The world of push-ups is huge. From freestanding push-ups to narrow grip exercise. Each one of this variation is designed to work on your body differently. Then there comes the knuckle pushup. This is difficult. If you won’t take my word for it, ask the famous NBA forward, Kevin Love, who broke his hand attempting the exercise. So before taking any exercise, be clear what your goals are, and if the exercise is worth taking the risk.

All pushup variations build endurance and strength in upper body muscles. In regular push-ups, you are required to hyperextend your wrists, which can result in pain. Attempting push-ups on the knuckles eliminates the wrists factor. These push-ups also resemble the movement of throwing a punch. Thus many martial arts fanatics use this exercise to get used to the range of motion, building strength and generating punching power.

Knuckle Pushup

Knuckle pushup is an amazing way for increasing strength in your wrists while reaping off all the benefits that regular pushup might offer. In this exercise, the upper body is supported on knuckles as opposed to palm in a regular pushup. This in return increases the punching efficiency and knuckle strength. Not to forget, that this is an exercise that offers overall strength development and more core stability.

In this segment, we will discuss the technique involved in mastering the art of knuckle pushup, the muscles group this exercise works on, tips to do this exercise more proficiently and its comparison to other bodyweight exercises.

How to master the art of Knuckle Pushup?

Knuckle push-ups require considerable strength as opposed to other push-ups variation. This form of the push-ups can be difficult if you have entered the gym for the first time. A considerable amount of strength is required in the wrist joint to bear the body weight.

Steps to perform the knuckle pushup.

1. Get in the regular pushup position and place your hand exactly beneath your chest. The hands must be shoulder width apart. Stretch out your legs and maintain a straight line from head to heels.

2. Turn your palm into a fist and keep the flat of fist on the floor. This must be directly below the elbow position.

3. Now lower your chest towards the floor slowly, until it almost touches the floor. Hold your position for a second or two.

4. Push back by straightening your arms and get back in the initial position. The form of the body must be correct and in line.

If you are of those martial artists, who are looking to build more strength and endurance, get your body as low as possible from the up position. However, do not hold your body in the lower position. Explode heavily when you get into the bottom position. This will provide you higher strength and endurance overall.

Muscles group knuckle pushups works on?

There is no doubt that knuckle pushup maintains the benefits provided by the regular push-ups. However, it also ensures that you have stronger wrists and better punching abilities. This exercise works on the pecs, deltoids, core, biceps and the triceps. The intensity level in this exercise is significantly higher as compared to other bodyweight exercises.

Not just intensity but the risk factor involved in it is also much higher. It is a very specific exercise that requires a specific set of movements. If you don’t keep a proper form during the entire range of motion, the chances are you might damage some muscles. So be clear what your goals are before attempting the exercise.

Why use the knuckles?

Doing something out of the routine is a good way to train a different set of muscles. Changing the regular position of getting palm down to using your knuckles is a great exercise to gain some wrists strength. In addition to this, to a complete an entire pushup, you need to perform an increases range of motion. Thus making this exercise more challenging in comparison. And as the intensity of any exercise increases, the muscle engagement in these exercises also increases. Thus boosting your overall strength abilities.

Tips to enhance your knuckle pushup routine

Try to place out your thumb on the floor. This will help you to stabilize the body more effectively and it will not fall over. Do not put much pressure on the knuckles. If they become sore, know that it is time to stop. Give yourself some time to heal and recover. Initially, start the exercise on a softer surface area to provide some cushion assistance. Once you get more comfortable with the exercise, move to a harder surface area. This will increase the intensity even more and make the exercise ultra-challenging.

How many sets and reps should you perform?

For a beginner, this exercise is a sure shot no. Well, you can try if you want to destroy your wrists completely and never be able to pick heavy weight again. The choice is yours to make. But it is recommended not to include this exercise unless you reach the intermediate stage.

For intermediate level, try the pushup on a softer surface. Make use of a padded mat or a rolled up towel. This will provide your cushion to the knuckles. Initially, do 8 – 12 repetition of the exercise for 2 – 3 sets and gradually increase the intensity of the exercise.

For advanced level, make use of the harder surface. Increase the no of repetition to 15 and see if you can perform the explosive push-up style. Try to push up immediately from the bottom position. This will provide a lot of strength to your chest and shoulders.

Breathing Pattern and Body Form

Maintain the body in the straight line from your head to heel. Keep your core engaged entirely during the range of motion. This will help you to control and balance the bodyweight, preventing it from falling over. Breathe in as you lower your body slowly from the top position. Breathe out as you push your body back in the starting position. Remember, good breathing pattern will increase the effectiveness of the exercise.

Challenge Yourself with knuckle pushup

The knuckle pushup can be quite challenging in itself. Pushing your body weight from the wrist position is no easy job. However, if you need to make it more challenging, use of the following ways to increase the intensity level.

1. Make use of weighted vest. This one of the most common way to increase the difficulty level of the exercise.

2. Try using angels. Create an inclination position from your feet by placing it on some height surface.

But be safe. Remember, if you increase the weight on the wrists joints, they might break down. It has happened previously, and it won’t take much time to happen again if you don’t take the precautionary measure and keep yourself safe.

Knuckle Pushup vs. Regular Pushup

Knuckle push-ups exert pressure on the little portion of the hand. This portion is nothing but the bone knuckles. On the contrary, regular push-ups focus and exerts pressure on the palm area of your hand. Instructors who advise this exercise to other fitness fanatics tend to believe knuckle push-ups can do more harm than good. Yes, it increases the punching abilities of a person but is the risk of breaking your wrist worth taking.

This exercise works on the same muscle group as compared to regular push-ups. The range of motion is little longer in knuckle push-ups. This increase in movement is because of the wrist position. This exercise also bends the arms in a different position as compared to regular position. Due to which, the triceps are more involved in this exercise. Also, the forearm muscles remain in a contracted state in knuckle push-ups. All in all, knuckle push-ups are similar to regular push-ups, except for the hand placement and configuration due to which the forearms and the wrists also get worked on.

Wrapping Up

Most of the people do not have much of a reason to add knuckle push-ups into their fitness routine. Regular push-ups provide the same amount of benefits and that too at a comparatively lesser risk. So if you want to brag about the successful completion of knuckle push-ups, then you can certainly try knuckle pushup. But if you just want to gain some muscle strength and endurance, the regular push-up is a better option.

However, if you are a martial artist than this exercise is certainly up in your alley. And hence you won’t want to miss out on this exercise. It will give you amazing punching abilities and knuckle strength. All you need to do is maintain good form while performing the exercise and breathe properly. Go ahead, and create some knuckle strength. And if someone tries to bully, just punch them with your strong knuckles.

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