As a young dude, you learned the proper stance to swing a baseball bat and shoot free throws. But chances are your old man dropped the ball when it came to teaching you the proper stance to poop.
To be fair, we can’t blame past generations for their misguidance. They did their best with the resources they had. But now it’s the 21st century, and you have an opportunity to crap more efficiently than your ancestors could ever dream of.
If you’re like most Americans, you sit when you poop. But a growing body of research shows that sitting prevents you from fully emptying your bowels, makes you strain, and even increases the amount of time you spend on the toilet.
It turns out the best position to poop is popping a squat. In this article, we’ll show you why squatting is the most efficient position for defecation and why sitting is doing your dumps a huge disservice.
What’s the Best Position to Poop?
Most gastroenterologists agree that squatting is by far the best position to poop. When you squat, the angle of your anorectal canal straightens out, giving the poop an easy exit out of your butt.
Squatting may not be the most practical position to poop, assuming you don’t perch yourself on the toilet or hover over a hole in the ground. Luckily, you can recreate the effect of squatting by elevating your knees over your hips when you sit. This un-kinks your colon so poop can escape more efficiently.
This isn’t some New Age health theory—here’s scientific proof that squatting is the best position to poop:
- A 2019 study in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology found that using a “defecation posture modification device” (AKA a toilet stool) resulted in increased bowel emptiness, less straining, and faster bowel movements compared to sitting.
- Another study in Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms concluded that squatting reduces straining during defecation, thanks to widening the “anorectal angle.”
Despite these obvious advantages, Americans aren’t jumping (or squatting) on the bandwagon.
“While squatting for defecation continues to be the traditional position in populations of Asia (including Japan, Korea and China) and Africa, Western populations have become accustomed to sitting on toilet seats,” the 2019 study notes.
But it’s not the average American’s fault for relying on sub-optimal pooping positions. Doctors themselves are steering folks the wrong way.
“Many physicians have expressed doubts about convincing the public to even discuss, much less alter, such an unmentionable bodily function,” says medical researcher Jonathan Isbit.
How Sitting Sabotages Your Bowel Movements
When you sit upright on the toilet, your anorectal canal shortens. This forces your poop to make a nearly 90-degree turn to make its way out of your colon. That means you have to push the poo out of your rectum, rather than letting it fall out effortlessly.
Think of your anal canal like a garden hose: When you bend it at a 90-degree angle, the water just dribbles out of the nozzle. But when you eliminate the kinks, the water blasts out freely.
According to Techniques in Coloproctology, “The sitting toilet posture defeats the purpose of [the anorectal canal’s] brilliant design—like trying to drive a car without releasing the parking brake.”
Sitting to poop isn’t just inconvenient—it can also lead to gut health issues. For starters, if you don’t empty the tank, you increase your risk for chronic constipation. Further, all that straining on the toilet can lead to hemorrhoids: swollen, inflamed veins in your anus.
Try a Toilet Stool Next Time You Poop
Squatting down ass to grass isn’t realistic for the modern pooper. The next best option is to invest in a foot stool that flexes your hips and elevates your knees on the toilet. Devices like this simulate the squatting position and relax your pelvic floor muscles, according to the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology.
Of course, you don’t have to buy a fancy toilet stool. The only thing that really matters is the degree of elevation. The original Squatty Potty is 9 inches high. You can replicate that effect by resting your feet on a stack of books you’ve never read, by stacking a couple of shoe boxes, or by using a regular old footstool.
Another way to increase your rectoanal angle is to lean forward to create the “Thinker” position. The Cleveland Clinic found the Thinker position increased the rectoanal angle to a whopping 130 degrees—which is even better than elevating your feet.
What’s the Worst Position to Poop?
After doing such extensive research into the best position for pooping, we couldn’t help but wonder: Is there a worst position to take a dump?
After some digging, we found a study that provided an answer: The worst position to poop is lying flat on your back. This increases the amount of muscle activity required to push out your turds.
Shockingly, a 2015 clinical trial published in Nursing Research found that pooping is the most common activity being performed at the time of death. Apparently, the spike in blood pressure in your heart and brain when you strain is linked to sudden death with heart attack and stroke.
Squat or Sit, We’ll Clean Your Sh*t
It’s a free country, which means you can poop however you damn well please. Butt don’t say we didn’t encourage you to pop a squat next time you need to start the fudge shuttle. Either way, we’re happy to wipe up the mess you leave behind on your behind. Grab a pack of DUDE Wipes and thank us later.