Modern gym culture sees human body as a bunch of compartments of muscles. But wars are not fought just by muscles, but blood and guts. Human muscles are ensheathed under fascias – no muscle compartment is constant. Muscles adapt according to the functional requirement. The one who masters adaptation wins.
“Be Water, My Friend. Empty your mind. Be formless, shapeless, like water. You put water into a cup, it becomes the cup.”– Bruce Lee
But there is one fundamental constituent of the universe, which is above the cup (earth), water and fiercer than fire. It is ether. The gateway to ether is air. The human access code to air is breath.
There is one magical exercise that not only teaches you to master breath, but ether as well. Resultantly it makes you the master of all. Strength, speed, agility, endurance and yes, the much coveted aesthetic physique.
In Ramayan, one of the most celebrated and well known scripture of Hinduism, we get access to the knowledge about a warrior with unparalleled strength – Hanuman. The Lord of Wind tells him –
मनसा अस्मि गतो यत् त्वाम् परिष्वज्य यशस्विनि |
वीर्यवान् बुद्धि संपन्नः पुत्रः तव भविष्यति || [VRM - 4.66.18]
O Hanuman, I embraced you and impregnate myself within you through my mind, by that reason you are impregnated in a super sensory manner, thereby you will beget a valiant son endowed with intellect.
Benefits of Hanuman Dand over other bodyweight exercises
a) Localised effects
- Dramatic front shoulder growth: The ‘jump phase’ in which your whole body is in air, what’s the connecting link between arms and torso ? Shoulders. Plus front delts are also used in pushing upwards in a dand. This constant stress builds up lactic acid in front delts throughout the set and becomes evident in last reps.
- Upper chest and triceps: Triceps can be targeted using a narrow grip. Upper chest has two heads. One connects to clavicle (that ‘sexy bone’ of women). It gets targeted if you choose to shift your upper body towards the bent leg side when pushing up.
The other is ‘sternal head’ which goes all the way to midline. It gets targeted if you choose to put a stretch on non leg side arm in the bottom portion. It gives a better stretch than Vaksh Vikaas Dand.
- A gentle stretch on obliques: Most of modern human life is restricted to front and back or side to side movements like a silly video of game of 1990s. In real life situations that demand athleticism, you will never find a symmetrically loaded rod on your chest and a firm bench behind your back. It is useless to have strength to bench press 100 kgs if you can’t push at angles.
- The gentle stretch of oblique mentioned above is somewhat like a massage of intestines. Detoxifies digestive system.
- Cardiovascular and respiratory capacity booster.
Most of us suck at using our toes while leaping or sprinting. Hanuman dand reeducates us to do that, literally like a primate Vaanar. Every single muscle of body is connected to each other through fascia. While the classic dands like Hindu Push ups (Gama dand) and vaksh vikaas dand stretch the fascia front to back and back to front, Hanuman dand works diagonally. Bent leg’s fascia further shifts weight from flexed pelvis upward to the center of backbone. From here the load is paradoxically sent to the scapula and arm of opposite side.
d) Ethereal aspects
Hanuman is the God of Praana – the vital impalpable energy of body. The ‘jump phase’ involves simultaneous inhale and motor coordination of whole torso and lower body to facilitate the landing. It boost our Praanic energy stores.
Pfsse dand and any exercise with Kumbhak also boost praan vayu but since Hanuman dand is also cardiovascularly taxing, it refluxes apaan, saman and vyan vaayu as well. Discussing these vaayus is beyond the scope of article but you can conveniently google up this stuff. Hence Hanuman Dand not only gives us the benefits of several other dand’s but also has its own unique unmatched significance.
How to do Hanuman Dand perfectly?
We have already discussed tidbits about exercise form above. You may ask “It’s just a push up. What can go wrong ?”. Plenty. But fortunately, if you have mastered your footwork you will ace the form. Hanuman Dand encourages the human body to acquire the primal movement patterns it was designed to be in.
The above pic showcases jacked Indian exercise enthusiast Kuldeep Arya Veer. He has never ever visited a gym and thrives on a low protein diet. The left leg is bent leg and the right is straight leg. Blue colour marks the area you should land on.
If you live a sedentary lifestyle and spend the whole day in shoes your malfunctioning patterns will show up-
- You will land on the thumb side of foot on right side
- You will use the bigger ball (the one on thumb side) of your left foot
Why ? Because us humans have forgotten to use the whole of our feet.
Yes, our toes never looked clustered up like a spearhead in the human history of bone development. They were supposed to fan out for stability, cushioning and moving – three functions that have been replaced by shoe cushions. Fortunately Hanuman baithak gives you an opportunity to reverse this. Let your bent leg land comfortably on the pinky toe side ball. Let the other leg land on the pinky finger and it’s sisters, plus the upper ball.
Workout schemes –
Frankly speaking the magic is not in some rep scheme, but correct exercise technique and intensity. But I will suggest you what has worked the best for me and my clients.
I do not recommend doing higher reps without timer. Why ? Because most of us would give in to the craving of taking rest between reps. It’s very easy to slow down the speed, take 3 breaths between rep and fail the entire purpose of exercise. You need to develop constant tension on the muscles. Fry those muscles with oxygen deficit and lactic acid pump.
Got questions? Feel free to hit me up.