T Nation

Chinese ROM


I recently spent 2 weeks in China playing basketball. Being a basketball player, Coach and and avid T-Nation reader, I thought that every one might enjoy an observation I witnessed...

I have never seen so many people squatting!!! I mean deep in the hole just sitting around waiting for the train and ...well, the last pic (if I can get it uploaded) tells you a big reason why they squat. I lost this ability around the age of two but over there I was marveled at the range of motion they must have in order to just "hang out" like that.

Here are some pics, but the sheer magnitude is not given its justice. Shanghai, with a population of about 24 Million, I think at any given time you have 3-4 million people squatting at the same time.

New to the posting stuff, if it ends up being screwy, too bad, I'm learning.




and more


and more, Check out the kid




The real reason why they spend so much time squatting...Just look at the crapper!! Anyway, I thought it was amusing.


This is pretty old, but timely.

The Asian Squat:


Common throughout Asia - it really is.

Lot of variables (like diet, weight, public transportation, etc), but definately could be one reason they have less knee and hip issues than Americans.


the most natural human movement. we were built to squat


correction short people were built to squat, my long fucking legs could never get into this position.


I think there are different types of squatting, and I can't tell which one we were built for. The "Asian squat" and a weightlifting squat are different. In the Asian squat, the hamstrings are relaxed at the bottom, allowing the depth you see in the pictures, and the lower back is flexed. In a weightlifting squat, the hamstrings stay tight at the bottom and the lower back should stay in a neutral to slightly extended position. The Asian squat does not require a lot of flexibility, just small limbs and a small torso.


there are regular toilets though. those toilets pictured above are a pain.
i'm guessing the reason of them squatting instead of sitting on the ground is because the ground is so dirty and there are aren't that many chairs for that many people and etc..
just a thought.


Asians do the "Asian Squat" no matter their limb and torso length...

"Squatty Potties" are not unique to the far east. They have them in the Middle East too.

Most younger Japanese hate squatty potties, but some prefer them in public toilets because you don't have to touch anything.


Squatting 1-2 times everyday like that to take a shit your entire life will make you a better squatter (for shitting). People squat like that in public for the same reasons we sit on benches. In China they don't have enough benches for everyone though :slight_smile:

One of the things I've noticed is that even my overweight relatives that live in China can squat with absolutely no problem. The same with one of my tall, long-legged basketball playing cousin. He has long limbs and gigantic thighs and can still hold his own when it comes to using the eastern toilets!


It's also very common among the Filipino community in Hawaii, they eat their lunch that way.

I picked the habit up myself. It's comfortble once you get the hang of it.


As a matter of fact we were. The chair places people in a very unnatural position. Back in the Stone Ages (not the 1920 good old days of bodybuilding but the real stone ages) the natural position to sit in was a complete squat down. Once you obtain that level of flexibility to where you're not strained to sit like that it's supposed to be pretty natural. People are defiantly designed to sit in a squat more than they are to sit in a chair. As for being built to squat a barbell, I doubt it. We were made to, among other things, deadlift things and sit in a squat.


so instead of labeling them all japanese-americans, korean-americans, thai-americans...individually, can we start calling them squatting-americans?


I just got back from Myanmar. The all sit like that there too. My granma has two friends who are over 80, when they cook and cut, they squat just like that and they are over 80. i though that was very impressive. Also, when you get out of the city, most of the little restaraunts on the side of the road have these little kiddie stools. These stools are 6 inches to a foot in height, if you take them away, you'd basically be in the squatting position, so I'm sure they get used to it from going to the small restaraunts.


Watch non-asian kids, they do it also. But we start to use chairs and stop squatting.

I recall watching a documentary on something a while ago and it said we are all designed to squat like that, but we just stop due to the ergonomics of our living area.

They said native Americans would sit like that all day doing work.

It also stated that in that position we use very little energy.


This to me is the most correct opinion. I have seen many individuals in the rural areas of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan who squat in such a manner during almost any activity, whether it be work or rest, whether they be tall or short, and in those areas yes the toilet is on the ground.

As for hamstring relaxation. When you have to 'push' lol to get the stuff out, you may have to contract the glutes and hamstrings to help out if you need to.