Hindu Pushups and Hindu Squats
Most people are familiar with the classic squats and pushups that you see performed in most gyms but there’s a new variation making the rounds, known as Hindu squats and Hindu pushups. Hindu squats, (known as bethaks), and Hindu pushups (known as dands) have been used by Indian wrestlers for decades. I first learned about these exercises from Matt Furey’s Combat Conditioning. While I find Furey’s products a bit overhyped, as a former wrestling and kung fu champion, he does know a few things about strength and endurance.
Hindu squats and Hindu pushups are a great addition to any bodyweight calisthenics program, as opposed to being methods used to build power, speed, endurance and strength, as Furey claims in Combat Conditioning. In order to get the most out of these exercises, high repetitions should be completed. If you are looking to maximize your strength gains, you should look more at a low repetition, heavy weight training routine, but Hindu squats and pushups will work your muscles in different and unique ways compared to traditional squat or pushup exercises, while improving your cardiovascular system as well.
A well-executed Hindu squat works the same muscles as the traditional squat, namely the calves, quads and hamstrings, as well as your lungs, hips and lower back. Stand with your hands pulled to your chest as you begin the Hindu squat. As you move into the squat position, extend your arms behind you, with your hands facing downwards toward the floor. Rise up on your toes as you near the bottom region of your squat. Then, as you extend your arms in front of you, propel your body upward at the same time. Then, just bring your hands back in to your chest and start your second repetition.
The motion used to complete a Hindu squat should be fluid, not forced. Additionally, breathing takes getting used to. Instead of inhaling when you descend and exhaling when you rise as you would for a traditional squat, you exhale as you descend and inhale as you stand up. One of the toughest cardiovascular workouts you’ll ever try will be to perform several Hindu squats without stopping. Matt Furey says 100 reps is a good goal; he claims to have done 2,000 straight…which pales in comparison to the 9,000 straight his mentor Karl Gotch performed over 4 ½ hours.
A variation on the traditional pushup, Hindu pushups involve a motion that includes arching the back. In addition to the arm and shoulder involvement, this arching helps to incorporate the hips and back. To begin performing your first Hindu pushup you need to get your body into the traditional pushup position. However, in this case, you need to stick your butt up in the air and spread your legs far apart. Your arms should now be fully extended. To perform one rep, bend your elbows and lower your hips, pushing through until your arms are straight once again. Your hips should be very close to the floor and you should be facing forward. Then, move back into the start position, while still keeping your arms straight. As with the Hindu squats, your Hindu pushups should be done in a very fluid motion.
You may have noticed that these are very similar to the dive bomber pushups though there is a slight difference. With a dive bomber pushup, you would bend your arms on the way back into the starting position, while the Hindu pushup requires straight arms throughout. While this does more to work your arms, it doesn’t provide the same flexibility training for your back and shoulders.
While Hindu squats and Hindu pushups won’t necessarily make your muscles tighter or increase your max lifts, they will undoubtedly increase your endurance and cardiovascular conditioning. These variations on two traditional bodyweight exercises will feel strange at first (maybe even make your muscles sore), but once you get the rhythm down, you can increase the speed of motion that will help provide a better cardiovascular workout. Overall, Hindu squats and Hindu pushups should improve both your flexibility and stamina.