Squatting is a posture where the weight of the body is on the feet (as with standing) but the knees are bent either fully (full or deep squat) or partially (partial, standing, half, semi, parallel or monkey squat). In contrast, sitting, involves taking the weight of the body, at least in part, on the buttocks against the ground or a horizontal object such as a chair seat. Crouching may involve squatting or kneeling. It is possible to squat with one leg and assume another position (such as kneeling) with the other leg. Among Chinese, Southeast Asian, and Eastern European adults, squatting often takes the place of sitting or standing.
- 1 Young children
- 2 Resting position
- 3 Childbirth position
- 4 Sexual position
- 5 Female urination position
- 6 Defecation position
- 7 Dynamic exercise
- 8 Yoga
- 9 Partial squat
- 10 Walking
- 11 Health effects
- 12 Squatting facets
- 13 See also
- 14 References
- 15 Further reading
- 16 External links
Young children squat instinctively as a continuous movement from standing up whenever they want to lower themselves to ground level. One- and two-year-olds can commonly be seen playing in a stable squatting position, with feet wide apart and bottom not quite touching the floor, although at first they need to hold onto something to stand up again.
Full squatting involves resting one's weight on the feet with the buttocks resting on the backs of the calves. It may be used as a posture for resting or working at ground level particularly where the ground is too dirty or wet to sit or kneel.
Most western adults cannot place their heels flat on the ground when squatting because of shortened Achilles tendons largely caused by habitually:
Engelmann's seminal work "Labor among primitive peoples" publicised the childbirth positions amongst primitive cultures to the Western world. They frequently use squatting, standing, kneeling and all fours positions, often in a sequence.
Various people have promoted the adoption of these alternative birthing positions, particularly squatting, for Western countries, such as Grantly Dick-Read, Janet Balaskas, Moysés Paciornik and Hugo Sabatino. The adoption of these alternative positions is also promoted by the natural childbirth movement.
The squatting position gives a greater increase of pressure in the pelvic cavity with minimal muscular effort. The birth canal will open 20 to 30% more in a squat than in any other position. It is recommended for the second stage of childbirth.
As most Western adults find it difficult to squat with heels down, compromises are often made such as putting a support under the elevated heels or another person supporting the squatter.
There are variations of the "cowgirl" sex position where the woman will be in a squatting position over the man, who is lying on his back, instead of kneeling over him. These are referred to by different names such as Asian cowgirl or frog squat position.
Female urination position
When not urinating into a toilet, squatting is the one way for a female to direct the urine stream (although many women find that they can do so standing up). If done this way, the urine will go forward downwards. Some females use one or both hands to focus the direction of the urine stream, which is more easily achieved while in the squatting position.
Acceptability of outdoor urination in a public place other than at a public urinal varies with the situation and with customs. In Western countries, males typically do this standing up, while females squat.
The squatting defecation posture involves squatting by standing with knees and hips sharply bent and the buttocks suspended near the ground. Squat toilets are designed to facilitate this posture. This is less common in the Western world.
In strength training, the squat is a full body exercise that trains primarily the muscles of the thighs, hips and buttocks, as well as strengthening the bones, ligaments and insertion of the tendons throughout the lower body. Squats are considered a vital exercise for increasing the strength and size of the legs and buttocks.
Upavesāsana (literally sitting down pose) also known as the Yoga Squat, is an asana. Its name is often confused with mālāsana, a similar pose practiced with the feet together and the arms bound around the back.
The asana is a squat with heels flat on the floor and hip-width apart (or slightly wider if necessary), toes pointing out on a diagonal. The torso is brought forward between the thighs, elbows are braced against the inside of the knees, and the hands press together in front of the chest in Añjali Mudrā.
A partial squat (also known as standing, half, semi, parallel) is an intermediate stage between standing and full squatting, that is, standing but with the knees bent. (In contrast, stooping involves bending at the waist rather than just the hips and knees). This may be used in a variety of contexts often as a "ready for action" posture:
- the batsman's posture in cricket when waiting for a delivery.
- waiting to receive a serve in tennis
- used in the Alexander technique, as "the monkey squat" also known as the "position of mechanical advantage"
- to avoid back strain it is important to bend the knees whenever you lift a heavy object.
- plié in ballet is a type of partial squat balanced on the toes only and the legs turned outwards. (The grand plié has the thighs parallel to the ground like a parallel squat or demi-plie where the thighs are at about a 45% angle to the ground).
- the parallel squat, often used in weight training, is just short of a full squat where the thighs are parallel to the ground.
- the most widely used martial arts stance is a shallow standing squat. This position is generally employed as it is a neutral and agile position from which both attacks and defences may be launched. It provides for the delivery of force when attacking and stability when defending.
- ready for action in sumo wrestling.
- Monkey Kung Fu a Chinese martial art which utilizes ape or monkey-like movements as part of its technique.
- a Besti squat is a figure skating move.
- twerking is "to dance to popular music in a sexually provocative manner involving thrusting hip movements and a low squatting stance".
- Garudasana and Utkatasana are partial squats in yoga asanas.
- Holding partial squat, especially for long time, has also been used as corporal punishment.
A lunge is a variation of the partial squat where a leg is moved forwards with the knee bent but the other remains straight thus moving the upper body forward in line with the bent knee. For example:
- the snooker playing posture
- the fencing lunge
- the lunge as a weight training or strength training exercise.
Stalking or prowling is essentially walking while in or close to a full squat. This is designed to be a walk that maintains a low profile.
||This article needs more medical references for verification or relies too heavily on primary sources. (April 2013)|
There is increased incidence of knee osteoarthritis amongst squatters who squat for hours a day for many years. There is evidence that sustained squatting may cause bilateral peroneal nerve palsy. A common name for this affliction is squatter's palsy although there may be reasons other than squatting for this to occur.
Tetralogy of Fallot
Older children will often squat during a Tetralogy of Fallot "tet spell". This increases systemic vascular resistance and allows for a temporary reversal of the shunt. It increases pressure on the left side of the heart, decreasing the right to left shunt thus decreasing the amount of deoxygenated blood entering the systemic circulation.
The existence of squatting facets on the distal tibia and talar articular surfaces of skeletons, which result from contact between the two bones during hyperdorsiflexion, have been used as markers to indicate if that person habitually squatted.
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