What is the tiger push-up? Why you should add this move to your workout

Jessica Harris
·4-min read
Photo credit: Chobsak Dararuang / EyeEm - Getty Images
Photo credit: Chobsak Dararuang / EyeEm - Getty Images

If there's one thing that peaks our interest it's a fitness multitasker. A move that targets more than one area of the body at once to make all of the effort and, more often than not, discomfort worth it. Targeting the core, chest, triceps, and shoulders, the tiger press-up is the epitome of an over-achiever. A super-charged variation of the humble press-up, it's a move that's gaining serious traction among personal trainers, without a Carole Baskin reference in sight.

“The tiger press-up has a bigger emphasis on the triceps and shoulders rather than a regular press-up which targets the pectorals and shoulders,” says Lee Mullins, founder of Workshop Gymnasiums. “It's a great bodyweight exercise so it can be done anywhere and doesn't need any equipment making it perfect for at-home workouts or if you're in the park or back in the gym.” While the OG of press-ups zones in on the same muscles, the tiger ups the ante on the triceps and shoulders even more, sculpting them into a strong silhouette.

Although we don't like to play favourites with our exercises, Harrison Sellers, trainer at Barry's Bootcamp believes that mixing up our go-to moves is key to see a change in our physique. “It's important to keep the body guessing and expose it to a different stimuli to make sure you don't grind to a plateau. If you like regular press-ups, this is the next level as it is a more advanced move, but also if you don't like regular press-ups, this is something a little different, perhaps more enjoyable as it's less pressure on the neck and challenges your coordination. It's not a straight up-and-down movement like the regular press-up, it's up, back and down so you have to focus more on what you're doing and take it a little slower.”

Not for the faint-hearted, Harrison suggests becoming well acquainted with regular press-ups (sorry), before you attempt the tiger variation to avoid injury. “This is an advanced move that requires a good amount of upper body strength to begin with because it includes a unique coordination of your core and upper body muscles,” he explains. “I would suggest working on your core, tricep and shoulder strength before you move on to the tiger press-up by performing planks, barbell press-ups and bench tricep dips. If you can breeze through 20 unbroken press ups then give this a go to really burn up your triceps.” But for those who avoid the move due to shoulder niggles, you're not getting out of it that easily: “If you’ve never performed a tiger press-up it will provide a new kind of stress to the triceps, which will lead to new adaptations. If you normally experience any shoulder issues when performing a normal press-up, the tiger press up may be a better alternative as there is less stress on the shoulders when performing the tiger press up,” Lee says.

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How To Do A Tiger Press-Up
Lee takes us through his step-by step guide

· Begin by lying face down on the floor with your forearms on the ground and palms down, then slide your forearms out in front of you so that your elbows are directly beneath your shoulders.

· Tuck your elbows in to your side to fully engage your triceps, take a deep breath to hold and brace your core, and tilt your torso slightly forward so that your upper body is angled downwards about 10 to 15 degrees.

· From the press-up position, slowly lower your forearms and elbows to the ground keeping your elbows tight, torso tilted and core braced.

· Allow the top of your forehead to touch the ground and pause for a count of one while keeping the body flexed.

· At the bottom of the movement, your biceps should make contact with your forearms. Then, press up from the floor as fast as you can.

· Exhale, and repeat the above for the stated number of repetitions.


Do's and Don'ts of the Tiger Press-Up

DO Keep your core tight and have your body form a straight line from your head to the heels.

DON'T let your midsection dip down.

DO separate your feet more if you want more emphasis on your core.

DON'T let your hips float up too high when you hinge backwards. A little is to be expected but try to limit the height as best you can.

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