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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Squats for the Masochist: Hindu Squats

(Remember: I'm not a doctor, so all standard disclaimers apply. Proceed at your own risk!)

Well... maybe you don't have to be a masochist to do these squats, but it helps. Hindu squats are deep knee bends that are done fast and long; some practitioners do these as an aerobic workout, pumping 'em out for 20 to 25 minutes at a time. In this case, one video is worth several thousand words!

Hindu squats are on the bleeding edge of fitness, where only hardcore fitness buffs go. Personally, I'd rather go 40 minutes on a rowing machine (which I did for several winters back in the 1980s) than do 10 minutes of Hindu squats... but to each his own.

The real key to Hindu squats is in the arms. Pay close attention to that rotary swing motion; it's what helps you keep your balance and your rhythm, and also helps make it an aerobic workout along the lines of a hard uphill run.

If you want to give them a try, I'd advise doing them S-L-O-W-E-R than the condemned prisoner athlete in the video. Inhale when you squat and exhale when you launch your body upward; it's much easier that way. And build up your reps slowly; doing too many Hindu squats too soon can result in the very knee problems you're trying to avoid.

While they're not my cup of tea, Hindu squats can be an extremely effective workout. I include them just to give you a taste of how demanding simple bodyweight exercises can be.

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