As can be seen in video he does push ups with the Tonfa. If you do it on floor at home it slides. What is the right way and technique to do it? Is it better than regular push ups? Does it have any additional benefits?

  • One thing to notice is the ulna (bone from elbow to "pinkie" finger side of wrist) side of the forearm is resting along the tonfa so the tonfa isn't just prevented from rotating by the hand grip. You're probably already doing that instinctively though. – Tony D Aug 4 at 2:43
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Against sliding, I would use a yoga mat or, even better, a rubber mat.

The right way is probably the right technique for push-ups in general: Hands under shoulders when the arms are straight, shoulders should not drop below the hands, make sure to keep a straight back and hip. For more chest, the hands are more to the outside, but the chest and shoulder are trained with the normal form as well.

Benefits? Well, same as with all exercises with balance e.g. squats on a balance board: The corrective twitches train the small diagonal muscle fibres in addition to the "big players" of the exercise, i.e. you gain more stability and train supplementary muscles. Plus, in this case, grip and wrist strength (direction towards the thumb).

I would consider it a pretty advanced variant of push-ups, but it is a nice use of the tonfa (which is considered a weapon and forbidden as open-carry in many countries).

Technique

There are a few things that I can think of that could help.

  1. Work on your posture. A proper push-up exerts almost no lateral forces on your hands, only vertical. Notice how the forearms of the person in your video remain almost immobile. This helps tremendously. Your hands are likely too far to the sides. You want your hands to be like 2-3 inches wider than shoulder width, your feet together (or shoulder width for exercises where you lift a hand off the floor) and your back straight. How straight? Most people usually have a slight dip or an upper bend to their push-up posture for comfort reasons. The most uncomfortable position is likely the straighter one. While a proper posture will not guarantee success, it will definitely help.
  2. Get something that has a little grip to it. In the video, he's doing it on a wooden patio, which probably gives in a bit to the localized pressure. It makes a small groove which keeps the tonfa in place. If you're trying to replicate this on a hardwood floor, you might not get similar results. At the dollar store (or any hardware store), you can likely find drawer or shelf grip liners. This will protect your flooring, but also give you a bit more grip. Alternatively, you could use rubber coasters or trivets to achieve the same results.

Is it better than regular push-ups?

Not really, no. There are already dozens of push up variations, each of them designed to target specific muscle groups, engage your core more, etc. What he's doing is a variation of a standard dumbbell push-up. If you combine them with one-armed rows, you get more arm and chest activation during your workout, which will make "regular" push-ups slightly easier. Some people skip these in favor of knuckle push-ups, which use a similar posture and strengthen your knuckles at the same time (this is a nice benefit if you're practicing a striking art like boxing or karate).

But while it's nothing new in and of itself, the added difficulty of having a contact area less than a square inch shows off his technique, despite having no real additional benefits when compared to a dumbbell push-up.

  • I'd say it is different from dumbbell push ups. With them, you have to stabilize one axis a lot (mainly shoulder and chest) and the other one not at all. With tonfa, there is a little play in all directions generally, but the wrist is stressed mainly in one direction. I'd reckon it is a different feeling and uses the muscle groups and their interplay differently. – Philip Klöcking Aug 4 at 18:07

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