Here’s my guide to performing a Hindu Push Up, also known as a Dand, or Indian Push Up. It’s a great exercise that will help you build strength, flexibility and cardiovascular health. It is one of the most directly yoga inspired moves in the calisthenics repertoire and offers holistic health and fitness benefits.
Table of Contents
1. Background and Benefits of the Hindu Push Up
The Hindu push up is thought to originate in India. It draws on traditional yoga techniques and is known as a popular exercise among Indian wrestlers. In fact, wrestlers on the sub-continent are still using the exercise today in order to get in shape for combat.
The Hindu push up is a compound movement that engages the major muscles in the legs, arms, back, chest, shoulders and the abdominal muscles. As such it is a great exercise for building holistic strength of the kind we aim for in calisthenics.
Due to the deep yogic breathing that is required to complete this exercise properly it is also beneficial for your heart and cardiovascular system. It is also thought to increase stamina and sex drive! Not a bad added bonus for doing a push up.
The Hindu push up is not to be confused with the Dive Bomber push up. The difference being that a Hindu push up does not require you to push back with your arms, bending your elbows for a second time. Instead, you simply return to starting position – you will see what I mean once you finish reading the ‘how to’ section below.
The difference that defines the Hindu push up offers some additional benefits not available with the dive bomber. Namely, increased flexibility in the shoulders and a more regular breathing pattern that is necessary for the heart and cardiovascular benefits mentioned earlier.
This bodyweight exercise is a brilliant example of where calisthenics draws on the ancient knowledge of yoga to create a more holistic, functional strength. To achieve this form of strength you cannot only focus on the obvious muscle groups. You must also take into account the role your internal organs play. Building organ strength is just as important because if they don’t function properly, neither will your arms and legs!
Now your convinced of the benefits of the Hindu push up, I’m sure you’re desperate to know how to do it! Well, the wait is over, here’s how:
2. How to do a Hindu Push Up
Step 1: Starting Position, Downward Dog
To begin, take up position in downward dog. A well-known yoga position, downward down requires you to place your hand out in front of you, bending at the hips. Try to keep you feet flat on the floor. This might be hard if you have tense hamstrings. If this is the case, you can lift your heels slightly and bend a little at the knees (as seen in the picture below). The key here is to create a flat back. A flat back is far more important than having your feet flat on the floor, so make sure your focus is on your back. Inhale and prepare for the second step.
Step 2: Movement
Once you are in downward dog, push forward, letting your head lead your body. Keep you back flat and bend your arms at the elbows. As you slide your body forward do not let your chest or knees touch the ground. Balance on your toes and use your arms and shoulders to propel you forward.
Step 3: Final Position
When you find yourself fully extended, with elbows bent at a 90 degree angle, you hips up, balancing on your toes – essentially the position you would find your self halfway though completing an ordinary push up – push up on your hands and raise your head and chest. Extend your arms until they are straight and make sure you are looking straight ahead. This position is known as the upward facing dog in yoga. Be sure to avoid resting your pelvis on the ground at this point. It should be raised from the floor at all times during the Hindu push up. In upward facing dog, exhale and prepare for the final step.
Step 4: Return to Start
Once you have completed the movement, lift at the hips, bringing your body up and into downward dog.
And there you have it, a complete guide to performing the Hindu push up. Now go and try it!
3. Benefits of the Hindu Push Up in Detail