The fitness world is ever-changing. One day a program or exercise is trending, and the next, it is old-fashioned and forgotten. However, the industry has been looking for inspiration and new techniques from ancient techniques over recent years. Perhaps this proves true of the adage that old is gold. One of the ancient techniques which is slowly finding its way into the fitness world is the classic Hindu squat. It is one of the best squat variations to upgrade your squatting game. But is it worth a try? Find out as we explore the benefits of the Hindu squat.
What Are Hindu Squats?
These squat variations originated from an ancient Indian wrestling technique. It involves swinging your arms and lifting your heels from the ground when getting into the squat position. However, this variation requires more balance and coordination, unlike the traditional squat (1).
It is considered an excellent exercise option for cardio workouts like HIIT routines, where you aim for high volumes of repetitions. This is because it tests your stability, breathing, balance, coordination, and shoulder mobility (2).
If you are on the hunt for a squat variation that supports high-intensity workouts, you may want to consider Hindu squats. That said, we urge you to talk to your doctor and trainer before adding this movement to your exercise program.
What Muscles Do Hindu Squats Target?
Hindu Squats Vs Normal Squats
A Hindu squat is highly identical to a bodyweight or regular squat. However, as mentioned earlier, the primary difference lies in the heel positioning when ascending from the squat.
Typically, your heels are firmly pressed on the floor when ascending in a regular squat. However, in an Indian squat, your heels are raised. Additionally, Hindu squats force the knee well over your toes, unlike the traditional squats (2). This means that they may not be ideal for individuals with knee injuries. Nevertheless, both of these moves effectively build lower body muscle strength.
How Do You Perform A Hindu Squat?
- Start in a standing position with your feet approximately or slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
- Gaze directly in front and stretch your arms straight in front of you.
- Inhale deeply and then pull your arms toward you as you start to slowly lower into a squat. Bend your knees and push your hips as if you are sitting. Be sure to squat until your hips are parallel to the ground or to your point of comfort.
- Swing your arms behind you as you reach full depth on your squat.
- In a regular squat, you need to firmly press your feet on the floor and drive through your heels to return to the standing position. However, you will raise your heels in a Hindu squat when returning to the upright position. Additionally, you will sweep your arms past your legs and in front of you as you stand.
- That counts as one rep. Repeat until you perform your desired number of reps.
Essential Tips To Take Note Of When Performing Hindu Squats
To help you master the correct technique of these squats, fitness gurus recommend taking note of these key pointers:
Maintaining A Slow And Controlled Pace
You may be tempted to perform this move at a quick pace, especially when fatigue kicks in. However, focus on quality over quantity. Perform a few reps in the correct form instead of many reps in the wrong form. You will know if you are going too fast when you start falling onto your heels during the eccentric phase of the squat (2).
Correct Body Positioning
The correct body positioning in a Hindu squat does not only mean keeping your back straight throughout the movement. It also means keeping your torso and chin up throughout the entire exercise.
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Are Hindu Squats Good Cardio?
Doing these exercises for an extended duration could count as a cardiovascular activity. That is based on the theory that the more they are performed, the more calories you burn. Calorie burning is equated with cardiovascular training or aerobic activities like running.
Growing Your Quads
Hindu squats are some exercises you should consider adding to your workout plan if you want to grow your quads. They put a tremendous amount of stress on your quads, above and beyond the stress experienced with a conventional squat.
This is achieved by shifting your weight onto your toes and your center of gravity forwards (3).
Hypertrophy refers to an increase and growth of muscle cells. It is mainly achieved through exercise, and primarily weight lifting exercises. Hindu squats can also develop muscle hypertrophy, especially if you perform high reps or incorporate weights like wrist weights (1).
Although this would be your best bet for increased hypertrophy, you are urged to consult before incorporating any weights. It would help if you remembered that the exercise is challenging, even before you add weight.
Improving Functional Fitness And Movement
Hindu squats are among the best squat variations in supporting functional fitness and movement. This is because they strengthen your lower body muscles and improve mobility in your hips, pelvic floor, and knees (3).
