Monday, December 15, 2008

Hindu Pushups / Dands

I first came across this movement years ago in an article by Clarence Bass. When I first started exploring the internet, his was one of the first sites that I looked for.

I'd read all his books right back to the classic Ripped which I remember devouring as a student and adopting much of his diet and training approach.

Actually Bass' article introduced me to Matt Furey (!) and via him I found Dragon Door and Pavel's kettlebells and lots of other sites. And I suppose through Pavel I started reading things by and about Steve Maxwell. (Actually Bass has introduced me to several important figures in my training and thinking - he was the first to point to Art DeVany - here - and to Pavel.)

If you have never heard of Steve Maxwell, then you owe it to yourself to find out more. He is an inspiring trainer and martial artist. As you can see from the photo below, he has maintained a fit and efficient physique into his fifties.

His latest blog post gets us back to the Hindu Pushup. Strangely I'd not previously really noticed something basic that he points out:

You will notice there are three yogic postures passed through in each single rep:

1) downward facing dog
2) low plank/crocodile
3) upward facing dog

Indeed Steve's contention is that these yoga poses actually derive from this pushup rather than vice versa.

They are a good movement that:

strengthens the wrist; fingers; palms, neck; chest and back. It also increases flexibility and mobility in the back, hip flexors, hamstrings and calves.

Elsewhere Maxwell notes that:

Lengthening of the calves and hamstrings The all-important hamstrings, because of continual bent-leg positioning, become drastically shortened, along with the musculature of the calves. When the calf muscles are shortened and tight, a veritable cascade of problems occur in the ankles and feet, in turn transferring locomotive impact forces into the knees, hips and lower back. opening, i.e., lengthening the calf muscles is a priority in re-mediating these problems. A time-honored yoga asana, the downward-facing dog, is a thousands year-old counter-action.

There is a wealth of wisdom from Maxwell here.


msierchio said...

Wow, I haven't seen these in a long time. Hindu pushups were part of the warm-up for my Judo class, on Guam, in 1964. Very interesting, my instructor's sensei, whom he met in Japan while station there during the post-war occupation, taught this maneuver. I'm sure we all assumed it was Japanese!



Jay C said...

Thanks very much for posting this great all around exercise. Website is very good and I try to visit daily.

Have a great 2009.

Thanks again.

Western PA.

Anonymous said...

If you are one of the 2% of the population with glaucoma, watch out. The downward dog portion creates intra optic pressure spikes, which leads to optic nerve damage.
Also, Tamir Katz had some reservations about the grinding in the shoulders, I think some people WITHOUT vested $$$ interests in promoting Hindu Pushups might be a good source of information regarding these calisthenics.

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This guy is fantastic!Very interesting, my instructor's sensei, whom he met in Japan while station there during the post-war occupation

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