Asian Squat vs the Slav Squat – Are They the Same Thing?

Have you ever met an Asian, had an Asian friend, or have been to Asia? If so you might have realized that deep squatting, which most of us westerners dread to even attempt, is an …

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Have you ever met an Asian, had an Asian friend, or have been to Asia?

If so you might have realized that deep squatting, which most of us westerners dread to even attempt, is an absolutely normal thing for them! This is actually true of much of the non-western world.

They can squat deeply while dwhile eating, smoking a cigarette, chit-chatting, playing board games, studying, chopping vegetables, waiting for a bus, using a pan-styled bathroom, and even while going to the bathroom.

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This deep squatting position has numerous health benefits

In this article, we will brief you about the Asian squat and how it is different from Slav squat. We will also tell you why westerners aren’t able to do it so easily.

We will also share some helpful tips on how to do the Asian squat. 

To begin with, let's understand what exactly is the so-called “Asian squat“? 

💡 Quick Tip: Squat toilets can help you restore your deep squat mobility

Squatty Potty Bambo

What is the Asian Squat?

This is an Asian Squat
This is an Asian Squat

It is an advanced version of your basic squat.

To do Asian squat, you need to squat really deep while keeping your feet flat on the ground.

You need the squat until your buttocks are in line with your ankles but not touching the floor.

This position requires a tremendous amount of ankle flexibility. It also requires you to balance your body-weight over the midline of your feet so you don’t rock forward or backward. Unless you balance yourself well, you will topple. 

Are the Asian Squat and the Slav Squat the same thing?

Yes, they absolutely are. They are both names for a deep resting squat

Other names for the Asian Squat

  • The 3rd World Squat
  • The Slav Squat
  • The Deep Squat

The deep squat can be a resting position

Asian squat as a ‘resting position’
Asian squat as a ‘resting position’

You will be surprised to know that the Asian squatting position is considered a ‘resting position’ in non-western countries.

While most of us are unable to go down so deep, Asians can be quite comfortable in the full squat for minutes while performing numerous activities.

If they don’t find a seat at a bus stop, they squat down to rest. If they get too tired walking or standing and they don’t get a chair to sit, they squat! 

The Asian squat is relaxing for the body

This is an Asian squat
This is an Asian squat

Did you know Asian squat is the most relaxing position for the body other than lying down? This is because it is the most natural movement of our body. 

When you sit on a chair or a sofa, your hip and ankle muscles get shortened. Since the back of the chair will be supporting your body, your core muscles will not be working too.

It isn’t a problem when you sit for a few hours a day.

But, if you sit for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, your hip and ankle muscles will tighten and the core muscles will weaken. Tight and weak muscles make you more prone to pain and injuries.  

Squatting has always been our fundamental resting position.

this child naturally deep squats
this child naturally deep squats

Early humans and our ancestors used to squat when they needed a break or when they had to wait during hunting.

After chairs were invented, people (especially the rich ones) started using them because they were more comfortable. Soon, chairs became status symbols.

Western countries started using chairs and seats for almost everything. But, the underdeveloped and developing nations couldn’t afford to have them in every household, especially the rural ones.

Other than affordability, the population was (and is) a major problem in these countries. The government cannot simply provide enough chairs at bus stops, railway stations, etc., which is why Asians still squat and they don’t mind it!

Squat toilets are very common

This is a Squat toilet
This is a Squat toilet

Most Asian households, especially in rural areas, still have pan-styled toilets where you need to squat deep to relieve yourself.

You can find such toilets in almost all public places, even at airports. Many people prefer using them instead of seat-styled toilets because they do not require any skin contact with the toilet seat, which is hygienically good.  

Now that we know what is and how to do Asian squats, let's learn about Slav squat, which is a much-hyped topic these days among fitness enthusiasts.  

What is a Slav squat?

This a Slav squat
This a Slav squat

It is the same as Asian squat. Just that the term was coined a few years ago by a Romanian Teenager who started a Facebook page ‘Squatting slavs in tracksuits’. 

The word ‘slav’ is used to refer to people in central and eastern Europe, who speak Slavic languages.

Many of these people belong to gopnik culture, which is a subculture of Russia typically consisting of people from the lower class background.

These people usually squat down while doing many things such as waiting for a bus stop, taking a cigarette break with friends, etc. This is where the word slav word comes from. 

Basically, the slav squat and the Asian squat are the same thing. They just represent different regions.

To know more about slav squat, its origin, its benefits, and its correct technique, read our earlier article on ‘why and how to slav squat’.  

Why westerners do not have squat mobility

That's because we don’t practice it! 

