#63 Squatting

Posted April 22nd, 2008 by Peter · 66 Comments

I was looking through some of our reader contributions, and came across this little gem over five times:
“Squatting should be added to the list.”
“Squatting. It’s a true continent-wide asian favorite.”
“Why isn’t squatting on the list?”
and “Will I save money on car insurance by squatting?”


Asians have developed many techniques to accommodate the strenuous activities that they are accustomed to in their native countries. This includes bending over to pick rice in rice patties, strengthening their arms to sell food to pedestrians, or just sitting back to enjoy the little things in life like eating bowls of rice. However, somewhere down the line, Asians figured that they couldn’t do all of these activities standing up for extended amounts of time. Hence, the Squat was born. After reading this post, you will know what the asian squat is, where it comes from, and most importantly, why it’s effective.

As mentioned in an award-winning documentary by Daniel Hsia (How to do the Asian Squat [2002]), the Asian Squat is much different from other squats. Originating in India, the squat made its way to China, where asians figured that it was the ideal way to eat rice and be ready to defecate at any given time. Given these uses, the squat has evolved into more than just a makeshift eating position.

It is now a way of life. Asians everywhere use it when they are smoking, reading, eating, waiting, shaving, and any other gerund-verb combination you can think of. Let’s not forget the most important use of the squat, keeping the asian bottom cleaner while using the bathroom (which in many asian countries is just a hole in the ground with running water). Think about all the crap that accumulates when the cheeks are so close together (like in the american toilet). This way, asians are able to be quite economical in their choice of toiletries.

As asians moved to other parts of the world and grew more refined in their mannerisms, they began to shift away from their use of the Asian Squat, calling it “mundane” and “un-professional.” Modern science has proven the squat as an efficient posture that reduces pain on the patellar (knee) tendon. In addition, the asian is now more balanced because their center of gravity is above the feet, and the heels snuggly contour the ground. For that reason, it has risen to prominence once more in only the last 200 years.

The Asian Squat allows asians to play poker without a table, eat without a table, and do pretty much everything without the need for man’s inventions. Without it, asians would be even shorter than they already are (due to improper posture), hungrier, lonelier, poorer (tables cost money too), and most importantly, tired-er (yes, I added an ER to tired). It’s a craze that’s making its way across the pacific and atlantic oceans. It’s an innovation. It’s a lifestyle. It’s the Asian Squat.

…and to whom it may concern: “Yes, it does save you money on car insurance.”

By popular demand, here’s the video documentary: How to do the Asian Squat (2002)

Last 5 posts by Peter

Tags: Activities · Beauty · Chores · Comedy · Culture · Customs · Habits · History · People · Relationships

66 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Justin // Apr 22, 2008 at 8:54 pm

    lol, glad to have u back pete!

    i love squatting. my non-asian friends would look at me with a painful look in their face like, “doesn’t that hurt?” or it would hurt them if they tried

  • 2 nanheyangrouchuan // Apr 22, 2008 at 10:47 pm

    The Asian squat works well in theory for taking a dump and is good in the woods, but in public restrooms the result is usually “splatter” on the walls, the floor and the toilet.

  • 3 YASPY Chick // Apr 23, 2008 at 7:18 am

    I don’t know how to squat the Asian way!

  • 4 LG // Apr 23, 2008 at 9:43 am

    LOVE LOVE LOVE this post. especially the video.

  • 5 solong // Apr 23, 2008 at 6:47 pm

    LOL I love this entry and I love the squat!

  • 6 Lana // Apr 24, 2008 at 12:54 pm

    Those toilets freak me out! I couldn’t do it.

  • 7 takka // May 8, 2008 at 5:24 pm

    i am asian…
    but i can’t do a asain squat……
    what a shame…lol

  • 8 kevin // May 12, 2008 at 12:27 pm

    Growing up in SE Asia accustomed me to the Asian Squat, but as an Oklahoma Native, please allow me to point out that the Asian Squat is not exclusively Asian, but is derived from other cultural determinants, and may be observed among North Americans as well. Watch the motion picture made of Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath, and you will observe accurate renditions of 1930′s Oklahoma Peasants performing the Oklahoma Squat with no conception that later generations will assume that it is limited to Asia.

    Cowboys, Indians, and Irish railroad laborers did it too. And probably Henry David Thoreau.

  • 9 Natural // May 24, 2008 at 7:35 pm

    I can’t do the damn asian squat….try hard as I may, I seriously can’t. I always tip over..

