Author Topic: Cant do asian squat!  (Read 44593 times)

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Offline kurite

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Cant do asian squat!
« on: February 13, 2010, 12:39:57 am »
Hi
I just recently started to squat rather than sit when the oppurtunity comes up. Unfortunately my body naturally does the american squat where my knees are forward and all my weight is on the ball of my foot instead of flat and straight knees. When I do force myself to make my entre foot touch the ground I always lose my balance and fall backwards. Even when i do not fall it is very tiring. Anyone know what I might be doing incorectly? Tips? Tricks? Anything.
Thanks


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Re: Cant do asian squat!
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2010, 01:10:04 am »
my body naturally does the american squat where my knees are forward and all my weight is on the ball of my foot instead of flat and straight knees. Anyone know what I might be doing incorrectly? Tips? Tricks? Anything.
Thanks

Depends on your race - East Asians have proportionately shorter legs than most Americans, so their squat shall have a different balance point.

Offline lex_rooker

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Re: Cant do asian squat!
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2010, 05:21:41 am »
Your problem is tight calf muscles.  You didn't grow up squatting on a regular basis so your calf muscles shortened.  Women who wear high heals every day have an even worse problem with this as they find they can't wear flat shoes or go bearfoot comfortably.  Shortened calf muscles caused from wearing shoes with heals higher than the ball of the foot (even an inch or less) is also a main contributing cause to plantar fasciitis.

Anyway, the solution takes time as you must slowly stretch the calf muscles to allow a proper flat footed squat.  Stretch two or three times per day every day of the week and within a few months you'll have no problem with a comfortable flat footed squat.

Lex

Offline wodgina

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Re: Cant do asian squat!
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2010, 10:34:34 am »
Yep just practice. At the start you feel like you have to use your shin muscles too much but it gets easier. Also stick your knees under your arm pits and I point my feet out at 90 degrees to each other.

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Offline Ioanna

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Re: Cant do asian squat!
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2010, 10:42:57 am »
funny request, but can someone show me an asian squat in an online photo? 

Offline wodgina

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Offline Ioanna

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Re: Cant do asian squat!
« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2010, 11:19:35 am »
thanks wodgina!

Offline kurite

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Re: Cant do asian squat!
« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2010, 03:32:16 pm »
thanks everyone also what are the benefits of doing the asian squat?
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Offline PaleoPhil

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Re: Cant do asian squat!
« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2010, 02:25:41 am »
The benefits of Asian (African, South American, traditional human, primate) squatting are covered extensively by Paul Chek's article and by me in that thread that was linked to. Also there is a description by Esther Gokhale of a modified squat that you may find a little easier, though you may have to modify your squat still further to start with.
>"When some one eats an Epi paleo Rx template and follows the rules of circadian biology they get plenty of starches when they are available three out of the four seasons." -Jack Kruse, MD
>"I recommend 20 percent of calories from carbs, depending on the size of the person" -Ron Rosedale, MD (in other words, NOT zero carbs) http://preview.tinyurl.com/6ogtan
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Offline majormark

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Re: Cant do asian squat!
« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2010, 03:19:35 am »

So, exactly what amount of squatting is best?

It would be nice to know in terms of duration/repetitions.



 

Offline PaleoPhil

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Re: Cant do asian squat!
« Reply #10 on: February 14, 2010, 03:25:53 am »
Well, how many times a day do people who don't have throne chairs or toilets squat, do you figure?
>"When some one eats an Epi paleo Rx template and follows the rules of circadian biology they get plenty of starches when they are available three out of the four seasons." -Jack Kruse, MD
>"I recommend 20 percent of calories from carbs, depending on the size of the person" -Ron Rosedale, MD (in other words, NOT zero carbs) http://preview.tinyurl.com/6ogtan
>Finding a diet you can tolerate is not the same as fixing what's wrong. -Tim Steele
Beware of problems from chronic Very Low Carb

Offline majormark

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Re: Cant do asian squat!
« Reply #11 on: February 14, 2010, 05:58:03 am »

I would not look at them for tips because they are probably doing this as necessary and not seeking to optimize anything about it.

