The Hindu squat has been used by wrestlers in India as part of their strength and gymnastics training for hundreds of years.
Easy to do yet highly effective, Hindu squats are an excellent way to challenge yourself to learn a new exercise or change up your existing squat routine.
Read on to take a look at the benefits of Hindu squats, which muscles they target, and instructions for how to perform them. You’ll also learn tips for how to do them correctly, modifications to make them easier or harder, and ways to avoid injury.
The Hindu squat variation involves sweeping your arms out in front of you and raising your heels off the ground. This tests and improves your:
Hindu squats differ from regular squats in several ways. The biggest difference: They require you to have enough balance and coordination to both complete the movement and rise up onto your toes.
Doing Hindu squats helps you to gain an awareness of how your body moves and stays in balance. So, you’ll quickly learn how to properly align your body to maintain both balance and control.
Plus, as you shift your weight forward onto your toes, your center of gravity moves forward as well. This requires you to control your body and maintain stability throughout the exercise.
At the same time, the movement pattern of a Hindu squat improves your coordination. You’re not just performing a simple motion — you have to remember the sequence and teach your body to follow it.
This can even help improve how you perform other exercises, such as your jumping technique.
Hindu squats target muscles in your lower body and offer a wide range of benefits. Targeted muscles include your:
- hip flexors
What they improve
Hindu squats improve your:
To do a Hindu squat:
- Stand with your feet directly under your shoulders.
- Extend your arms straight out in front of your chest.
- On an inhale, lower your hips back and down toward the floor.
- At the same time, lift your heels off the floor and reach your arms behind you.
- Lengthen your spine and engage your core as you touch your hands to your heels. If you can’t reach them, it’s OK — just go as far as you can without straining.
- Pause for a moment in this position.
- On an exhale, push your body up to standing.
- At the same time, lower your heels to the floor and raise your arms, extending them in front of your chest so that you’re back in the starting position.
- Start slow — try about 5–10 squats to start, and adjust according to your comfort level.
Tips and variations
Here are a few tips to help you master the Hindu squat:
- Keep your body relaxed the entire time you’re performing the exercise.
- Gaze straight ahead and avoid looking down.
- Maintain proper posture throughout the exercise by keeping your spine straight and drawing your shoulders back and down.
- For added stability and to reduce pressure to your knees, stand with your feet slightly wider than your shoulders.
- If you have shoulder concerns, eliminate the arm movement.
- Make sure you can breathe smoothly and evenly the entire time.
- Once you master the form and technique, incorporate diaphragmatic breathing.
- To increase the difficulty, hold light weights or wear a resistance vest.
- For a challenge, do pulses or heel raises in the squat position.
While some people claim that Hindu squats are bad for your knees, the evidence to support this is completely anecdotal.
As long as you do them safely, Hindu squats can actually:
- improve knee health
- build strength
- prevent injury
But if you do have bad knees, you may need to take extra steps to protect them.
You may need to wear a knee brace or avoid squatting down all the way. You can use a chair or block to provide support. Either sit down on it as you lower down or tap it with your buttocks before returning to the starting position.
Place a block between your knees or a strap around your thighs to prevent your knees from opening too much to the sides or falling into the center. Keeping good alignment helps prevent additional stress on your hip, knee, and ankle joints.
Always talk to a doctor before starting any new exercise routine
Talk with your doctor before starting a new exercise routine. This is especially important if you’re new to exercise, take any medications, or have any health concerns, including injuries.
Stop exercising if you experience any pain, and talk with your doctor before resuming.
The Hindu squat is a simple yet effective exercise that you can do to build strength, balance, and coordination as you move toward your fitness goals.
Since these squats don’t require any equipment or a lot of space, you can easily slip them into your daily workout routine.
Start slowly and gradually work your way up to higher repetitions, stopping if you experience any pain. To stay motivated, change up your routine by experimenting with different modifications and variations.
You might consider reaching out to a personal trainer if you’d like professional help creating a fitness routine.