Man in Asian squat position featured image for blog post titled is Asian squat a workout

Is the Asian Squat a Workout? an Exercise? Or a Sitting Style?

The Asian squat is a frequent sitting style in many Asian countries. People in those countries quite often sit in this position not only when they are doing exercises but also when they are doing other daily routine tasks like eating, gardening, or waiting for a vehicle.  Despite its cultural significance, the Asian squat has many benefits as well, and many people do it during their workouts. So, the question arises, “Is the Asian Squat a Workout?”

Is the Asian Squat Even an Exercise?

two elderly people Asian squatting in a busy street
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Asian Squat works or targets multiple muscles (leg muscles, hip muscles, and back muscles) and multiple joints (knee joint, hip joint, and ankle joint), and it provides many benefits as well, which we’ll talk about later in this blog post. Since the Asian squat works on multiple muscle groups and joints simultaneously, we can categorize the Asian squat as a compound exercise. 

Now before going to our actual question, “Is the Asian Squat a workout?”  let’s see what is a compound exercise first 

What Is a Compound Exercise?

Simply put, a compound exercise is one that involves multiple muscle groups and multiple joints working together. Notice, when you do jump squats, deadlifts, bench presses, or lunges, you focus on more than one muscle group and joint at the same time, these are all compound exercises. These exercises are beneficial for building overall strength, improving cardiovascular health, and increasing dynamic flexibility.

Is the Asian Squat a Workout?

Now back to the question “Is the Asian squat a workout?” So the short answer to this question is NO that Asian squat is not a workout on its own, but it can be and should be included in a workout as a compound exercise. It is always a good idea to include a compound exercise during your workout routine.

Is It Really Important to Do a Compound Exercise in Your Workout Routine?

It is generally recommended to include at least one compound exercise in your workout routine for optimal results. Compound exercises provide the ability to engage many muscle groups and joints at once, resulting in faster and more significant strength improvements. If you create a workout routine that comprises compound exercises and isolation exercises, you can create a well-rounded workout regimen that can help you achieve your fitness objectives. For context Isolation exercises that target a specific muscle at a time, say, tricep kickbacks or bicep curls.

However, it is possible to complete a workout day, without doing a compound exercise. Isolation exercises are effective at targeting specific muscle groups.

The Asian squad targets multiple muscle groups and joints simultaneously let’s talk about which joints and muscles are being words during the Asian squat

Muscle Groups Targeted by the Asian Squat

As said earlier, the Asian squat is a compound exercise that works for multiple muscle groups at once. Following are the primary muscles that are targeted during an Asian squat.

Gluteal Muscles:

In simple words, muscles in your buttock. The first muscle group that is heavily engaged when you sit in an Asian squat is your “gluteal muscles”, which are more commonly called the glutes, and are made up of the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus. Forget about these; they are just fancy names for the muscles of your buttock. Glutes are responsible for hip extension and are heavily engaged during the Asian squat.


The back thigh muscles known as the hamstrings are made up of three long muscles. These muscles are found on the back side of your thighs. Hamstrings are responsible for knee flexion and are also heavily targeted during the Asian squat.


The quadriceps are the group of elongated muscles present on the front of your thighs. These are most commonly known as quotes. When you do an Asian squat, these are the muscles that are responsible for knee extension.

Rectus Abdominis:

The rectus abdominis, unfamiliar with this word? also known as the “six-pack” muscles, are responsible for trunk flexion and are engaged during the Asian squat to help maintain proper posture.

six packs illustration
six packs illustration from Wikimedia commons

Multifidus and Erector Spinae:

Multifidus and erector spinae are the muscles that are present on both sides of the spine at your back. The role of these muscles during the Asian squat is to help you keep your back straight to maintain good posture.

Erector Spinae
Image from

Core Muscles:

Core means the body’s center, and if you think of yourself as a vertical line, your body’s center would include your pelvis, lower back, hips, and stomach. Simply put, the muscles around the core are collectively called “core muscles.”

Now let’s talk about the joints worked during an Asian squat.

Joints Targeted by the Asian Squat

The Asian squat is a compound exercise that works on multiple joints at once. It targets the following joints:

Hip joints:

The hip joints (a difficult name for this is the femur-acetabulum joint) are responsible for hip flexion, extension, and rotation. These joints are heavily engaged during the Asian squat as you have to squat down deeper.

Knee joints:

These joints are heavily engaged during the Asian squat since you bend your knees to an extent greater than the other squat exercises.

Ankle joints:

The ankle joints, also known as the talocrural joint, are responsible for plantar flexion and dorsiflexion. These joints are also engaged during the Asian squat.


The spine is responsible for maintaining proper posture and stability. Another group of joints to help you with proper posture and stability during the Asian squat

Asian squats have many great benefits to your body, especially to your lower body and balance. Let’s talk about it.

The Asian squat can help improve the flexibility and mobility of all these joints and can help prevent injuries.

Benefits of the Asian Squat

The Asian squat, a simple-looking sitting posture, has many benefits to offer you. That is the reason that you should be including the Asian squat as a compound exercise in your workouts.

Improves Flexibility:

woman stretching her leg
Illustration from

First and foremost, the Asian squat improves flexibility, and that’s simply because you have to bend your knees, hips, and ankles at an extended angle, which is going to eventually improve your flexibility.

Improves Posture, Balance, and Body Awareness: 

For the Asian squat to do its job and provide all the benefits it promises, you have to do it properly with proper form and techniques. And when you try to do it with proper form you try to maintain balance during your squat, it is going to help you improve your balance and body awareness, along with your posture. 

Prevent knee and back pain:

Over time, the Asian squat can also help strengthen the muscles around the knee and back, which can help prevent pain in those areas. You should avoid doing Asian squats when you have a recent injury.

illustration of a painful knee
Illustration from

You can only get those benefits when you do it with the right form so let’s look at it in a quick tutorial on how you can do it in the Asian squad also we have a separate block post fully dedicated to performing in the Asian squat properly.

How to Do the Asian Squat

Stand erect, maintain your feet shoulder-width apart or a little wider, and point your toes forward as you begin the Asian squat.

Now bend your knees and hips to squat down. Make sure you are keeping your back straight and your heels level on the ground. Also, be sure your knees are straight and not buckling or extending.

Now, perform the Asian squat to the best of your ability.

As strength and flexibility increase, it is typically advised for novices to hold the Asian squat for increments of 30 seconds to 1 minute at a time. More seasoned individuals may maintain the squat for longer intervals, up to 2-3 minutes.


Wrapping up, the Asian squat is a compound exercise, and it is not a workout by itself. 

But the Asian squat is a wonderful compound exercise to incorporate into your routine, even though it is not a workout by itself. By simultaneously working several muscles and joints (compound exercise), the Asian squat helps to increase strength, flexibility, and injury prevention. It is a practical movement that may be used for everyday tasks. It also provides several health benefits, which makes the Asian squat a great complex exercise to incorporate into your workout regimen.