Find out why you should be doing the horse stance exercise for as little as 5 minutes weekly to see incredible benefits.
The horse stance, also known as Ma Bu, is a fundamental exercise in Chinese martial arts and is widely practised in disciplines such as Kung Fu and Tai Chi. It is a static standing position that helps develop lower body strength, stability, balance, and endurance.
Here’s how to perform the traditional horse stance:
- Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes pointing forward.
- Slowly bend your knees, keeping your back straight and upright.
- Lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Your knees should be directly above your ankles.
- Maintain a stable and balanced position, distributing your weight equally between both legs.
- Keep your torso upright and aligned, with your spine straight and your core engaged.
- Your arms can be positioned in various ways depending on the martial arts style or personal preference. Common arm positions include holding them in front of your chest, placing them on your hips, or extending them outward.
- Hold the horse stance for a specified duration, typically starting with shorter intervals and gradually increasing the time as you build strength and endurance.
- When you’re ready to finish, straighten your legs and stand up slowly.
The horse stance is a physically demanding exercise, particularly for beginners. It is crucial to be attentive to your body, begin with shorter durations, and progressively increase the intensity and duration of the exercise as you build strength and endurance. Maintaining proper form and alignment is essential to prevent strain or injury, so it is highly recommended to learn and practice under the supervision of a qualified instructor.
But why would you want to do the horse stance? For that answer, we turn to Adam Sinicki. Sinicki is known online as “The Bioneer.” He is a health and fitness writer, and a personal trainer and has gathered more than 700k subscribers on his YouTube Channel.
The Incredible Benefits of the Horse Stance
According to Sinicki, the horse stance can improve anyone’s fitness and how they feel and move, from gymgoers to athletes. The benefits will vary depending on how you perform it, what your goals are and which technique you use.
Performing this exercise regularly will first impact your squat mobility and strength. “I have more flexibility for kicks and for things like Cossack squats and I have less pain and more stability in my lower back, better engagement of the core and the glutes,” Sinicki explains.
Other benefits listed by the Bioneer are opening up the hips, strengthening the abductors, stretching the adductors, and developing strength endurance in the glutes, hamstrings, tendons, quads and core.
Sinicki explains different ways of doing the horse stance and which one is best for you. If you are just starting out, try to get 30 seconds in the correct position about 3 times a week and over time you will find it gets easier. Aim to add 10 seconds every other week.
He also talked about different goals for anyone who wants to add the horse stance to their training routine and how to apply their mind to it. See it all in the video below.
The horse stance is an isometric hold exercise. Isometric holds, also known as isometric exercises, are exercises where you hold a static position without any movement. These exercises offer several benefits for overall strength, stability, and muscular development. Here are some of the key benefits of isometric holds:
- Increased Strength: Isometric holds can help build strength by activating and engaging multiple muscle groups simultaneously. By maintaining a static position against resistance, you are effectively challenging your muscles, leading to strength gains.
- Improved Muscular Endurance: Isometric holds require you to sustain muscle contraction over an extended period. This helps improve muscular endurance, allowing you to hold positions or perform activities for longer durations without fatigue.
- Enhanced Stability and Balance: Isometric exercises engage your core muscles and promote stability and balance. By holding static positions, you develop a strong foundation and improve control over your body’s alignment.
- Joint Strength and Stability: Isometric holds help strengthen the muscles surrounding your joints, contributing to improved joint stability. This can be particularly beneficial for injury prevention and rehabilitation.
- Time Efficiency: Isometric holds can be an efficient way to incorporate strength training into your routine, as they can be done quickly and do not require extensive equipment or space.
- Plateau Breaking: Isometric exercises can be used to break through strength plateaus. By introducing a new type of training stimulus, isometric holds can challenge your muscles in a different way, helping you overcome performance plateaus.
- Accessibility: Isometric holds can be modified to suit various fitness levels and abilities. You can adjust the intensity of the exercise by altering the duration of the hold or the angle of the position, making them accessible to individuals with different levels of fitness or physical limitations.
Remember to perform isometric exercises with proper form and alignment to maximize their benefits and reduce the risk of injury. As with any exercise program, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or a qualified fitness instructor before starting a new regimen.