I am a big believer in bodyweight exercises, particularly the Hindu push-ups and Hindu squats. However, many people don’t even want to try Hindu squats because they believe that since the knee extends beyond the knee, this is dangerous. It will somehow “cut off the knees.”
I have no doubt that you want to treat your knees with care. The knee is a delicate joint and can be one of the most troublesome points for people (along with back pain). When you lose the cartilage in your knee, it is gone forever. I speak from experience about this. On the right side of my right knee there is a cartilage that is severely damaged. What happened to me?
Well, it certainly wasn’t the Hindu squats. I used to be a great runner and I suspect that all the “pavement hits” I did really wreck my knees. I also sprained my knee more than 20 years ago playing soccer in a park. I didn’t think about it at the time, but my doctor suspects this is where the initial damage occurred. So when it comes to knee pain and knee damage, I think I know something about it.
In my experience with Indian squats, they strengthen the knee. When I started this exercise there were some aches and pains, not to mention popping and clicking sounds. However, I took it easy and kept it up. After about a month of constant training (i.e. training every day), the pain seemed to go away. It took some time, but this type of bodyweight exercise, like all of them, not only strengthens the muscles and helps you build endurance, it also strengthens the ligaments and tendons. This is something that weight lifting does not do.
Some people have told me that baseball catchers have terrible knees. Supposedly, they got it from all the squats they do. This sounds like an old woman’s tale to me. The people who tell me this cannot offer the real names of any baseball catchers who believe this. Until they do, I will remain highly suspicious of this claim.
But there is another factor in my thinking here. The fact is, a good part of the world sits in the catcher position on a regular basis throughout their lives. If you’ve ever been to Asia, you’ll see people squatting like this all the time. I’m willing to bet that these people have much healthier knees and backs than Americans. If there was any truth to the “knee cut” theory, one would think there would be an epidemic of shooting knees in Asia. It just hasn’t happened.
In conclusion, in my experience, Indian squats do not hurt the knees. In fact, just the opposite. In fact, they can help you strengthen your knees and get rid of chronic knee pain. You just have to work on it.