Crouching Tiger Push Up

If you want to get in touch with your inner ninja, the Crouching Tiger Push Up will tame even the trickiest of upper-body muscles.

For those who have added yoga to their fitness routine, the Crouching Tiger Push Up, also called the Hindu Push Up, may seem familiar. Some of its steps come from the surya namaskar and downward dog poses. A Bruce Lee favorite, the Crouching Tiger Push Up comes from traditional Indian wrestling and martial art styles.

This step-by-step guide may not get you the eye of the tiger, but adding this exercise to your workout repertoire will certainly give you the strength of one!

The Low-Down on Push Ups

Since this is an advanced technique, you may not be able to jump right in. To prepare, make sure to master the standard push up first. The Crouching Tiger Push Up is the perfect way to target your core and lower back in addition to your triceps, deltoids and trapezius. But if you haven’t already reached a certain level in these areas, the Crouching Tiger Push Up may not just be difficult; it could also lead to muscle injury or strain. So, make sure you consult an expert before getting into it yourself to make sure you’re ready, and that your technique is on point.

Pouncing Practice

  1. Start in the standard push-up position. Make sure your hands are placed a couple inches wider than the shoulder, and that your neck and back are in a straight line. Finally, tighten your core. You’re now in the starting position.
  2. Lower yourself until your chest almost hits the floor, then bend the knees to bring them up directly beneath your waist.
  3. Straightening the legs, push your backside up until your body forms a ‘v’ shape — this is where downward dog should look familiar, if you’re a yoga fan.
  4. Finally, you’ll roll your spine in a wave to move back into the starting position. 

For a better look at how it’s done, check out this video: 

A Better Build

The most obvious benefit of the Crouching Tiger Push Up and related exercises to your workout is the increased upper body strength. As discussed above, your core, lower back, and triceps, deltoids and trapezius, will all benefit. But, done right, this technique will also engage your hamstrings, glutes, and quads, for a true full-body workout. As an added bonus, the Crouching Tiger Push Up will not only build muscle; mobility and flexibility will also benefit.

Transforming Technique

For some, this exercise may be too difficult, or may irritate existing issues with the back and spine. But don’t let it disappoint you too much; there’s at least one variant that might make things easier. As you’re shifting into the downward dog position, you can let your knees rest on the ground to support you through the move.

On the other hand, for fitness enthusiasts who like to push their body to the limit the Crouching Tiger Push Up may be too easy. In that case, there are variants to turn up the heat. For example, you might alternate with other push up exercises such as the dive bomb pushup:

  1. Push back from your plank into the downward dog position.
  2. Slowly lower your head to the floor. Roll the back so that your face and front side run parallel to the floor. 
  3. Finish the rep by doing the same thing backwards, ending in the downward dog pose.

Crouching Tiger, Downward Dog

The Crouching Tiger Push Up earns its stripes for difficulty. While it may not be suited for the novice athlete, any aspiring martial artist or fitness guru will love this move for its targeted technique and full-body burn.