Hindu Pushups v. Dive Bomber Pushups ... Which Is Better?
The Hindu pushup, also known as dand is a staple exercise in the training routines of East Indian, Iranian, Turkish, Chinese and Japanese wrestlers. It is called "Hindu" because many believe it originated in India, where, even today in the "akhara" (wrestling sand pits) - you will see it being performed.
Legend has it that the Great Gama of India, who never lost once in 5000 matches, did 2,000 dands each day. These numbers are most likely grossly inflated - but the fact of the matter is that Gama did do this exercise daily and he was unstoppable. Combat athletes, such as wrestlers, martial artists, boxers and football players, who have adopted this exercise are experiencing similar results. The same can be said of the so-called "average" Joe or Jane, who simply wants to get into better shape fast.
Hindu pushups get you into incredible shape very fast because the entire body is engaged in the exercise, making it a compound movment hitting all the major muscle groups, including the legs, back, chest, shoulders, arms, hips and abdominals. In addition to this exercise hitting all the major muscle groups, it strengthens and tones the internal organs as well. Doing this exercise increases lung power, improves digestion and as many have discovered, increases sex drive and stamina. Because of the deep breathing that accompanies this movement, your heart and cardiovascular system receives a major benefit as well.
Hindu pushups can be done everyday, just like Hindu squats and bridging, the two other exercises that comprise The Royal Court of Combat Conditioning. Naturally, you do not want to max out each day on this exercise. Simply do enough to give yourself a great workout, then stop.
When seasoned athletes are first introduced to Hindu pushups, it is not uncommon to see them unable to do more than 25-straight repetitions. Even those who can bench press 400 pounds will quickly succumb to fatigue. You may be wondering why this is. There are many reasons, but the primary one is that the majority of people who train with weights do not have strength-endurance. They may have strength; they may have power - but they lack the ability to continually use their strength without fatigue. By regularly perfoming the Hindu pushups, all that will change. You will not only gain greater endurance, but strength, too.
There are some who have quipped, "After 25 repetitions of a bodyweight exercise, the only thing you're building is endurance." Yet, these comments are coming from people who live in the world of theory - not in the real world of functional strength. Many, many athletes who changed from a routine of weight training to Hindu squats, Hindu pushups and bridging, soon found that they were able to trounce those who used to beat them - and in each and every case, the people state that they have far more functional strength than ever before. It was not just endurance. It was strength AND endurance - as well as a heightened sense of one's body and energy field - one of the unspoken benefits of Hindu pushups that no one but Matt Furey talks about.
One of the biggest myths about Hindu push-ups is that they are the same as the Dive Bomber Pushup, often done in the military. Not true at all.
Many years ago, before Matt Furey learned the proper form for Hindu pushups, he thought they were the same, too. He discovered that he was wrong.
Even though Furey has taught the proper form for Hindu Pushups in his Combat Conditioning book and DVD's since 1999 - and even though hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world are now doing this style of pushup, including the military, the myth of these being "dive bombers" still persists. In fact, one of those ubiquitous Frequently Asked Questions is, "When I do Hindu pushups, do I bend my arms again after finishing the first part of the movement, or do I just push back to the start?"
The answer is: You simply push back to the start. You do NOT bend your arms a second time.
Therein lies the primary difference between the dand and the Dive-Bomber. When doing dive-bomber pushups, you bend your arms in the first part of the movement and once again in the second. No doubt, bending twice does cause more arm pump - but don't be misled into thinking that this makes them better than Hindu pushups. Not a chance.
Although the dive-bomber is a great way to do pushups, it is lacking because:
a. You don't get as much back bend. This means you will not improve flexibility with this style of pushup.
b. Your shoulders do not go through the same range of motion. Again, this results in less flexiblity improvement. And, it also results in less overall development of the shoulder muscles.
c. Last of all, because the range of motion of the dive bomber is limited, there is far less benefit to the body's internal organs as well as less in the way of heightened mental strength and development. When you perform Hindu pushups correctly, just like the downward and upward dog poses from Yoga, you open up the body's channels and meridians to receive more life force.
The above may sound a bit strange to you, but anyone who has done Hindu pushups for an extended period of time will tell you that they not only promote strength, endurance and flexibility - but peace of mind and a deep feeling of "connectedness" as well.
This is why it is critically important when doing the dand that you don't just focus on your muscles. You also focus on your breath and the sensations going on in the body.
Although you can and do get stronger from the Hindu pushup, never forget that the focus is not bodybuilding.
You know what I mean when I speak of bodybuilding, don't you? It's that greased up, shaved chest, flared lats, tanning booth bronzed skin, mirror-gazer sort of posed look. If you want to be a bodybuilder - go pump iron, take 'roids and get a mirror large enough to see yourself from every angle and direction. And in case someone is looking, be sure to flex and strut.
On the other hand, if you want functional strength and real internal power - focus your awareness on your breathing and a whole new universe will be revealed to you.
There are many variations of the Hindu pushup that Matt Furey teaches in his advanced courses, like Gama-Fitness, as well as in his seminars. Yet, the fact is that most who claim to be teaching the Hindu pushup make many glaringly obvious mistakes. Oftentimes, the legs are too wide. Or the hands are spread too far apart. Another problem is the position of the knees. They should NOT be touching the ground.
In regard to the arch in the spine, this is incredibly important. If you see someone doing a Hindu pushup without a decent arch in both his lower and upper spine, you know you are seeing lousy form. It is important that your body be loose and flexible as well as strong and that your spine is arched like a cobra.
Hindu pushups can be done consecutively, without rest, going from one repetition to the next. Or they can be done with a pause in the mid-range position. When done with a pause you will note a totally different feel as you can do isometric contractions that hit the entire body in a super-intense manner.
Many people often ask if they should do one set of the Hindu pushups to failure - or should they do multiple sets. There is no right or wrong answer to this question. Both methods are fine. Matt Furey often says that when you are first starting out, one set to failure makes sense for many because they cannot do more than a few repetitions. However, as you get rolling and can do more and more of this great exercise, you may want to break it up into sets of 25 or 50 repetitions.
In terms of your overall workout, especially if you're doing the Royal Court - you can play around with the order of exercises. In one workout you might start with Hindu pushups, followed by Hindu squats, followed by the bridge. The next day you may bridge first, followed by Hindu squats with Hindu pushups playing anchor. When you monkey around with a different order, you will quickly ascertain that there is a world of difference in how you feel, depending upon what exercises you do in which order.
Again, always, always, always pay attention to your breathing when doing Hindu pushups. As the saying goes, "Your breath is your power." It's a good idea to stay connected to it.
In Matt Furey's Combat Conditioning program he goes into much more detail on how to do Hindu Pushups.