Though I do moderate weightlifting, bar pullups, monkey bars and things, my wrists are quite small (more like a lady's!) and so I want to build them up to be thicker (I would imagine this is a weak point for arm exercises e.g. I could have a big bicep and curl a heavy weight, but if my wrist is small I could injure it easily). Anyway looking at questions on here people have suggested pressups on all five fingers, which I am beginning to do. My concern is of course that my fingers are not be used to this.

Am I going to do more harm than good by doing pressups this way, like give myself arthritis? What precautions should I take?

Thanks for any advice. If anybody can recommend other wrist exercises that might be more beneficial, that would be great.

EDIT: Would it be better to do the pressups on my knuckles i.e. with a closed fist?

2 Answers 2


Pressups on fingers are great to strengthen your fingers besides thickening your wrists and forearms. They won't cause any form of arthritis if you do them properly. The only precaution to take is to be completely sure that your fingers are strong enough to let you attempt the exercise. If not, try doing an easier exercise like kneeling pressups or incline pressups.

This is the right hand position (The image is taken from Convict conditioning 2 ) :

enter image description here

I've had the same issue before. And by doing fingertip pressups and hanging exercises that I found in Convict conditioning 2 book, I made my entire forearm thicker and more muscular.
I really recommend having a look at these exercises in the book mentioned above.

Source : Personal experience :)


Avoiding Joint Injuries

Small joints like those in the fingers are designed for dexterity and manipulation, not to support your full body weight. In this (image) you can see just how small the distal joint actually is. Protecting these small joints for the long term for all the things your hands need to do is better than using them to do pushups - imo.

Increasing the Size of your Wrists

Size of the wrists and strength of the wrists are not necessarily the same. The size of your wrist joint is primarily dependent on the size of your bones, not muscles. The muscles that control the wrist are forearm muscles. Exercises specific to the wrist and forearm can increase both bone and muscle growth.

Increasing the Strength of your Wrists

If your wrist strength is the weak link in your biceps curls or other arm exercises, strengthening your forearm muscles will help to strengthen and protect the wrist joint. Isolating the wrist with exercises that target the wrist flexors/extensor, radial/ulnar derviators and pronator/supinator muscles will increase wrist strength by working the muscles with tendons that cross the wrist joint. These exercises will specifically allow you to address your weakest link:

As far as increasing the bone growth (size and density), bones respond to stress loads with weight bearing or resistance exercise. Assuming you have adequate nutrition including calcium and vitamin D, by gradually increasing the amount of stress to your wrist bones with increasing weight bearing or resistance loads the small wrist and arm bones will adapt by increasing bone density. Body weight exercises such as Yoga's downward dog apply body weight thru your arms and wrists with your wrist in good alignment.

  • I agree with you that the fingers are not designed for this task. That is why I am proceeding cautiously. Thank you for the alternative exercises which I shall try. Jun 16, 2014 at 10:03
  • 1
    @Victory also there are additional q/a about finger push ups and knuckle pushups, knuckle pushups that you may find helpful. If you do go with finger pushups begin with partial weight bearing such as pushups from your knees instead of your feet until the fingers/tendons strengthen enough. Good luck. Jun 16, 2014 at 15:16

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.