The Hindu Squat has been a popular exercise for many a year and dates well back to the old school principles of training.
Traditionally this awesome, power building movement has been one of the very best Quad exercises to be done with the bodyweight only as resistance. Only in recent times have people adapted this to become the Hindu Kettlebell Squat, which is how most people are now used to the movment being performed.
The exercise itself was made famous by the Great Gama himself and even now most websites and exercise journals will quote how the Great Gama achieved awesome strength and muscular mass in the Legs by performing set after set of Hindu Squats.
As with all Squatting movements, the release of Human Growth Hormone is one of the more important benefits of the exercise and studies have shown that within the 24 hour period following a Squat workout that levels of Growth Homrone can be at an elevated state of upto 450% of normal levels in an Athlete. Needless to say an increase in Growth Hormone helps to stimulate Testosterone production which in turn increases muscle mass, explosive power and has even been shown to improve an athlete's immune system.
Why The Kettlebell Hindu Squat
As most people who perform Kettlebell workouts are always looking for ways to increase the difficulty of their training sessions, there is always a chance that an old classic exercise will get pulled from obscurity and given the Kettlebell makeover. The Hindu Squat has been no exception to that rule as Kettlebell enthusiasts have tweaked what was already an amazing exercise for getting stronger Legs and made it even better.
The original exercise was very simple but was one of the very best Quads exercises for building strength and muscular definition. Although modern body builders will often query how this could be seeing as this particular Legs exercise cannot really have the overload principle applied to it and therefore, what would encourage muscle growth? To a certain degree, that thought is absolutely correct but then again the Cheetah is the most explosive land Animal there is on the planet and I've never noticed them carrying heavier objects when sprinting after prey to improve their speed. The fact is that when looking to increase strength and power it is not always just a case of adding another plate to the bar, often the movement itself is the key to the result gained.
Although the movement has a lot to do with the development gained, I don't think many people will disagree with the importance of the overload principle in regards to gaining muscle mass and explosive power. With this being said, it appears that a weighted version of the Hindu Squat was always inevitable and is almost a result of evolution. The Hindu Squat + Kettlebell Exercises = The Kettlebell Hindu Squat.
The added weight that Kettlebells provide during this exercise encourages the fast twitch muscle fibre to engage in the movement. It sounds very simple in essence to engage the fast twitch muscle fibres into an exercise but is is somewhat more difficult than you could ever imagine. The fast twitch muscle fibres are reserved for the fight or flight element of our genetic make up, this is to say that these small in number but huge in potential fibres arereserved for when we need them the most.
If we are to perform sets of squats on a regular basis the major muscle groups in the Legs become accustomed to the workload and although Squats still remain a difficult exercsie to perform you will find that after a certain amount of training your physical and muscular development slowly grinds to a hault. For instance, when performing the traditional Barbell Squat we continue to get stronger for a certain period of time and then we find we often reach a level were we cannot get much more powerful or acquire any more muscle mass.
To engage the fast twitch muscle fibre during the Kettlebell Hindu Squat you are required to power upwards, this is the same with any variation of Squat. The powering upwards tells our Legs that something extra is needed as we are not simply lifting this weight but we are moving it with force, upon this message being sent from the Brain towards the Quads, Hamstrings and Glutes these large and potentially very powerful Muscle groups bring into play the fast twitch muscle fibres. The fast twitch muscle fibre engagement is what is required for truly remarkable strength gains in the Legs and building of impressive muscle mass.
When you think of an Athlete and you think of fast twitch muscle fibre the instant conclusion is the indoor 60 metre sprinters. The Tyson Gay's of this world are the perfect example of an athlete who can engage the fast twitch muscle fibre and results are devestating. Power, speed and massive muscularity are just a few of the results. Also consider the 60 metre sprinters and their downfalls, for example can they maintain that speed for 400 metres? The answer of course is no, so apply that very same principle to your Kettlebell workouts and especially when you are trying to get stronger Legs and performing the Hindu Squat, your working sets need to be explosive and short.
How To Perform The Kettlebell Hindu Squat
*Above is Steve Cotter performing the Kettlebell Hindu Squat from the 'racked' position*
1) The starting position of this exercise will depend on which variation of this Kettlebell exercise you are choosing to go with. So first of all either stand with the weights at Shoulder level in the Clean position or one in either hand, hanging at the side of your body
2) Keeping your Head, Chest and Shoulders up, maintain your Back in a straight position. The simply Squat downwards until your flexed Hamstrings are touchng your Calves as if you were sitting in an imaginary chair.
3) At the bottom of the movement you will be sitting very low and depending on which variation you have chosen to perfom your Kettlebells may or may not be resting on the floor. Now simply drive up using your entire posterior chain and engaging the fast twitch muscle fibres in the Quadriceps, Hamstrings and Glutes.
*Remember at all times keep the muscle groups in the Legs supporting the weight. Do not lean forward and put the weight onto the lower back muscles. At all times, as with all Kettlebell exercises keep the Abdominal wall contracted and tight. Power the weight upwards with force and speed to fully activate the fast twitch muscle fibres during the Kettlebell Hindu Squat*