Knuckle, or fist, push-ups are identical to the traditional push-up but with one slight variation: your upper body is supported on your knuckles rather than on your palms. Knuckle push-ups are commonly performed by martial artists who want to strengthen their knuckles and wrists, thereby improving punching efficiency. There are additional benefits to doing knuckle push-ups.
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Knuckle push-ups will help improve muscular stability in your arms, shoulders and core. Traditional push-ups are performed with an open palm, which is significantly larger than your fist. The decreased surface area of your knuckles requires the muscles in your upper body to work harder in order to maintain your balance.
Knuckle push-ups will improve your overall upper body strength as well as the strength of smaller stabilizing muscles. These smaller muscles are also used during traditional push-ups but not to the same extent.
Stronger Knuckles and Wrists
Perhaps the most obvious benefit of knuckle push-ups is the increased strength in your knuckles and wrists. This benefit is of particular importance to fighters who punch with a bare fist or with minimal protection. The constant contact of your knuckles against the floor during knuckle push-ups will strengthen the bones of your knuckles as well as toughen the skin that covers your knuckles. The straight position of your wrist during a knuckle push-up requires constant stabilization of the joint. Over time, this will result in strong, stable wrists, which are beneficial not only to fighters but also to the general population.