How To Do Bodyweight Squats and Hindu Squats

by Caleb Lee on October 8, 2008

Squatting with your bodyweight is not just a beginner’s exercise. I recommend everyone become VERY familiar with bodyweight squats. They’re not just great for your legs, but virtually every muscle in your body is used as well.

The bodyweight squat is a key part of the DoubleYourGains Bodyweight Exercise Program because it’s one of the best exercises you can do. This article will teach you everything you need to know about how to do the bodyweight squat correctly.

What is a Bodyweight Squat?

Here’s the simple instructions:

  • Begin Standing – You simply stand up feet a little more than shoulder width apart, toes pointed 30 degrees out…
  • Squat down – pushing your butt out behind you, until you reach the desired depth (usually calves to hamstrings or “ass to grass”)…
  • Push Through Your Heels — and then extend your legs until your knees are straight again…

For a regular bodyweight squat you simply keep your feet flat and make sure to push through your heels on each rep. As you sit back into the squat it helps to keep your balance by allowing your arms to raise from your sides up to shoulder level, and then as you push through your heels to stand up again, forcefully pull your arms down from shoulder level to help you.

What is a Hindu Squat?

They’re called “deep knee bends” in India, and that’s the idea behind the hindu squats.

  • Start Standing – feet about shoulder width apart, feet pointed forwards…
  • Bend Your Knees — until you’re once again at rock bottom depth, coming up on the balls of your feet…
  • Push through balls of feet — until you’re standing up again.

The key difference between the regular bodyweight squat and hindu squat is your feet and your hand movements…

With hindu squats, instead of keeping your feet flat on the ground, as you squat down you will come up on the balls of your feet and then as you push through the balls of your feet to stand back up you will come back down onto your heels once you’ve reached the standing position.

As for the arm movement you will start with your hands on either side of your chest, elbows up and parallel to the ground and as you squat down you first pull back your elbows in a rowing motion, then extend your arms down your side (some people make a point to graze the ground with their fingertips) and then as you push through the balls of your feet to stand up again you pull back up again with your arms into the beginning rowing motion with your hands ending up at your chest again.

The video below is me doing first bodyweight squats, and then hindu squats with proper form:

As you can see, I’m doing the squats at a very rapid pace, this is the way they are supposed to be done. You can start off slow until you get the feel of the movements, but unlike squatting with weight, you don’t have to go slow on this exercise.

Because there is no external load, you generally have to do higher reps to get benefits from these exercises… although beginners will find it challenging to complete 5-10 reps with good form.

Once you can do 100 without stopping you’re doing pretty good, 500 is great, I got up to 365 before I got bored stopped working out exclusively with bodyweight exercises… but many people have done as many as 1,000 bodyweight squats.

The great gama was a legendary indian wrestler and it is said he did over 5,000 bethaks (hindu word for deep knee bends) every single day and was undefeated in over 15 years and over 5,000 estimated matches.

Why You Should Do Bodyweight Squats and Hindu Squats

There are tons of benefits to doing bodyweight (bw) squats…

  • Builds muscle – you’re hitting your legs hard which is great for growth hormone release and stimulates muscle building (and the other muscles are used as stabilizers)…
  • Stronger Legs – bodyweight squats strengthen your legs like no other, if you can crack off 100 at a rapid clip, then you’ll have virtually “never quit” legs…
  • Hip mobility – Squats help you build and maintain hip flexibility and mobility…
  • Knee strength – bodyweight squats (Hindu Squats especially) seem to build up the tendon strength around your knees…
  • Lung Power – because you eventually have to do lots of reps with bw squats you’ll find your cardio capacity increases as well (you do them fast)…
  • Burns fat - Along with being a great strength, endurance and cardio builder, you’ll find fat melting off your body as well…

How To Build Up The Flexibility To Do Bodyweight Squats

Some people cant reach the bottom position of the squat correctly. If this is you, then you need to do the following exercise each day to build up your hip mobility and flexibility…

  • Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart
  • Reach down and grab your toes, bending your knees as needed.
  • Your chest should be pointed forward, knees out and toes curled (just like bottom position of a squat).
  • Do 1-3 sets of 8-10 reps each day.

Key Things To Remember

  • Bodyweight squats work, you should do them
  • Work up to 100-200 non-stop reps before you start adding weight with the barbell squat
  • Go at a rapid pace for good cardio and fat loss benefits

If you’ve never done bodyweight or hindu squats start doing them today and watch your physique, athletic ability and overall health improve. If you need a good, balanced bodyweight exercise program to follow, check out the DoubleYourGains Bodyweight Exercise program.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

K G Rao March 16, 2009 at 4:20 pm

Would it be wrong to do the Hindu Squat on one’s toes right thro’ i.e. even when one rises up to the standing position? I feel it helps develp a sense of balance at same time as exercising all the muscles that get used with the Hindu squat.

Reply

Caleb Lee March 16, 2009 at 7:04 pm

@ KG: I don’t have any real advice re: that because I’ve never tried it… but I feel like you’d probably overwork certain muscle groups by staying on the toes the whole time instead of transferring to the heels towards the standing position. that’s just my opinion though because I’ve not tried it your way.

Reply

Temare July 27, 2009 at 8:17 pm

thank you for letting me join your clump . i am very grateful and hoping to achieve my goal

Reply

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