The "amount" could be different from person to person, depending of physical abilities. I'm trying to figure out a range for sqatting (as an exercise) that could benefit those who do not squat often.

Offline PaleoPhil

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Re: Cant do asian squat!
« Reply #12 on: February 14, 2010, 07:39:27 am »
I would not look at them for tips because they are probably doing this as necessary and not seeking to optimize anything about it.
Sounds like they are doing what comes naturally in infancy onwards instead of relying solely on some guru's high theory on what is optimal, or unthinkingly conforming to Western conventions, yes?

Quote
The "amount" could be different from person to person, depending of physical abilities. I'm trying to figure out a range for sqatting (as an exercise) that could benefit those who do not squat often.

Yes, the amount can vary between individuals. For those who are not as used to squatting as I am, I would recommend going slow to start, as I suggested above. Esther Gokhale is very good about meeting people where they are rather than trying to force them to do things they aren't equipped to do. Esther is one of the few guru's on posture, flexibility, etc. who's any good because she spent a lot of time observing natural-living people in natural environs doing what comes naturally, instead of limiting her knowledge to textbooks written by people in ivory towers.
>"When some one eats an Epi paleo Rx template and follows the rules of circadian biology they get plenty of starches when they are available three out of the four seasons." -Jack Kruse, MD
>"I recommend 20 percent of calories from carbs, depending on the size of the person" -Ron Rosedale, MD (in other words, NOT zero carbs) http://preview.tinyurl.com/6ogtan
>Finding a diet you can tolerate is not the same as fixing what's wrong. -Tim Steele
Beware of problems from chronic Very Low Carb

Offline PaleoPhil

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Re: Cant do asian squat!
« Reply #13 on: May 29, 2010, 05:22:47 am »
...I do force myself to make my entre foot touch the ground I always lose my balance and fall backwards. ....


Here are some tips from Ben Fury that helped one lady improve her form for better balance so she could squat more easily:

http://forum.dirtycarnivore.com/index.php/topic,748.msg32078.html#msg32078

Quick question - when doing bodyweight squats, is it ok to widen the stance more than shoulder width apart?

I often rock back on my heels and feel a bit unsteady, but if I widen my feet out a little I feel more stable.


....

Thanks Ben.

I started out with hands behind my head but I find I don't keep good form that way so now I'm doing the arms out in front just as you described.

Check out the form on these ladies. Extremely efficient and balanced:
Three Flying Ladies


I'm out of breath just watching them! Something to aspire to - for sure!


It's not the conditioning I want you to see. It's the form. Notice the wide set feet? Notice the out turned feet? Notice the free swinging arms? These are clues to how the pros do it. That's the lesson of this video. NOT to keep up. But HOW they do it.



Just an update - widened my stance quite a bit on the squats and shifted my toes outward - made it so much easier to do. Used swinging arms and no longer feel off balance at all.

I'm also MUCH more sore today (inner and back of thighs) so I'm guessing that my form has improved as well.
>"When some one eats an Epi paleo Rx template and follows the rules of circadian biology they get plenty of starches when they are available three out of the four seasons." -Jack Kruse, MD
>"I recommend 20 percent of calories from carbs, depending on the size of the person" -Ron Rosedale, MD (in other words, NOT zero carbs) http://preview.tinyurl.com/6ogtan
>Finding a diet you can tolerate is not the same as fixing what's wrong. -Tim Steele
Beware of problems from chronic Very Low Carb

Offline KD

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Re: Cant do asian squat!
« Reply #14 on: May 29, 2010, 05:37:20 am »
PP are you talking Asian squats or these 'tabata' or hindu squatting exercises? or that these are beneficial for improving the former?

I've been doing bodyweight squats for some time and cannot at all sit with my feet planted and but on the floor in an Asian squat per a significant time period or without massive strain or falling backwards. I think its a leg length thing, as my flexibility is quite high.

