The Master Course on Push Ups
So if you don’t know, or you haven’t heard – listen up and let me tell you! We are in the process of creating and re-creating a Master Course on Push Ups. Everything you ever wanted to know about push ups. Every kind of push up, every variation of every kind of push up. Okay – maybe that’s overstating. It IS a master course on push ups, but let me rephrase it to, ‘every useable, real, variation,’ of every real, major style of push ups.
I classify the push up into seven styles:
Basic or military push ups
Swaying push ups
Loaded push ups
Explosive Push ups
One arm push ups
Special push ups
Hand Stand push ups
This particular part of the course is on the “Swaying,” push up. People know this as the Hindu push up. People also call it a Dive Bomber push up or Judo push up. These are all names for what the Old English term was – The Swaying Floor Dip. Nobody today calls push ups, “Floor Dips,” so we’ll just stick with simple. The thing is – simple sure isn’t easy. Really each of the push ups I’ve mentioned is a very specific variation of the swaying push up.
What’s a swaying push up? People think of and see most push ups as hands on the floor and pushing the body straight up and down. The swaying push up takes the body through a Nike check arc, instead of straight motion. Walk into nearly any grappling place or look through any modern or ancient bodyweight training book and you’ll see this type of push up. It’s been done by the baddest dudes to walk the planet for thousands of years. It’s been done all over the planet. That by itself would be good enough reason to do it, but this isn’t just hollow tradition.
There are legitimate reasons these men did this – I’ll tell you more about that in a minute. First let me tell you how I learned the Hindu push up.
Let me transport you back to a magical time – 1996. Okay, that was a joke, but that really is when I learned the Hindu push up and I fell into a special place to learn it.
Today everyone has heard of the Hindu push up and the Hindu squat. This is primarily, because a guy named Matt Furey wrote a book called, Combat Conditioning. He wrote that book and everyone in the grappling world knows, and has heard of these exercises, because of a guy named Karl Gotch. Furey’s book becomes a best-seller and jump starts the bodyweight training revolution that’s in full swing right now. Gotch was considered the “God of Wrestling,” in Japan and created an organization that was during the grass roots time of modern MMA. The same time that Vale Tudo was going on in Brazil and the Gracies were introducing a brand new concept called the UFC to America.
At that time everything was underground. Fights were taking place in little gyms around the world, rules were off-on dodgy and totally unregulated. So for a short time I lost my mind. I saw the UFC back when you rented VHS cassettes from Blockbuster, inside an actual store and I thought, “Hmmm – I should do that.” So if you know me at all, especially on a personal level, you know that when I say that, it’s kind of a dangerous thing. See I lack the barrier most people have between, “Hmm – that would be cool,” to, “Okay, I’m actually going to do this.”
So the next day I called around (because there was no Google), there was internet, but it was just a call sign across the front of the TV screen in a commercial and everyone saying, “What’s ‘www.?” Three days later I’m taking my first class in Jiu Jitsu. A guy strolls into the class to train for a fight. So they asked me to stay after and roll. I really have no idea what I’m doing, but I’m a big strong guy and they can use me as a prep partner. This guy’s name is Dieuseul “Tiger” Berto. Not long after that he opens his own gym and all operations move over there to a place called Tiger’s World.
This becomes a pivotal point in my strength and conditioning career.
Up until then I’m really big and really strong, but I learn what most big strong guys find out quickly when you start to fight – I’m real dangerous for about a minute and then I’m real not-dangerous for the rest of the round. I get introduced to a totally new paradigm of strength and conditioning and a new set of exercises. This Hindu stuff. We start doing hundreds and thousands of reps of different types of bodyweight squats and these crazy different types of bodyweight push ups. I still keep lifting weights and so do all the other fighters there, but the experienced guys crank out reps of these like its nothing and they can fight all day. Well I’m not stupid – I see when someone has something good in the strength world that I don’t have and I figure out what I have to do to get it.
I really start to completely change my body and my conditioning and my ability to apply strength in unusual ways – One of the primary benefits of the Hindu Push up.
That’s when I hear the name, “Karl Gotch.” The guys tell me who he is and I find out that my friend Berto came up as a fighter through the Pancraese organization that Gotch helped create. Fought with legendary fighters there like Fujiwara and a guy I had just seen on tape named Ken Shamrock. So I start absorbing all this into what I’m already doing and it begins a life long change of things that become important to me in strength and conditioning.
