When discussing low-tech training strategies, one of the most common examples comes from the ancient wrestlers of India. Kushti, the traditional form of Indian wrestling, has existed for thousands of years. In fact, two of today’s popular bodyweight exercises originate from these wrestlers. Both Hindu pushups and squats (rightly known as dands and baithaks) have essentially become household names amongst exercise enthusiasts.
Even Bruce Lee was known to perform these exercises after studying the training habits of the legendary wrestler Gama. Below is an excerpt from Bruce Lee’s The Art of Expressing The Human Body. Lee was said to perform these exercises every other day.
As for additional Kushti training strategies, Vincent Giordano has created two DVDs that feature modern Indian wrestlers preparing for their sport. And while his DVDs have been discussed on my forum in previous years, Giordano has recently released several outtakes from the original footage.
Below you can see part 1.
Five additional clips can also be seen at the following links.
Part 2 – Part 3 – Part 4 – Part 5 – Part 6
As you will see throughout the footage, these wrestlers continue to thrive on an intense, yet basic form of training. They exercise with stones, clubs, calisthenics, and ropes. They also practice their sport regularly. Wrestling itself is a physically exhausting exercise.
Therefore, it is no surprise that the wrestlers seen throughout the clips are well trained, despite exercising in what many would consider a rudimentary environment. High-end equipment is nowhere to be found. If there was ever a case to be made for training with the basics, these wrestlers offer as good an example as any. The complexities that are so commonly argued by today’s trainers are nowhere to be found.
And while I am certainly not suggesting that we all train like Indian wrestlers, I believe it is useful to study athletes from different generations. Research involves much more than reading modern journals. It is difficult to improve on the past if you have not studied it. Plenty of coaches from today’s era would benefit by studying the habits of those from previous generations.
As for the average Joe’s who are looking to get in shape for every day life, these wrestlers offer yet another example of low-tech high-effect training that can be performed almost anywhere with almost anything (including nothing). Your ability to get in shape is not based on the equipment you use. It is based on your willingness to continually and diligently work with whatever is available.
“Use only that which works, and take it from any place you can find it.” – Bruce Lee
This video is pretty cool.its well known that these guys bust ass. I can never find any matches on youtube though. I’d love to see this intensity applied toward their actual tournaments.
I know this is a real late response, but you can try this
Looks like these guys get in their conditioning and exercise from digging the pits that they wrestle in to rope climbing, weight training, clubs, mace, calisthenics, wrestling, etc. These wrestlers must be in super shape.
It’s great to see Vincent Giordano’s remarkable work and the Indian Akhara way of training get the recognition it so rightly deserves ! The benefits , from the obvious strength n conditioning to the less mentioned benefits of ankle strengthening and proproception from training on unstable surfaces , the techniques found in the Akhara are second to none . To see practical mat application of the techniques learned or how this training can assist a combat athlete check out Olympic Silver and Bronze medalist and world champion , Sushil Kumar on youtube . There are several other notable Indian wrestlers atthe work and olympic level that have trained in the Akhara from childhood .
I would like to extend a warm thanks to Ross and the forum for helping in our bid to expand the awareness of the Kushti training methods. I appreciate Ross, Ken Theissen and http://www.stickgrappler.net for their continuous and unbridled support. The idea of the outtakes actually came from Ken’s prompting for more information and footage. When I have more time I will begin to further demonstrate the training methods for the old bare knuckle fighters of southeast asia and the vajra mushti training which extends the kushti methods by including sandbags and many other simple training devices.
For christopher and others who want to see current matches, check out my friend Deepak’s site at:
Dangal matches are also covered on the Physical Body 2.
We will continue our outtakes series and will include a special one on matches as well, right now I have up the new Outtakes Volume 7 on solo warm up exercises.
Thanks again for your continued support.
Ross thanks for these clips. Much appreciated. Motivational and positive as always….
many thanks for the physical body dvd’s ..i have owned a copy of the first one for many years,and have been inspired greatly by what i see! homemade indian clubs , a heavy(27 lb. )concrete mace and a lighter mace made out of a bowling ball and pipe from work are all pieces of equipment i have used thru out the last few years.my female training partner and i just finished a ‘deck of cards” workout last wed. featuring pushups and hindu squats..this is an amazing conditioning set that many have tryed with me ( all males who claim to workout)but only my female student/training partner and i have finished!! 18 &1/2 minutes after 100 kettlebell swings . this style of training is really all that is needed for the great majority of athletics and all other forms of ‘getting in shape”! once again thank you guys for bring it to us once again!
Great stuff, Ross. But, the question is what progrssion is used? They donÌ€t use very heavy weights, nor do they seem to train to failure like in HIIT. But, it is well known that these wrestlers train in very high volume calisthenics. So, how do they work up to such a high volume? What would be the route a beginner must follow to match their routine?
Progress takes care of itself when you are consistent and diligent. That’s the only secret behind the success of these individuals. Rather than getting lost in paralysis by analysis, they just show up and work (day after day).
Thank you – Just shared this post with a colleague who would benefit from reading this, really enjoyed it.