Offline PaleoPhil

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Re: Cant do asian squat!
« Reply #15 on: May 29, 2010, 06:13:38 am »
PP are you talking Asian squats or these 'tabata' or hindu squatting exercises? or that these are beneficial for improving the former?

I've been doing bodyweight squats for some time and cannot at all sit with my feet planted and but on the floor in an Asian squat per a significant time period or without massive strain or falling backwards. I think its a leg length thing, as my flexibility is quite high.
As Ben noted in his post, his tips were regarding form rather than doing them at advanced speeds, as with tabata. Improved form should help with any style that uses the form Ben recommended. The Asian man I posted an image of has the best form I've seen (other than a martial artist I've seen who also had perfect squatting form). The tabata ladies have decent form and despite not having perfect form they are able to perform some remarkable squatting feats.

MetalMama mentioned the same problem with falling backwards and said that Ben's tips helped her. Billions of people with various leg lengths, from short southern Chinese to giant Manchurians and northeast Africans, are able to do full squats as part of their everday lives, so I think it is more likely related to other potential factors like poor form, bones that have ossified into poor (ie modern American) forms, atrophied muscles, stiff or lax ligaments, and poor internal sense of balance. While ossified bones may limit what many Americans can do, I wouldn't give up on squats entirely. As I mentioned earlier in this thread, the modified squat may also help. Plus, gentle yoga postures that practice balance could also help. The atrophy and poor balance that Western sedentary behaviors like extended comfy-chair sitting, sleeping on soft mattresses, walking in overly cushioned shoes, etc. promote will continue to worsen your balance and strength as you age, so the sooner you can get started on trying to gently recoup some balance and strength, the better. Holding onto door handles or a pole can also help. Be careful with the pole, though, you might turn someone on.  ;)
>"When some one eats an Epi paleo Rx template and follows the rules of circadian biology they get plenty of starches when they are available three out of the four seasons." -Jack Kruse, MD
>"I recommend 20 percent of calories from carbs, depending on the size of the person" -Ron Rosedale, MD (in other words, NOT zero carbs) http://preview.tinyurl.com/6ogtan
>Finding a diet you can tolerate is not the same as fixing what's wrong. -Tim Steele
Beware of problems from chronic Very Low Carb

Offline KD

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Re: Cant do asian squat!
« Reply #16 on: May 29, 2010, 06:38:59 am »
I just perused the thread but it sounds like she was having trouble just doing the form of a regular bodyweight squat. probably swinging backward.

It could very well have to do with factors you mention, but if you look closely at these women, they would indeed topple over if they went fully down. They are also moving their feet off the ground, but that is probably minor criticism.

heres another pic. What I'm saying is I can actually replicate this entirely but can hardley even get my arms over my knees so the balance point is skewed, there is no stress on my legs other than the very base of my foot where it reaches the ankle. If I was squatting how these women are or with my feet angled, I could probably hold that for about 5 minutes, That used to be part of a kundalini set I used to do.



but, perhaps one can strengthen those remaining muscles, or become further 'open' through diet/yoga etc...
-
griseled male pole squatters, what more could a woman want for her birthday.

Offline PaleoPhil

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Re: Cant do asian squat!
« Reply #17 on: May 29, 2010, 10:03:21 am »
I just perused the thread but it sounds like she was having trouble just doing the form of a regular bodyweight squat. probably swinging backward.
Are you saying you can do a "regular bodyweight squat"? If so, why not practice those and work up from there? Don't be disappointed if you never reach the perfect form of those 3 gents in the photo you posted, as they've been squatting since not long after they were born and Esther Gokhale wrote in the article I linked to in the other thread that Western bones can become ossified into positions that make squatting and other natural postures difficult. This is one of the minor curses of Western civ. and is one reason why it is so important not to discourage youths from engaging in the squatting that comes naturally to them. I'm glad I didn't listen to my mother and kept squatting, though extensive Western chair sitting and years of the SAD have made me much less flexible than many Asians and Africans.