  • 10 Sam // May 25, 2008 at 8:53 am

    Not all asians squat, here in Hong Kong almost no one squats (unless they’re from China)

  • 11 jafm // Jun 24, 2008 at 9:24 am

    Awesome video! (Yeah, I can do both squats–Japanese wannabe)

  • 12 JawKnee // Jul 24, 2008 at 10:00 pm

    ahhhhhhh i love the asian squat. haha wow but now as i grew into a teenager i developed osgood schlatter disease, which really stresses out my knee… haha i miss it

  • 13 pixilated // Jul 25, 2008 at 6:11 am

    the video is no longer available at that url. try this one instead

  • 14 Sid Bonfire // Sep 8, 2008 at 5:11 pm

    The shorter femur length of Asians makes the difference. Longer femurs need adjustment for length by raising the heels. Just look at baseball catchers who earn their living by squatting. All non-Asians are on their toes.

  • 15 zach // Sep 8, 2008 at 9:59 pm

    Sid Bonfire is right…there are reasons why white people struggle with this…for some (myself included) it is simply anatomically impossible…it’s been my experience that people of an anglo background (meaning British, but also Irish) are still often capable of performing the “asian squat”…however, many mediterranean people (Italians, Greeks, Jews, North Africans, etc.), including myself, just can’t do it…

  • 16 tommy // Nov 15, 2008 at 7:13 am

    The only reason why asians like to squat is because they don’t want to dirt their pants in the ground

  • 17 Cecilie // Jan 3, 2009 at 3:41 am

    Scientists!!! Big money is at stake. My friend Lydia (white Australian) says she can’t do the “asian” squat because she’s white – it’s simply genetics that make asians able to squat and she not. I’m white Norwegian and I can squat like an asian. It’s only a matter of practice I say. Geneticists! Come out of the woodwork and tell us who’s right.
    By the way, all children can squat like that. therefore: A matter of practice and keeping it up!
    P.S. The reason why HK people don’t squat is the same reason why they don’t spit. They think it’s hick from the sticks behaviour.

  • 18 dbals // Jan 8, 2009 at 1:49 pm

    True. Indians too love squat. Mostly while taking a dump and sometimes to relax (?) on the side of a dirt road waiting for bus or something. I used to do the asian squat while in India but now, after spending 5 years in US, I couldn’t balance. What a shame!. Also for dump, I think the Asian squat is better than the toilet seat. I hesitate using the western toilet if there is no toilet seat cover. Well in Asian way, the most natural way, you won’t have any part of your body touching anything. It’s like doing it in the air – levitation. How fun!
    Some guys are so accustomed to the squat, they say, they squat on top of the toilet seat.

  • 19 Cecilie // Jan 11, 2009 at 3:16 am

    “Some guys”? Here in Hong Kong EVERYBODY squats on top of the toilet seats. I’ve gone to the toilet in the Peninsula (HK’s most upmarket hotel) to find footprints on the seat. That was before the mainland invasion. You can take the peasant out of China …

  • 20 Lilly // Jan 24, 2009 at 9:47 pm

    Funny, I used to not squat like that until I hurt my back. I didnt know it was an “Asian squat” LOL. My daughter does it too I guess she got it from me. Were both white.

  • 21 Sanpincha // Jan 24, 2009 at 10:38 pm

    “The shorter femur length of Asians makes the difference. Longer femurs need adjustment for length by raising the heels. Just look at baseball catchers who earn their living by squatting. All non-Asians are on their toes.”

    SO THATS WHY I CAN’T DO IT….unless I’m wearing high heels. My mom couldn’t understand why I can’t do it and I’d say in a distressed way, “My thighs are in the way!” I’m half American, so I guess my femurs are longer….

  • 22 Toby // Feb 12, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    Ha, having just been back from Vietnam, it is true that everyone there squats. Even if they don’t need to! We were in front of a business building and there were a row of chairs but my relatives were squatting right in front of the chairs. LOL. Wish I had a picture.

  • 23 Ma Ke-ren // Feb 21, 2009 at 8:22 pm

    No wonder our penises are so… undersized, so to speak.

  • 24 Ryan Byrd’s Ramblings » Asian Persuasion // Mar 10, 2009 at 10:00 pm

    [...] #63 Squatting [...]

  • 25 Jonathan // Mar 16, 2009 at 10:55 am

    Squatting is natural for all humans, as for all primates. No race has a greater or lesser aptitude for squatting. Every child squats instinctively, but in certain cultures the practice has been foolishly abandoned, so the tendons and ligaments lose their flexibility due to disuse.

    Here are the health benefits of squatting, taken from the site

    Seven Advantages of Squatting

    1. Makes elimination faster, easier and more complete. This helps prevent “fecal stagnation,” a prime factor in colon cancer, appendicitis and inflammatory bowel disease.

    2. Protects the nerves that control the prostate, bladder and uterus from becoming stretched and damaged.

    3. Securely seals the ileocecal valve, between the colon and the small intestine. In the conventional sitting position, this valve is unsupported and often leaks during evacuation, contaminating the small intestine.