Essentially, we all are born with enough ankle flexibility to do slav squat but, since we do not flex our ankle much, those muscles start to tighten with time, and we start to lose our ability to go down on our heels.

Bryan Ausinheiler, a Physical Therapist who graduated from the University of California San Francisco has concluded that you need 70 degrees of ankle-flexion angle to be able to squat.

He also concluded that most Americans have just 30 degrees of movement. No wonder why we Westerners find it easier to deadlift than to squat. 

It's lack of practice and mobility rather than genetics

It's not in the genes...
It's not in the genes…

Some people say squatting is in the genes of Asian and Slavic people. Well, that’s quite debatable.

We would rather say that it's the practice that makes full squats much easier for them than for us. 

Asians and slavic people start squatting right from their childhood for using toilets. Asian kids see everybody around them squatting for various reasons and soon, they too adopt this habit.

This way, they never lose their ankle flexibility and torso balance, which are crucial for squatting.   

If you don't use it, you lose it

While Asians have maintained their ankle and hip flexibility quite well for thousands of years, Westerners started losing it as soon as they abandoned the practice of deep squat.

We abandoned it for many reasons; comfort and convenience are the major ones. Westerners started seeing squatting as ‘uncivilized’ but Asians never did.

If you ever visit China, you would find top businessmen discussing business deals while squatting!Even Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was once photographed squatting on the White House Lawn for taking a picture. This picture received 17000 likes and over 3600 shares in just two days!

Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong caught squatting while taking pictures
Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong caught squatting while taking pictures

How to do the Asian squat (even if you can't right now)

  1. Get into a deep squatting position
  2. Hold it for at least 5 minutes a day for maximum benefit

If you cannot do a deep resting squat

Start Bodyweight Training: Squat progression
  1. Get into the deepest resting squat you can.
  2. Use a post or wall to help keep you upright
  3. Start with resting in the squat position for 60 seconds.
  4. Then add 30 seconds a day until you build up to 5 minutes.

Other tips

  • It might be easier for you to get into position off of the floor rather than trying to lower into it from standing
  • Like any other form of exercise, go slow and, if needed, hold on to something to prevent falling backward.

Depending on your flexibility, you should be able to sit in a full squat position within 4-6 weeks. Read this blog for a detailed guide on how to regain your squat mobility. 

Top Products to help you maintain or restore your deep squatting abilities

TUSHY Ottoman squatting stool

It is a premium toilet stool that helps with better bowel movements in a squatting position. It is available in two different sizes; the relaxed style with 7.5” height and the original style with 9” height. The shorter ones are meant for taller people or for those who have shorter bathroom seats. Due to its silky creamy looks, this squatting tool blends well with almost all bathrooms. The edges are rounded off so you can place your feet anywhere comfortably. 

Although the feet look as if they are made of wood, they are actually hard plastic just like the rest of it. Numerous buyers have stated that the plastic is a bit slippery, especially if you are using it with socks or barefooted. So, for $70, you may find it expensive but, the level of discretion it provides makes it worth its price. The other cheaper squatty potty stools are too noticeable but this one looks like a modern ottoman. 

Its primary use is to promote better bowel movement but you can also use it for improving your ankle flexibility. Sit on a low stool and put your legs on this stool. Then, start putting your weight on it until you feel pressure on your ankle muscles. Doing this regularly will improve your ankle flexibility. 

We are giving this a rating of 4.6 out of 5.0.

AmazerBath Collapsible Bamboo Toilet Stool

If you are looking for a compact squat tool, this is a good option. The legs are foldable, so you can easily keep it aside when not needed. For improving your squatting ability, you can use it while sitting on a low stool or an ottoman and putting your weight on your legs. When not needed, you can slide it under the sofa. 

It is designed for bathrooms and is meant to help you improve your bowel movement in the squatting position. The bamboo wood is heavy-duty and durable, even when left in a wet and humid place like a bathroom. There are two sizes to choose from; 7” and 6.5”. The surface has grooves to give you a better grip even when you use it barefooted. The feet have an anti-slip coating, which is a great add-on feature. 

It comes fully assembled and you just need to long-press the fold button to collapse it. The whole process takes just a few seconds. So, you can fold/unfold it as many times as you want during the day. 

Another thing that we like about it is its weight. Being made of bamboo wood, it is heavier than the plastic squatty potty, so it provides better stability. The price is quite reasonable too. 

We are giving this a rating of 4.6 out of 5.0.

Squatty Potty Simple Bathroom Toilet Stool

This is an inexpensive option for people who need help with improving their bowel movement by sitting in a squatting position. It is one of the top-rated and most sold products on Amazon. Just like other squatting tools, this one too is available in standard 7” and 9” height. 

