Hindu squats and Hindu pushups are unique variations of the traditional bodyweight squats and 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.
Despite Furey’s claim that these exercises build strength, power, speed, and endurance, I find that Hindu squats and Hindu pushups are actually best treated as an addition to a bodyweight calisthenics program. These exercises are intended to be done with high reps. I’m a firm believer that low rep, heavy weight training maximizes strength gains, but have nothing against challenging exercises like Hindu squats and Hindu pushups that improve your cardiovascular system and work your muscles in a slighter different manner than their traditional counterparts.
Like traditional squats, Hindu squats work all the muscles in your legs (quads, hamstrings, calves) and also work your hips, lower back, and lungs as well. To perform a Hindu squat, you stand with your hands pulled into your chest. As you lower yourself to squat, extend your hands behind you (downward toward the floor). As you approach the bottom of your squat, raise up on your toes. Propel yourself upward, at the same time extending your arms in front of you. Bring your hands in toward your chest and begin a second rep.
A demonstration of Hindu squats:
The key to Hindu squats is that motion should be fluid. 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. Done without stopping, Hindu squats lead to a challenging cardiovascular workout. 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.
Hindu pushups are a variation on traditional pushups that involve an arching back motion. In addition to the arm and shoulder involvement, this arching helps to incorporate the hips and back. To perform a Hindu pushup, get in a pushup stance. However, spread your legs wide and stick your butt in the air. Your arms will be extended straight in front of you. To execute, bend your elbows, lower your hips, and push through until your arms are straight. Your hips should be very close to the floor and you should be facing forward. Keeping your arms straight, move back into the starting position. Once again, this movement should be relatively fluid.
A demonstration of Hindu pushups:
Hindu pushups are similar to dive bomber pushups with a subtle difference. Dive bomber pushups involve bending the arms again on the way back to the starting position. This provides more of an arm workout but reduces the back and shoulder flexibility benefits.
A demonstration of dive bomber pushups:
Benefits of Hindu Squats and Hindu Pushups
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.