    4. Relaxes the puborectalis muscle which normally chokes the rectum in order to maintain continence.

    5. Uses the thighs to support the colon and prevent straining. Chronic straining on the toilet can cause hernias, diverticulosis, and pelvic organ prolapse.

    6. A highly effective, non-invasive treatment for hemorrhoids, as shown by published clinical research.

    7. For pregnant women, squatting avoids pressure on the uterus when using the toilet. Daily squatting helps prepare one for a more natural delivery.

  • 26 IT DOES MEAN SQUAT II « TaiJiQuestion // Apr 2, 2009 at 5:21 pm

    [...] [...]

  • 27 M. Åttosson // May 4, 2009 at 3:24 am

    Dumping while squatting reduces the probability of getting haemorrhoides by over 90 %. Haemorrhoides are very common in western countries and almost non-existent in Africa and Asia.

    So, do you prefer doctor fingering your anus and operating it with a some sort of laser knife – or the Asian style of dumping?

  • 28 jamesmallon // Jul 6, 2009 at 12:07 pm

    I, a white guy, agree with most of the toileting benefits of squatting; however, that shit about haemorrhoides is bullshit. Go to Japan and the subways are full of nothing but ads for proctology. Unless it’s a front for a sexual service…

  • 29 technoviking // Aug 11, 2009 at 9:28 am

    do japanese squat? the colorectal surgery is probably a result of seated toilets with poorly functioning 3-in-1 anus wiping robotic technology with negative ion disinfectant and automated enema system.

  • 30 squatting hater // Sep 9, 2009 at 12:23 am

    squatting hurts after a while for me (might be some problem with my knees, but I’m only 16). every time I see a squat toilet restroom in taiwan, I have to change my mind about going and wait until we get home or pass by somewhere with a regular toilet. it’s painful to stay in that position and extremely hard to get used to. maybe I’m just picky, but I prefer that a restroom have a regular toilet, toilet paper (some places don’t have any), seat covers, doors without those big gaps, and enough leg room.

  • 31 » La Vida de Caridad: Wonder Woman & the Grocery Adventure // Oct 14, 2009 at 7:02 pm

    [...] Asian, I was adept at the Asian Squat and sat down to solve my dilemma of being so close and so far.  I put some items in my purse, [...]

  • 32 Phuong // Mar 3, 2010 at 6:52 pm

    I actually can’t do the squat. I have an ass compared to other asians, which prevents me from getting the right posture for this squat. It’s upsetting. I went to Vietnam and got made fun of by my family for not being able to squat.

  • 33 DailyBento » Blog Archive » Stuff Asian People Like #63 – Squatting // Mar 23, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    [...] here to read [...]

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  • 35 Shanghai Escort // Jul 14, 2010 at 1:11 am

    Haemorrhoid-es are very common in western countries and almost non-existent in Africa and Asia.

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  • 37 nick // Aug 15, 2010 at 9:29 pm

    @Sid Bonfire this is not true. Yes a longer femur will make it slightly harder but it is still a natural position. My femurs are very long (in proportion to the rest of the body) and i can effortlessly sit in a squat as a 6 ft 4 white male. The only reason for not being able to do a squat is the result of years of being a fat slob ;)

  • 38 AwesomeSauce // Aug 30, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    dude…. native americans are asians who crossed the ice land bridge from russia -> alaska and made their way down to what now is north america. in asia, they were called asians, when they were in alaska refered to as eskimos. Irish Railroad laborers WORKED WITH CHINESE RAILROAD LABORERS! and COWBOYS WERE AROUND WHILE THE CHINESE RAILROAD WORKERS WERE AROUND!


  • 39 Anonymous // Dec 6, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    @nick, I smell a small little Aussie named Nick Andrews in here. Somebody please flush the toilet!

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  • 52 Sj // Jul 22, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    Just tried the asian squat and what a difference. No pain in my knees at all! Stupid western squat, I’m not doing the western squat in karate anymore!
    My only concern is that my lower back aches while in the asian squatting position. Is it just because my back isn’t flexible enough or is it my body type? I’m 5″4 but I have a pear-shaped body (bigger thighs, smaller upper body). Anyoen have any thoughts about that?

  • 53 Ray // Aug 26, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    I don’t see what is so exclusively Asian about it. I’m a white American male and I can do it easily. I’ve never really thought about it, I just have done so since I was a small child. Most small children and many older girls who are not Asian do it all the time. Fewer males in America do for some reason.

  • 54 ilovehorseyrides // Sep 27, 2015 at 2:14 pm

    When Asians are potty-training their children, they hold the kid over the toilet/a plastic basin and says “shhh” (pee) and “uh-uh” (poop) to get the child to go.

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