Monday, June 2, 2008

How to do Claw Pushups

A common athlete's exercise regimen may contain many of the same exercises you do or have done in the past. Sit ups, push ups, curls, running, etc. It’s all done for the purpose of getting into better physical condition; to improve the length and overall quality of life. Many exercises performed by ardent martial artists can have a slightly more destructive purpose. In several styles of Kung Fu the hands are held open, the fingers hooked like claws or talons to grasp and rend at the opponent's vulnerable spots. One particular form of Kung Fu, colloquially referred to as the Tiger's Claw, is very well known because of its effectiveness and adaptability. Aspects of this were incorporated in Bruce Lee's book on Jeet Kun Do. In order to increase the effectiveness of this technique a method of exercise was created, called the 'Tiger Claw Push-up". It was once said by Grandmaster Wong that if a man could do one hundred tiger push ups in a day, he could kill with a single blow. Needless to say he could do them easily, though they are incredibly difficult to even a seasoned athlete or martial artist because they put the body's weight on the smaller muscles of the wrist, hand, and fingers, rather than just the arms and chest. Here are instructions on how to correctly perform a Tiger Claw Push-up.

Things You’ll Need:
A Flat Open Space (Preferably on Dirt or Grass)

Performing A Tiger Claw Push Up
Step 1:
From a standing position fall forward with your hands braced in front of your chest.

Step 2:
After landing on the ground, raise your body up on the toes of your feet and the palms of your hands.

Step 3:
Splay your fingers out as wide as you can.

Step 4:
Dig down hard with the pads of your fingers. This is very difficult and there is no trick to making it easier. It just takes raw strength. Don't be discouraged if you can't do it on your first try. If you are unable to do this than put your knees against the ground and raise up your feet. With a closer point of contact to the ground it should make the first push-ups a little easier until you're strong enough to do them normally.

Step 5:
With your hands off the ground and being held up by your fingers, arc your fingers as if you were making claws so that the very tips dig into the ground. With you body being held up by your very fingertips you are in the right position to begin a push-up.

Step 6:
Force your body up and then lower it back down in the fashion of a normal push-up. The key in this exercise is not so much to perform as many push-ups as you can, but to strengthen the small muscles and joints in your fingers so as to increase their grasping or ripping strength. Because of this the placement of your fingers and form of your hands is more important than the push-up itself, so it need not initially be a complete and smooth push-up. With perseverance your strength and stamina will grow and you will find these push-ups easier. When that happens then you can address the issue.

Tips & Warnings
Many even more difficult claw push ups do exist, though they should not be attempted by someone without the aid and directions of a martial arts teacher or instructor. The potential for damaging your hands is great. When starting out doing claw push ups you might want to consider bandaging or bracing your fingers to help them accept the strain of your body weight.
If you have difficulty doing regular push ups, don't attempt the claw push up. There exists the real possibility for serious and lasting damage to your hands and fingers. If the strain in your fingers passes beyond the pain threshold, stop immediately. Untrained fingers can end up dislocated or broken.

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