The Squat You’ve Been Missing
When you dig deep into the origins of comic book characters, you’ll discover interesting facts, some indirectly related to the character themselves. The Iron Fist’s roots, at least the original, can be traced back to Chinese martial arts. In fact, the Wushu style, which is a very real and active martial art in China, is one in which the essence of the Iron Fist was created.
Wushu is unique in that the form of conditioning steers away from any type of muscle building and even strength building protocols. One who practices Wushu must posses incredible endurance and the ability to generate power from each movement, without wasting any of it. Every punch, every turn, every leap must serve a purpose and be accurate.
Exercises such as hops, different types of abdominal exercises and varying forms of cardio are all integral components of a strong Wushu conditioning program. Squats are also a perfect exercise for building power, which is housed in the lower body. Speaking of squats, this is where this article takes an interesting and unexpected turn. There is a squat, which I’m sure you’ve heard of before, that you won’t find in workout plans and you won’t see anyone doing in gyms. In all honesty, I never once considered it an actual “exercise” until I experimented with it.
“The Asian Squat”
There was an online craze about this not too long ago. Challenges were conducted to see if anyone not Asian could actually do it. Some could, like me. Others couldn’t, like my wife. It became one of those “things” that comes and goes. However, there are some great benefits from this particular movement.
If you have bowel problems or trouble digesting food this is the movement for you. Because of the fact that your genitourinary tract and organs are in complete alignment with this movement, you’re more likely to experience an easier “output”. Hey, it’s the reason Asians use squat toilets.
In terms of exercise, and this is where it’s easy to see why if you ever wore the mask of the Iron Fist, you would want to incorporate these movements into your conditioning routine, it drastically improves flexibility. Unlike regular squats, the Asian squat forces you to drop your glutes practically all the way down to the ground. You’ll notice almost immediately that the movement from starting to ending position is less strenuous than that of the traditional squat but targets the same muscles such as the quads, glutes and hamstrings. The movement, however, is much more relaxed, which is why it’s beneficial as a means of stretching.
The challenge in this motion, and it’s why people were going nuts over this craze, was that in order to properly complete the Asian squat, your heels CANNOT come off the ground. The squat itself is much deeper than it’s traditional counterpart, which makes it tougher to keep your heels down. Remember, this is not generally considered an exercise. Most Asians sit in this position to relax. They eat, they read comics and they take breaks in this position. By having to concentrate more on keeping your heels from coming up off the ground, you’re forcing more involvement from your hamstrings and your core muscles (back and abs). If you suffer from bad posture, the involvement of these muscles will strengthen during this exercise, causing you to improve your overall posture much quicker than sitting in a chair.
I kid you not, adding this to your workout or even just incorporating this movement in place of constant sitting and standing will do you wonders. It may take a little practice and falls, but it’s worth trying to master the technique.
While I couldn’t say for sure that any of the Iron Fist’s have used this movement regularly in their every day training, I can tell you that if I were their Lei Kung I would make it a huge priority. Hmmm maybe I’ve already created a workout for the next Iron Fist.