Now it’s just as important to be able to manipulate my bodyweight through space, to be nimble, to have unending strength and endurance as it is to be able to lift something heavy one time. A whole new world opens. A year or two later I met Matt Furey the same weekend he met Karl Gotch. Furey becomes an internet sensation and writes Combat Conditioning. He likes what I’m doing with the combination of weights, bodyweight and strongman at the time and encourages me to get a website and write a book. My wife happens to be a technical wizard. I’m a caveman. She can manipulate a computer with whatever black magic she happens to use on it like a finely tooled machine. I can throw them a really long way and do a lot of push ups. She builds our first website and does all the technical work for my first book and VHS tape.
A couple years later I actually met Karl Gotch. He was… interesting, to say the least.
So why did I tell you that? Because I want you to know some important things. I learned about Hindu and swaying push ups from people at the original sources. I happen to be smart enough or blessed enough to see it was a good thing and I’ve been practicing them, refining them, learning, experimenting and even creating some new variations for nearly 18 years now. So I have some background to talk about this with authority.
However I’m not a content guy. Not in strength and conditioning. I see a thing and I get obsessed with it. I need to get inside it and understand it. I find out not only why it works, what it works and how to best do it, but what else can we do with it. Is there something someone hasn’t thought of here? Is there a way to make this harder or better? Is there a way to make it apply to different types of strength? Is there a way to get ridiculously, stupid, unheard of strong at it?
So – yeah – there is. I answered all those questions for myself and now I’m showing you.
The Hindu/swaying push up is a special thing. It does some unique things in the fitness world. Here’s a little bit of what it does:
- It actually works flexibility and strength at the same time (lots of stuff claims this, but very little does it)
- It highly involves as well as creates flexibility in the abdominals, hips and back
- It creates non-linear motion in a way that makes you strong outside of the box
- It makes your shoulders incredibly strong in a way that protects your rotator cuff because it forces the shoulder to track through an extended complete non-linear range
- It makes you better at the other, harder styles of push ups yet to come. You need to master this one to get ready for the other crazy stuff.
- It very possibly will explode your triceps, mine nearly blew out the skin on the back of my arm from the pump that they get doing these.
- It doesn’t seem to have the “bench press shoulder,” phenomenon. Meaning people who do super high reps of push ups or lots of bench presses or sometimes even things like boxers punching a heavy bag get irritation and overwork in the front of their shoulder. Even high reps of swaying push ups doesn’t seem to produce this.
- It works your legs more than you think. Try some of the one-leg variations we show and you’ll see just how hard your legs are contracting.
- It gets you great body awareness and the ability to start learning to move your body in unusual ways.
- It makes you strong. For me strength is paramount. Max strength as well as conditioned strength and these push ups can add to both.
Well, it’s the real deal. I show you exactly what the different types of swaying push ups are, what the differences are and how you can do them. We’ve also applied my Push Up Matrix concept to the swaying push up. The push up matrix is a logical way to vary your hand, body and feet position so that you work your entire upper body through the fullest possible range of motion that the hands and shoulders can move in. It’s not just doing the straight movement – it’s finding where you’re strong and where you’re weakest and changing that so any position you’re put in – you’ll be strong.
An added bonus here is that the Swaying Push up gives you another variable to play with. The angle of the arc you use. Some people will tell you there’s only one way to do this, but that isn’t historically consistent. If you study this movement and the different forms of it used around the world, you’ll literally see different arcing body movements. They tend to vary from region to region. The swaying push up performed in Iran/Persia appears to be different than the ones performed in Greece, India and Japan. There all good – why not learn them all? Why not really be strong in every possible direction? Get every bit of muscle you can and get every joint, ligament and tendon strong from every possible angle.
Then there’s more! The swaying push up also offers you some unique opportunities to raise or lower the hands and feet to add more angles, more strength and more muscle. How about explosive Hindu push ups? Behind the back clapping dive bombers. One arm clapping Hindu push ups. Hindu push ups with load like a weighted vest or cable resistance or even a partner on your back. How about a one arm-one leg dive bomber, which is a crazy feat of strength and absolutely amazing training. It’s all here.
In fact we have more than 40 variations of the swaying push up. Things that’ll make you strong, work every part of the body, add slabs of muscle to your chest shoulders and triceps and generally make you a tougher, more useful human. One who’s really as strong as they look.
So I’m going to give you the knowledge I spent years getting and the road map to get to your own greatest strength. I have access to any kind of strength and conditioning on this planet. There’s a reason I still choose to do push ups and why one of my favorites is the Hindu Push up. You want to test yourself against the ancient warriors around the world? Be able to train anywhere and look like a monster and play like a lion? Then do these exercises. Learn everything you can. Do them all and make yourself into what you want to be.