The white color helps it blend well with the bathroom. The legs aren’t as wide and reliable as the more expensive squatty potty stools have but they have anti-skid rubber at the base, which helps keep the stool stable. The plastic is rather thin but you get what you pay for. 

Don’t worry; it isn’t going to break any time soon. 

We are giving this a rating of 4.5 out of 5.0.

Squatty Potty The Original Toilet Stool

This is the original version of the Squatty Potty simple bathroom toilet stool we have reviewed above. It is made of bamboo and has two sides that can be used as a stool. One of them provides you 7” height whereas the second one provides 9” height. You just have to rotate and choose the side that best suits you. 

This squatting stool needs assembly and comes with all the necessary hardware and tools that you may need to put it together. The assembly process is pretty simple, so don’t worry even if you have never assembled anything in life. 

As expected, it is made of bamboo wood and has a decent weight that helps provide extra stability to the user. The foot surface has grooves to give you a good grip. The only thing we didn’t like about this squatting tool is its inconsistent quality. Some buyers have reported that the screws don’t stay flush and some others have mentioned that the board cracked during installation. Such cases are rare though and can happen with any product. Well, for $40, the manufacturer could have just sold a fully assembled piece.

We are giving this a rating of 4.5 out of 5.0.

Poop Stoop High Full-Squat Toilet Squatting Stool

This is one of the most expensive products on our list and we agree that not many of us would be willing to spend about $200 for a squatty potty. 

But, unlike other options we have listed here, the Poop Stoop is a full squat tool available in 13”, 15”, and 17” heights. Before you order, make sure you measure the height of your seat and buy the one that rests just below it; not too low because it is meant to help you squat really deep. If you have a bidet installed, this squatting tool may not fit well. In that case, you may have to go with a lower size. 

Talking about its build quality; it is a well-made wooden stool. It comes in 5 pieces with all the necessary hardware and tools for assembly. There is not much work to do but depending on your skills, you may be able to put it together in 10 to 20 minutes. 

The height of the stool is its USP but it can be an issue too. That’s because it makes your body form a really sharp angle that you may not be used to. Some people may find it rather difficult to use but with time, you will get used to the way it puts your body, and then, you will find it much better than others. 

We are giving this a rating of 4.8 out of 5.0.

Booty Kicker – Home Fitness Exercise Barre

All of the squatting tools we have listed above are meant for bathroom use but this is different. It is a barre i.e. a horizontal bar that ballet dancers use to support themselves during some exercises. You can do a host of exercises with it. Stability won’t be an issue because there is a weight rack at the front that you can use for weighing it down moderately. The weight rack and the logo bar are removable though. 

The barre is made of wood so it is much more comfortable to hold than bare steel. The rest of the frame is made of steel. It has a patented foldable design for convenient storage. As we said above, you can simply weigh it down, hold it, and then try to squat deep. Having something stable to hold will help you go down more comfortably. 

There are two main issues that many buyers have experienced with this booty kicker squat tool. First is the lack of assembly directions. The directions you get are basically pictures and they are unclear and confusing. You will still be able to assemble it with some guesswork. The second thing that people don’t like about it is its foldability. The mechanism is not as smooth and effortless as the manufacturer claims. But, do you care? 

We are giving this a rating of 4.5 out of 5.0.

Squat Wedgiez Squat Wedge

As obvious from its name, it is a pair of wedges that helps you raise your heels above the ground by 3.7” whereas still keeping your toes much below it. Squat wedges are popular squatting tools highly recommended for people with ankle mobility problems. It can help you squat deeper than what you may be doing currently. That’s because your ankle won’t have to bend at an angle unconventional to you.  

To be honest, we are not quite a fan of squat wedges. We had reviewed the Iron Bull Strength Squat Wedges some time ago and, as we have mentioned in its review, it is always better to strengthen your muscles and improve your flexibility instead of being dependent on these squatting tools. But, if that sounds quite challenging, you can always try these wedges until you are ready. 

Talking about the Squat Wedgiez wedges, they are rated for 500lbs. Most buyers have agreed that being highly dense, they won’t collapse under weight, affecting your stability and safety. Their surface is grippy enough to let you train barefooted, if that's what you like. Other than squatting, you can use them for various other exercises. The wedges come with an exercise guide to help you use them in more ways than you can such as for treating plantar fasciitis and tightness in calves. 

We are giving this a rating of 4.6 out of 5.0.

Pilates Bar Kit with Resistance Bands

This is not a squatting tool in the true sense but it can help you strengthen the muscles used for squats. With stronger muscles, you will be able to squat deeper and better. Plus, it helps maintain your form. 