As you do these Indian squats, you will quickly realize that you must simultaneously move different muscles. For example, you have to swing your arms in front while lowering into a squat.
Similarly, it would help to swing your arms behind you as you raise your heels and lift your body to a standing stance. So, you will be required to be fully alert to keep all your body muscles under control (3).
Increasing Muscular Endurance
Hindu squats are very efficient in building muscular strength and endurance. They test the endurance of your lower body muscles, specifically your quads, as they are the most used muscles during the movement (3).
These squats will also increase muscular endurance in the other muscles they target, including your hamstrings and calves.
Aiding In Weight loss
Squats are considered a full-body workout that may help with numerous benefits, including weight loss. But the question remains, what are the Hindu squats’ weight loss effects, if any? For starters, evidence shows that doing Hindu squats can promote weight loss.
This is because when performed for an extended duration and with high reps, you torch calories. Additionally, you use more energy for these squats due to their explosive nature. Hindu squats may also promote weight loss by building muscle mass, which increases the number of calories you burn (3).
So with all these factors combined, you burn calories which may help you sustain a calorie deficit for weight loss. It would help if you remembered that weight loss is 20% exercise and 80% nutrition.
So, focus on clean eating and follow a nutritious weight loss diet plan for optimal results. It would be best to talk to your nutritionist before making any dietary changes. Additionally, get enough rest, drink enough water, and manage your stress levels, which also influence your weight loss results.
Balance is the foundation of any squat variation. Your joints ought to be balanced to ease the range of motion of the surrounding muscles. Additionally, being stable when performing Hindu squats minimizes injury risk.
Improving Blood Circulation
An Indian squat is one of the best exercises to enhance blood circulation throughout the body, primarily in your lower body. Due to the increased emphasis on your lower body muscles, there is an increase in testosterone levels that increase blood flow to these and other body muscles (1).
Hindu squats and pushups are performed concurrently due to their effectiveness in increasing agility. Agility refers to the ability to move quickly and easily. That is achieved due to the improved functional fitness and movement. Hindu pushups and squats improve your flexibility and posture due to agility training (3).
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Exercising with Hindu squats has also been linked to a better mood. Typically, your body releases the feel-good hormones that reduce your stress and anxiety levels when you exercise.
How Many Calories Do Hindu Squats Burn?
If you add this squat variation to your regime for weight loss, you may be interested in knowing the number of calories you burn. Well, there is no standard answer because a lot of factors come into play.
For example, the number of calories you burn may depend on the intensity of your squats. You burn more calories when performing weighted Hindu squats, unlike without weights. Additionally, the number of calories you burn may depend on the range of motion of your workout (3). You burn more calories when you perform these exercises for an extended duration.
Remember that you may experience a weight loss plateau if you perform these squats long term. You ought to change your fitness program and add exercises that further challenge your muscles in such a case. Be sure to talk to your trainer before adding a new activity to our regime.
Hindu Squats Risks
Unfortunately, Hindu squats can be hard on your knees, ankles, shoulders, hips, and back, even if you implement the correct technique. That said, it is advisable to avoid this exercise if you are weak in such body parts or experience knee or ankle pain. You may want to talk to your doctor before implementing Hindu squats in your workout routine.
The Bottom Line
Hindu squats are examples of exercises that target almost all your body muscles. However, unlike the traditional squat, this exercise is more challenging, meaning you need to take your time to learn the correct technique.
If performed correctly, Hindu squats benefit you by improving your balance, coordination, agility, functional fitness, muscular endurance, hypertrophy, and blood circulation. These complex exercises may also aid weight loss by helping you burn more calories.
It would help if you implemented other weight-loss strategies, such as getting enough rest and managing your stress levels. It would be best to talk to your doctor and trainer before adding these or other exercises to your workout plan.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- 100 Hindu Squats for Joe Rogan (2021, youtube.com)
- How to Perform the Hindu Squat (2014, youtube.com)
- Why Should You do the Hindu Squat? (2021, youtube.com)