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The Bahubali Workout: Using Gadas To Build An Indian Warrior Body

- 10th May 2017

For actor Prabhas, getting his body in shape for Bahubali meant a heavy weight training routine, and a diet that included over 40 eggs a day. And with the film’s release, you can see how his dedication has paved the way for some pretty impressive gains.

As fitness enthusiasts, we’re always looking for the latest fitness tip, a fresh mass gain formula, or the most power-packed routines. But how about looking to the ancient past for some real inspiration? For over 5000 years, warriors and strong men from across the subcontinent have swung, lifted, and pumped their way to muscular perfection using their trusty gadas or maces.

 So, What Is A Gada Anyway?

In its simplest form, a gada is just a strong stick that’s weighted at one end.  

However, there’s plenty of manufactured designs available today, ranging from the simple…



….to the highly elaborate

Indian Gada

But whatever type of gada you use, ultimately, it’s your technique and dedication that will determine your gains.

Take from traditional malla-shudh and pehlwani techniques, these 5 men’s fitness exercises are designed to improve your flexibility while delivering a massive upper body workout.

The Warm Up

Surya Namaskar

A classic warm up technique that is as vigorous as it is effective, Surya Namaskar is perfect for getting a good stretch and working the early morning kinks out of your system.

The Hindu Squat



Also called a bathak, this non-weighted exercise is great for basic conditioning.

1. Stand with feet placed hip-wide. You’ll want to use a stance that’s a little wider than a regular squat stance.

2. Raise your arms forward and place them perpendicular to your body.

3. Begin squatting and go all the way down. As you lower yourself, swing your arms out behind you with your fingers outstretched. (If you’re doing this correctly, your butt should be almost touching your heels at full squat)

4. With the weight of your body on your heels, slowly begin to stand back up, while bringing your arms back to the forward position. Complete 15-20 reps per set.

WARRIOR TIP: Always keep your chin up, eyes forward and most importantly, keep your back straight. To minimize injury and maximize gains, use slow, controlled movements.

The Grave Digger

Grave Digger

If you’ve ever dug any kind of hole with a shovel, you’ll know how the action can quickly become very tiring. But, you may not be aware that it’s also a fantastic upper body workout, strengthening your arms, shoulders, chest, and back.

1. To start this exercise, you’ll need a gada or an Indian club. You can buy a basic set right here:

2. Hold the gada just like you’d grip a spade or a shovel, with the weighted end facing downwards and one hand forward of the other.

3. Lift in a forward-facing arc, until your arms are well above your head. The tip of the gada should be aligned along the centre of your body, facing away from you.

4. Slowly lower the gada and bring it back to the starting position. After 10-15 reps, switch your grip to evenly workout both sides of your body.

WARRIOR TIP: This technique is almost exactly like digging a hole, so it’s pretty easy to master. Just be careful not to over-extend your upper back muscles when lifting.  

The Wrist Rotation

Wrist Rotation

Even wonder how ancient warriors kept those heavy blades and maces from flying out of their hands? This technique will help you build a vise-like grip, while simultaneously building your forearms and biceps.

1. Stand with both arms held out straight in front of you, inner wrists facing upward and a gada in each hand.

2. Rotate your wrists a full 180-degrees. At mid-rotation, slightly bend your elbows to bring your biceps into play.

3. As you reach the end of the rotation, straighten your arms out.

4. Then rotate your wrists back to the initial position, using the same technique. Complete about 20-25 reps per set.

WARRIOR TIP: For a more wrist-focused workout, you can skip the elbow-bend and hold both arms fully extended throughout.

The 2-Handed Backstroke


You’ll need 2 gadas for this exercise. If you’re a beginner, choose the lightest variants since the uneven weight distribution of the club can make it seem much heavier than it should be

1. Standing with your body bent slightly forward, your feet slightly apart. Hold the non-weighted end of a gada in each hand

2. Swing your arms in a forward arc, until they’re well above your head while straightening your body at the same time.

3. As you swing your arms back down, bring your body back to the slightly bent position you started with. Execute 20-25 reps per set.

WARRIOR TIP: This exercise is meant to be done little faster than the previous ones. Once you’ve got your momentum going, you should a solid burn around your shoulders and arms.

If your focus is on men’s fat burning workouts, rather than muscle building, you’ll probably want to try a more weight loss-oriented routine. Lucky for you, we’ve got just the thing. This 7-Day Cardio Challenge comes with a complimentary meal plan will turn you into a living Greek God.

If you liked this article, if it helped you get better gains, or if you have an opinion you want to express, go ahead and comment below.

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The Bahubali Workout: Using Gadas To Build An Indian Warrior Body