How to Build Explosive Power

Hindu Squats are an excellent bodyweight exercise that can be performed anywhere, and have tremendous strength and conditioning benefits. Also known as Bethaks, this variation on the traditional squat is believed to have originated in ancient India, and was used as one of the primary strength and conditioning exercises among some of the great Indian wrestlers. According to legend, Ghulam Muhammad, better known as The Great Gama, performed 500 Hindu Squats daily as part of his strength and conditioning program. To this day, The Great Gama is considered to be the greatest wrestler who ever lived, remaining undefeated through his entire career, which spanned nearly 50 years and 5,000 matches. In recent times, the Hindu Squat has grown particularly popular among those training in combat sports due to its dual benefits of explosive lower body power and incredible endurance building. Although they may look simple, try doing 100 in a row and you will quickly understand why they build such explosive power and endurance. Like any exercise, these benefits only apply if the exercise is performed correctly. Here is how they are done with some details:

  • With your feet set shoulder width apart extend your arms out from your chest parallel to the floor.
  • Breathe in deeply and begin to pull your arms back towards your chest, as if rowing a boat.
  • Keeping a straight back and good posture, begin squatting down as you simultaneously extend your arms downward and behind you in a swinging motion. Exhale out as you are moving downwards.
  • As you are squatting down raise your heels and come up on your toes.
  • Once your butt has reached the bottom of the movement, nearly touching your heels, push upward through your toes while swinging your arms forward and out.
  • Return to standing position with arms extended out from chest.
  • Breathing: inhale as you pull your arms in at the top of the motion and exhale as you lower your body. This goes against traditional breathing techniques used for squats.
  • Always keep your back as straight as possible throughout the entire movement.

Don’t expect to be able to keep up with The Great Gama’s 500 Hindu Squats a day right away. Start slowly, and work your way up in repetitions. Focus first on developing correct form and technique, and then begin to increase the speed and number of repetitions. For a visual demonstration of the Hindu Squat check out the below video by world-renowned fitness coach and Gracie Jiu Jitsu Black Belt Steve Maxwell.

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