Based on my visit yesterday to a furniture store, Western furniture is getting worse. I just bought a couch and there were only 2 in the store that were close to naturally ergonomic and firm. Most were badly sloped and way too soft--both bad for the posture and likely to contribute to muscle and joint atrophy, stiffness and pain. No wonder the West leads the world in back and joint pain.

Quote
It could very well have to do with factors you mention, but if you look closely at these women, they would indeed topple over if they went fully down. They are also moving their feet off the ground, but that is probably minor criticism.
I doubt they wold topple over. If you look closely you'll see that their heels remain relatively flat. When they lift up their whole foot tends to go up instead of just the heel, except for a tiny bit of heel lift in one of them. If you can achieve that level of heel flexibility and balance then you should have zero problem doing a squat sit. If you are unable to, then, again, there is the modified squat sit that nearly anyone can do. I don't mean to be critical, but instead of focusing on possible reasons why you might not be able to do it wouldn't your chances for progress be greater by trying out the more doable-looking of the tips that Ben Fury, Esther Gokhale, teachers of gentle yoga poses, and others have recommended?

Quote
If I was squatting how these women are or with my feet angled, I could probably hold that for about 5 minutes, That used to be part of a kundalini set I used to do.
Exactly, angling the feet with the toes pointing out is part of the proper form, which is why it is taught in the kundalini set. Note that the men in the photo you posted have their toes pointed out. 5 minutes is an excellent start!

Quote
but, perhaps one can strengthen those remaining muscles, or become further 'open' through diet/yoga etc...
Yes, for example, my own balance and flexibility have improved greatly since I went VLC, which has improved my ability to do yoga poses, but I still have a ways to go. Even if I don't improve any further, at least I can work on maintaining the improved balance and flexibility I have attained.

Quote
griseled male pole squatters, what more could a woman want for her birthday.

:)

BTW, I'm not aware of anything wrong with balancing on the toes instead the full foot while squat sitting, like one of the fellows in that image you posted above. It actually requires more balance. I can do it on the toes of one foot, which is a yoga pose.
>"When some one eats an Epi paleo Rx template and follows the rules of circadian biology they get plenty of starches when they are available three out of the four seasons." -Jack Kruse, MD
>"I recommend 20 percent of calories from carbs, depending on the size of the person" -Ron Rosedale, MD (in other words, NOT zero carbs) http://preview.tinyurl.com/6ogtan
>Finding a diet you can tolerate is not the same as fixing what's wrong. -Tim Steele
Beware of problems from chronic Very Low Carb

Offline KD

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Re: Cant do asian squat!
« Reply #18 on: May 29, 2010, 10:33:50 am »
I don't mean to be critical, but instead of focusing on possible reasons why you might not be able to do it wouldn't your chances for progress be greater by trying out the more doable-looking of the tips that Ben Fury, Esther Gokhale, teachers of gentle yoga poses, and others have recommended?


Well, I wouldn't be insulted anyway but I still don't think you get what I am saying



here is the variation that I do, although this guy seems to do the same with his feet. For me, when I do these I have no problem keeping my feet perfectly flat. I can also keep my feet flat and do other poses like downward dog etc..that many people cannot do, and can reach mover my toes and grab my heals, which is not bad for having really long legs. But, they seem to present a problem for full asian squat in which this exact part of the feet feels very tense as I cannot lean forward easily, even thought i can fully engage with the posture otherwise. I bet many people can squat that arn't as flexible. I've done about a million of these bodyweight squats, and what i'm saying is, at the very most bottom out, which you can see on the slow mo or pause, its completely different physical posture to the way the man is sitting on the right, notice his feet position as well. I can hold this bottomed position, but it requires tons of leg strength, the asian man however he is not engaging these muscles at all.

I agree that many types of exercises, diet, yoga etc...have/can be beneficial and agree nothing but benefit will happen from continuted trying, but I think this is one case where physical makeup factors in quite heavily.

