Soccer requires great strength and stamina in the legs. There are countless ways to develop and condition the legs for soccer, but one of the best are Hindu squats.
I don’t think many soccer coaches or parents know this variation of the squat. I first heard of them from Matt Furey, a fitness expert who works mostly with combat athletes.
Since then I’ve experimented on myself and my youth athletes and I agree with Matt. They are excellent for strength, balance and endurance. There is an incredible cardiovascular benefit as well.
As you can see from the picture that you go down much further than you do in typical squats.
The knees do go in front of the toes which is normal and correct. A lot of unknowing trainers say not to have the knees go in front but that is flat out wrong. Watch anyone jump or walk down steps and you can see that the knees do go in front of the toes.
Two other things to notice from the picture. First, they are done on the toes. This works on balance as well as strength. Some recommend to do it with flat feet. I feel that it takes some of the dynamic movement away from the exercise. It also requires more flexibility in the calves (which I don’t have!).
I’m not sure which is better. I recommend you experiment and find out which version you like.
The other point is the breathing and rapid fire of this exercise. Hindu squats should be done quickly…one breath for each cycle. As you go down, exhale and as you stand up, inhale. This means you will do about one every two seconds.
Hindu squats are demanding. I think they are great for U9 players. I wouldn’t do them with U6 players though they could be taught the movement and then do them very slow and with limited repetitions.
Start off doing them with only a few at a time. Ten is what I typically start a group with. Then I will increase the number of sets from two, up to five spaced out over a workout.
Personally, my teams have done as many as 30 at time…and they were about to drop and their form went to pieces. I know, that Matt Furey has mentioned doing 100s of them but I don’t recommend that for kids. My personal best was 60 in a row.
If you’re looking for an exercise that can be done inside or out, on the practice pitch or at home, then teaching your youth soccer players how to do Hindu squats is one of the best things you can do.
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