The kit consists of a steel rod coated with thick foam for your comfort. It comes with two sets of resistance bands; 20lbs, and 40lbs. The bands have hooks on one side for attaching to the bar. They have thin and absolutely flat footrests on the other side where you need to stand. 

The resistance bands are made of latex and their size can be adjusted pretty easily. When assembled and used, it will make you feel as if you are doing resistance band barbell squats. 

The length of the barbell can be changed too if you buy the upgraded kit, which costs about $30 more. But, that’s actually not needed. This kit is more than enough for people whose primary objective is to achieve their full squatting ability. 

The only issue we could find in this product is that the resistance bands are available in 20lbs and 40lbs. There is no middle way. You will have to jump to 40lbs straight from 20lbs, which may not be that difficult for some but others may find it hard to adjust. 

We are giving this a rating of 4.4 out of 5.0.

Armored Lion – Adjustable Non-Slip Squat Wedge Blocks

This is also a set of squat wedges that you can use to squat deep even if you have poor ankle flexibility. These wedges are made of silicone, which makes them highly dense and durable. The top surface has thick and prominent ridges that are supposed to provide you with the most reliable grip. We don’t know the weight capacity but these wedges can easily hold up to 500lbs of weight.  

What we like the most about the Armored Lion squat wedges is their customizable height. The wedges are more like puzzle pieces; each of them being 1” high. You can use one of them or join two or three of them together to get a 2” or 3” height. If you are a beginner, 3” high wedges may overwhelm you, so this is a good product to start with. 

The only thing we don’t like is their high price. They could have been about $10 cheaper but we won’t mind spending $10 more for a product that could possibly last for a lifetime. 

We are giving this a rating of 4.4 out of 5.0.

Gaiam Essentials Yoga Block

These yoga blocks can help you squat deep by supporting your butt when you go down. 

There are two main reasons why people find it difficult to do deep squats; one is poor ankle flexibility and the second is poor balance and stability. Squat wedges can help you deal with ankle flexibility whereas yoga blocks can make it easier to balance yourself when your butt goes below your knees. 

Having something to support your body deep down can prevent you from falling back and getting injured. Plus, the blocks can help you hold your deep squat position for a few seconds before returning. The more you do this, the stronger your muscles will get, and soon, you may not be needing the blocks at all. 

Gaiam Essential blocks have a non-slip surface, so you don’t have to worry about them slipping off. They are dense but they can’t hold your entire weight. Do not put too much of your weight on them, which can anyways defy their purpose of use. They are just meant to be used for balancing yourself lightly. 

We are giving this a rating of 4.7 out of 5.0.

Wooden Slant Board- Adjustable Incline Board and Calf Stretcher

This squatting tool is meant to help you loosen up your tight calf muscles, which in turn will help you squat deeper and squat with a proper form. 

As you can see in the image above, it is more like a slanting box or a ramp with a highly grippy top surface for barefoot use. The top part is not fixed. You can adjust its height to change the angle at which your feet and ankle will rest on it. There are 5 different positions so you have 5 different angles to train your body. Changing the angles is pretty and takes about a second or two.  

Other than improving squatting ability, this calf stretcher can be used for treating many other mobility-related issues such as plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendon, and shin splints. The box is made of high-quality Lauan wood and meant to last really long. It can easily support upto 300lbs of weight. 

One major issue the buyers have mentioned about this wooden calf stretcher is that the grippy strips at the top may start to peel after some time. They do send you some extra strips with the product, so make sure you keep them carefully. 

We are giving this a rating of 4.4 out of 5.0.

Vive Foot Rocker

This is also a calf stretcher meant to be used for increasing ankle flexibility as well as getting relief from plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendon, shin splints, and other conditions related to poor ankle mobility. Plus, this calf stretcher is a great tool for reducing soreness in calf muscles that could have happened after an intense running or cardio session. 

Unlike the wooden stretcher we have reviewed above, this one is a rocker and is meant to be used on one leg at a time. You may or may not have to hold something while using it depending on how much balance you have. You can use it while sitting too but standing is better because you will be able to get a better stretch. 

Vive foot rocker is made of high-quality thick plastic with rubber strips at the bottom to prevent slipping and skidding. The footplate area is grippy enough but you may have to wear shoes because it is somewhere hard. There is a mid-foot gap, which is intended to give you some space so you can push your feet as much as you want. 
The only issue that some buyers have faced with this product is the smaller size of the footplate. If you have large feet, your toes may remain off the plate. But, that doesn’t affect the effectiveness of this squatting tool. You can check out our detailed Vive Foot Rocker Calf Stretcher Review for more information.

We are giving this a rating of 4.4 out of 5.0.