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Should You Do Knuckle Push-ups?

Are regular push-ups too easy?

Perhaps you think that knuckle push-ups are the solution to increase the intensity.

In this blog post, we will cover the pros and cons of knuckle push-ups and whether they are a good exercise choice for you.

Knuckle Push-up Pros

One of the benefits of knuckle push-ups is that they strengthen your wrists as your wrist needs to work hard to stabilize your body.

Another advantage is that they also strengthen your stability and core since your hands have less surface area that is touching the ground making it harder to balance.

The last benefit is the larger range of motion you will get from being on your knuckles instead of your palms. You will be able to perform deeper push-ups. However, this can easily be achieved with regular push-ups by using push-up bars or blocks.

Knuckle Push-up Cons

The main con is that there is a high risk of injury, If you are unable to stabilize your wrist you can twist them and hurt yourself.

Another disadvantage is that they can be painful, unless you can access to a softer floor to perform them on your knuckles will definitely feel the stress from the hard floor.

The last downside is that they don't add much of an extra stimulus to your chest, shoulders and triceps as you are still just lifting your bodyweight. If you want to gain more mass and strength in your upper body, knuckle push-ups are probably not the solution.

What Should I Do Instead?

If you really want to gain muscle mass and strength when doing push-ups, here are two exercises we recommend as an superior alternative to knuckle push-ups.

Weighted Push-ups

Add some weights to you to up the intensity. This way your chest and triceps will actually be lifitng mroe than just your bodyweight. This extra resistance is sure to help you gain more muscle and strength than bodyweight knuckle push-ups.

One Arm Push-ups

Double the intensity by lifting your entire bodyweight with just one arm.

Archer Push-ups

If one arm pushups are too hard, you can try archer push-ups. That will add approximately 50% more weight to the working arm.


Knuckle Push-ups have some benefits, but they do not outweigh the negatives. Unless you are focussing on strengthening your wrists we suggest you stick to weighted push-ups or one arm push-ups.

About the Author

Remy started calisthenics in 2014 and has mastered advanced movements such as the one arm pull-up, front-lever, one arm muscle-up and more.

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