Offline PaleoPhil

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Re: Cant do asian squat!
« Reply #19 on: May 29, 2010, 11:42:44 am »
...I've done about a million of these bodyweight squats, and what i'm saying is, at the very most bottom out, which you can see on the slow mo or pause, its completely different physical posture to the way the man is sitting on the right, notice his feet position as well. I can hold this bottomed position, but it requires tons of leg strength, the asian man however he is not engaging these muscles at all.

Here is the bottom of this fellow's Hindu squat:





The only relevant differences I see are that his heels are raised, the butt is higher and the knees therefore lower and the toes are not quite as open, though they do also point outward. If he lowered his heels he would have a full Asian squat, so based on that it sounds like either the achilles area and/or balance is the key issue for you, yes? When I raise my heels and butt like that it engages my muscles and requires some strength and constant micro-adjustments to avoid tipping over. When I sit in full squat it relaxes my muscles and requires little or no strength or balance adjustment. When you try the full squat sit do you feel tension anywhere? Which muscles do you feel being used? Do you have any idea why you can't get your arms over your knees?

Quote
I agree that many types of exercises, diet, yoga etc...have/can be beneficial and agree nothing but benefit will happen from continuted trying, but I think this is one case where physical makeup factors in quite heavily.

By physical makeup do you mean permanent, unchanging makeup? If so, then I guess you answered your original question:

Anyone know what I might be doing incorectly? Tips? Tricks? Anything.

If it's mostly unchangeable makeup, which is possible, then no tips or tricks that one can give you will help much, right?
>"When some one eats an Epi paleo Rx template and follows the rules of circadian biology they get plenty of starches when they are available three out of the four seasons." -Jack Kruse, MD
>"I recommend 20 percent of calories from carbs, depending on the size of the person" -Ron Rosedale, MD (in other words, NOT zero carbs) http://preview.tinyurl.com/6ogtan
>Finding a diet you can tolerate is not the same as fixing what's wrong. -Tim Steele
Beware of problems from chronic Very Low Carb

Offline KD

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Re: Cant do asian squat!
« Reply #20 on: May 29, 2010, 12:04:18 pm »

The only relevant differences I see are that his heels are raised, the butt is higher and the knees therefore lower and the toes are not quite as open, though they do also point outward. If he lowered his heels he would have a full Asian squat, so based on that it sounds like either the achilles area and/or balance is the key issue for you, yes?

Well, we'll have to disagree on that. from my viewpoint, and the angle of his back, if his heel were to go any further down without any adjustment he would simply rock backwards. for me the tension is 100% in my feet, because my back, unlike the man I posted can not cannot curl over my high knees, and thus my feet, and to some degree my stomach, anchor my back from falling backwards.

if I put my feet closer, and raise my heels just slightly, sure I might be able to hold that for a very long time, but it would require some effort on balance. I don't really consider that a squat but a crouch. I've also been squatting 95% of all elimination for years, which is very beneficial, although that is more of a crouch as well


By physical makeup do you mean permanent, unchanging makeup? If so, then I guess you answered your original question:
If it's mostly unchangeable makeup, which is possible, then no tips or tricks that one can give you will help much, right?

It wasn't my question, I chimed in not to disagree with any info about helpful tips on improving squats, only to say that for some people that are taller they might experience problems if their torso isn't long enough to actually pivot over their knees. I probably wouldn't say this about any other physical feat, headstands, one arm pull-ups etc...but if one was to stretch the Asian man's legs outwards, you would see also how his back would have to straiten back.

