Below are three video demonstrations of the ancient Indian sport Mallakham. You can find background information at the following link:

Mallakham – A Great Traditional Ancient Art

I’m not only impressed by the physical displays seen below, but also with the fact that the sport’s history traces back to the 12th century. At that time, there was mention of Indian wrestlers exercising on wooden poles. Now, over 800 years later, there are plenty of knowledgeable athletes and coaches who have never heard of Mallakham. I’m guessing many who view this site have never seen such a thing. I myself have never exercised on such an apparatus, but am tempted to build something similar to try.

What I really like about studying this ancient sport is the reminder that exercise isn’t new. Strength isn’t new. Power isn’t new. Athleticism isn’t new. People have found ways to challenge and strengthen the body for hundreds of years.

Often times the discoveries from centuries ago are far more revolutionary than anything you’ll find today.

Thanks to Soss for passing along these links


  1. I fully agree Ross. Often we look back to go forward. What are these guys is really impressive. A flexible way to put together a great physical force is not seen today!
    > inverti

  2. wow, never seen anything like this before – quite impressive.

    please doN’t forget to tape and share you experiences when you get around to building a pole, Ross 🙂

  3. What struck me first, (or maybe second after the realization that pole dancing began in India) was that a lot of the moves seem analagous to certain grappling techniques, specifically leg locks in grappling. Looks a bit like a Wing Chun wooden dummy workout but for the legs and obviously with the added resistance due to gravity… badass!

  4. For those of you who are calling it pole dancing, it’s pole dancing + gymnastics, two challenges in one.

  5. Im adding a hanging mallakhamb to my outdoor gym im building. I’ll post some pictures when its all done.

  6. :0 !!! What?? Thats pretty cool, really something different from what i am used to see. Wish my girl could do that hahaha!!

  7. Hello Ross; my first post, but not my visit here, by any means. This is great work, and the first time I have seen it. We (at the Monkey Gym over here in Australia) are working on similar things, following Coach Sommer’s “Building the Gymnastic Body” routines—and it’s great to see that Mallakhamb is a mixture of all the strength moves in gymnastics (planche, flag, press to handstand, and so on) plus the leg locking techniques that others have mentioned, AND some high-end Yoga moves as well—all ten feet off the ground. And it is 600 years old…

    Truly, there is nothing new under the sun; and the net is bringing us all closer together. Thanks for this.

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