Knuckle Push-Up

Exercise / Chest

Knuckle Push-Up

Knuckle push-ups are a variation of the standard push-up exercise where you perform the push-up with your fists or knuckles on the ground instead of using an open hand. This exercise places additional emphasis on wrist stability and can offer several benefits, but it also requires proper technique to avoid injury. Here’s how to perform knuckle push-ups:

How to do:

Knuckle Push-Up

  1. Starting Position:
    • Begin in a standard push-up position with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
    • Instead of placing your palms flat on the ground, make fists with your hands, with your knuckles facing downward and your thumbs outside your fists.
  2. The Descent:
    • Lower your body toward the ground by bending your elbows while keeping your fists in contact with the ground.
    • Keep your body in a straight line from your head to your heels, maintaining proper push-up form.
  3. The Ascent:
    • Push your body back up to the starting position by straightening your arms while still using your knuckles for support.
    • Fully extend your elbows without locking them at the top of the movement.
  4. Repeat:
    • Perform multiple repetitions of knuckle push-ups, focusing on maintaining good form throughout.

Tips for Proper Form:

  • Keep your body in a straight line, just like in a regular push-up.
  • Engage your core muscles to maintain stability.
  • Try to keep your knuckles aligned with your wrists and forearms to reduce stress on the wrists.
  • Breathe in as you lower your body and exhale as you push back up.
  • If you’re new to knuckle push-ups, you can start with a lower number of repetitions and gradually increase them as your wrists and knuckles adapt to the exercise.

Note: Knuckle push-ups may not be suitable for everyone, especially if you have existing hand, wrist, or joint issues. If you experience discomfort or pain in your wrists or knuckles, stop the exercise and consult a healthcare professional.

Knuckle Push-Up: Benefits

  1. Wrist Health: One of the primary benefits of knuckle push-ups is that they can be gentler on the wrists compared to regular push-ups. When you perform push-ups on your knuckles, your wrists are in a more neutral position, reducing the risk of wrist discomfort or strain, especially if you have wrist issues or mobility limitations.
  2. Increased Wrist Stability: Knuckle push-ups can help strengthen the muscles and ligaments in your wrists, which can contribute to improved wrist stability and reduced susceptibility to injuries during weight-bearing activities.
  3. Enhanced Grip Strength: Pushing off with your knuckles requires a stronger grip, as your fingers and hand muscles must work harder to stabilize your wrists. This can lead to improved grip strength over time.
  4. Engages Forearm Muscles: Knuckle push-ups place additional demand on the muscles of the forearm, including the flexor and extensor muscles, leading to improved forearm strength and development.
  5. Similar Upper Body Benefits: Like traditional push-ups, knuckle push-ups target the chest, shoulders, and triceps, helping to build and tone these muscles. They also engage the core muscles for stability.


Knuckle Push-Up – Muscles Worked

Target - Pectoralis Major, Sternal
Synergists - Pectoralis Major, Clavicular
Synergists - Anterior Deltoid
Synergists - Triceps Brachii
Synergists - Trapezius
Dynamic Stabilizers - Biceps Brachii
Stabilizers - Rectus Abdominis
Stabilizers - Pectoralis Minor
Stabilizers - Serratus Anterior
Stabilizers - Obliques
Stabilizers - Quadriceps
Antagonist Stabilizers - Erector Spinae
Antagonist Stabilizers - Latissimus Dorsi
push-up muscles worked

Knuckle Push-up Variations

Push-ups can be modified and progressed to suit your fitness level. You can start with knee push-ups and work your way up to more challenging variations like diamond push-ups or one-arm push-ups.