Offline PaleoPhil

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Re: Cant do asian squat!
« Reply #21 on: May 31, 2010, 04:43:22 am »
Other people have reported that Ben Fury's and Esther Gokhale's tips helped them. If they don't help you, that's unfortunate, but I'm not going to argue about it with you. The tips are there for people to try or not, it's up to the individual, and I don't recommend trying to force things and possibly injure oneself. Those who have great difficulty doing a single full squat sit may need to take extra care. Good luck!
>"When some one eats an Epi paleo Rx template and follows the rules of circadian biology they get plenty of starches when they are available three out of the four seasons." -Jack Kruse, MD
>"I recommend 20 percent of calories from carbs, depending on the size of the person" -Ron Rosedale, MD (in other words, NOT zero carbs) http://preview.tinyurl.com/6ogtan
>Finding a diet you can tolerate is not the same as fixing what's wrong. -Tim Steele
Beware of problems from chronic Very Low Carb

Offline KD

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Re: Cant do asian squat!
« Reply #22 on: May 31, 2010, 05:53:14 am »
Phil, my first response which came way late into the thread was only to counter your original response to the OP, who reiterated that when he tried to do a full (Asian) squat, he fell backwards. You replied with a bunch of info on how to do bodyweight squatting exercises, which as I've tried to explain are 100% different, although I agree that one can benefit the other. For some reason you got it into your head that I was one in the same with the original poster, and was incapable of doing a squat bodyweight or otherwise. I'm actually capable of doing a full on feet flat Asian squat like the man on the right, but it is not at all comfortable or sustainable because of my leg length (at only 6'), whereas for the Asian man it requires 0 effort.  What I am saying is its made complicated by body height especially, also someone who is very overmuscled or overweight or in some cases underheight (say especially like a midget) would NOT be able to execute a full Asian squat no matter how many bodyweight squats they can do. Picture Shaquille O'Neal  in the backseat of a small vehicle, then picture him trying to elevate his ass of the ground without engaging his legs.


Quote
Ben Fury
Quote from: MetalMama on May 22, 2010, 09:26:46 AM
Just an update - widened my stance quite a bit on the squats and shifted my toes outward - made it so much easier to do. Used swinging arms and no longer feel off balance at all.
-
There you go! Sound like an improvement all right. You're feeling the fact that you're now getting your adductors and hamstrings into the exercise.

Asian squats employ no such muscle groups, its like sitting on a chair for them. Ironically, if I put my legs closer together, I can actually rest my arms over my knees, but it would not be practical for things like eating.

Offline djr_81

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Re: Cant do asian squat!
« Reply #23 on: May 31, 2010, 06:06:26 am »
I'm actually capable of doing a full on feet flat Asian squat like the man on the right, but it is not at all comfortable or sustainable because of my leg length (at only 6'), whereas for the Asian man it requires 0 effort.  What I am saying is its made complicated by body height especially, also someone who is very overmuscled or overweight or in some cases underheight (say especially like a midget) would NOT be able to execute a full Asian squat no matter how many bodyweight squats they can do. Picture Shaquille O'Neal  in the backseat of a small vehicle, then picture him trying to elevate his ass of the ground without engaging his legs.
I spent almost an hour "Asian squatting" yesterday without much difficulty (we had a BBQ for my wife's family and were short on chairs). I'm 6'-3" with a 34" inseam. Height may complicate things some but I think it's influence is much less than things like musculature, flexibility, balance, etc.
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Offline KD

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Re: Cant do asian squat!
« Reply #24 on: May 31, 2010, 07:01:03 am »
I spent almost an hour "Asian squatting" yesterday without much difficulty (we had a BBQ for my wife's family and were short on chairs). I'm 6'-3" with a 34" inseam. Height may complicate things some but I think it's influence is much less than things like musculature, flexibility, balance, etc.


do you have a pic? exactly like this?
http://www.rawpaleoforum.com/exercisebodybuilding/paul-chek-on-squating-and-your-digestive-system/msg28668/#msg28668

I do agree, my original comment was just that it was a factor, never that it couldn't be corrected for many body-types. I do disagree about musculature, because many people can squat or do calf raises at super high weights and I doubt it helps them any. FWIW my inseem is 35" at 6'0 so the ratio is a bit differnt. If one was to superimpose me on this man here, tucking my arms over my knees and therefore back posture and balance is affected by length.