While in high school I heard about a unique pushup that was used in India by champion wrestlers. Legend said that this pushups helped their athletes achieve incredible stamina, strength and power. Growing up in a small town in Iowa, my chances of finding how to do this exercise were practically nil.
It’s been nearly five years since I first Karl Gotch, the man who took me under his wing and taught me what he learned long ago in England from an Indian wrestler.
Karl was 75 years old when we first met and he still had the strength of a grizzly. He was known as the “God of Pro Wrestling” in Japan because of his awesome technical skill and perfect physique. Yet, Karl didn’t train with weights. He believed that real strength was achieved when you worked at mastering your own bodyweight from every conceivable position.
And the first exercise he taught me was the Hindu pushup.
Hindu pushups (dands) are an exercise that have been used by Indian wrestlers for centuries to build upper body strength and endurance. Hindu pushups greatly benefit wrestlers, martial artists and combat athletes in all sports, including football. And they are perfect for the "average" man or woman who wants to get fit fast.
Because of the ever-increasing number of shoulder injuries coming from the bench press and other weight training exercises - people find Hindu pushups to be the perfect exercise for building strong, powerful and stamina-driven shoulders, arms and pecs. After one week of this exercise, most people feel so much better, all around, that they forget weight training and stick with the core skill of mastering one's own bodyweight.
The legendary Great Gama, who reached a massively muscled 260 pounds at only 5'7" used this exercise daily in the early 1900's - and never lost once in 5,000 matches. He reportedly did 2,000 dands per day. Although these numbers are more than likely inflated, this same type of bodyweight calisthenic was also performed by the immortal Bruce Lee.
When done properly and combined with deep breathing, Hindu pushups build amazing lung power as well as incredible upper body strength and endurance. They also improve flexiblity in the shoulders and hips as well as the upper and lower back. For those who are used to regular pushups, you'll find these pushups to be quite a challenge. Even those who can bench press 400 pounds struggle with 25-straight Hindu pushups when they first begin.
It's essential that your form be correct on this movement, otherwise you will not reap the real benefits.
Some people claim that the "dive bomber" as seen in many military training programs, is the same as the Hindu pushup. Nothing could be further from the truth. The "dive bomber" essentially repeats the motion on the way down and the way up. Hindu pushups don't do this.
The "dive bomber" is a great exercise - but it isn't even close to as good as the Hindu pushup because you don't get the full shoulder, hips and spine stretch nor the upper body development. Additionally, when combined with the proper sequence of deep breathing, the Hindu pushup can lead to increased spiritual awareness.
When doing Hindu pushups, you simultaneously build strength, endurance and flexibility. This is not accomplished with other forms of exercise, making this method supreme.
Matt Furey is a world kung fu champion and national collegiate wrestling champion. His best-selling book, Combat Conditioning, has changed the way hundreds of thousands of people exercise each day. For more information on Matt Furey products and programs, go to http://www.mattfurey.com