Who else wants to know, “Do Fingertip Push Ups Increase Grip Strength?”
You’ve nailed regular push ups and now you’re looking to kick things up a notch or two.
So, the obvious progression appears to be fingertip push ups.
I mean, let’s face facts, it’s a great party trick.
Plus, it would be fantastic to have something in common with Bruce Lee (although it may be a while until you build up to just two fingers).
However, one of the most commonly asked questions about fingertip push ups is their potential ability to improve grip strength.
So, allow me to explain what you should know about fingertip push ups, grip strength, and progressing with the exercise.
Do Fingertip Push Ups Increase Grip Strength?
Fingertip push ups will help to increase grip strength. They work the same muscles as regular push ups, although there is more of an emphasis on the forearms and core. So, the stronger your forearms are, typically the stronger your grip is. However, you shouldn’t use fingertip push ups as your primary exercise to increase grip strength, as there are far better options. Furthermore, many individuals will never have specifically trained their fingers before, so it’s important to build up finger strength prior to performing fingertip push ups.
1. Here’s What Fingertip Push Ups Can Do For You
Firstly, I think it’s important to state that there are actually a couple of ways to perform fingertip push ups.
The first method involves getting into a regular push up position and performing reps, but only with your fingertips and toes ever being in contact with the floor.
The second method requires you to lie completely flat on the floor with your arms extended straight ahead above your head.
So, in effect, your arms and legs are both fully outstretched.
With this second method your torso will always come into direct contact with (and rest on) the ground with each rep.
However, one thing’s for sure, and that’s no matter which way you choose, it’s going to be a lot harder than regular push ups.
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With that being said, regardless which method of fingertip push ups you choose there’s a bigger emphasis on your forearms and core.
Basically, there’s not a huge amount of difference between strong fingers and strong forearms.
In order to contract the fingers you’ll use tendons from the forearm.
And both strong fingers and strong forearms are required for a stronger grip.
So yes, fingertip push ups will definitely help to increase grip strength.
I will also say that if you perform fingertip push ups from the regular push up position (hands to the side) then you should feel it slightly more in your chest and triceps.
For me, the arm fully extended fingertip push ups is more of a full-body exercise.
You’ll typically feel it more in your glutes and quads as well.
Plus, the arm fully extended version works the forearms and core much more.
I guess the “standard” hand position fingertip push up will look more impressive.
You’ll be performing reps at the same pace as regular push ups without your torso ever coming into contact with the floor.
But, as I say, both are equally difficult in their own right.
Arms Fully Extended Fingertip Push Ups
2. Don’t Rely on Fingertip Push Ups to Increase Grip Strength
Okay, so fingertip push ups will certainly increase grip strength.
However, they definitely shouldn’t be your primary focus if you’re looking to improve your grip.
In fact, there are many exercises that are so much better, and these exercises can also improve your ability at performing fingertip push ups.
For me, a personal favourite grip exercise is farmer’s walks.
I can think of few exercises that will have your forearms burning and your fingers springing open one at a time than farmer’s walks.
I actually think that any type of loaded carry, whether racked or overhead, can also do a great deal for improving your grip strength.
Another exercise that I often perform is simply hanging for a pull up bar for as long as I possibly can.
Finally, I absolutely love kettlebell training, and this will do more for your grip strength than you can ever imagine.
So, performing fingertip push ups is all well and good, but I wouldn’t specifically focus on it in an attempt to increase and improve my grip strength.
Yes, of course it will help, but you’ll want to work on your grip strength anyway prior to even attempting to perform fingertip push ups.
3. How to Build Up to Fingertip Push Ups
I would hazard a guess that the vast majority of us don’t have the required finger strength to jump straight into fingertip push ups.
In fact, unless you’re a rock/mountain climber, martial artist, or gymnast, I highly doubt you have ever specifically trained your fingers before.
So, this obviously requires you to build up the required finger strength to get to that first push up.
Additionally, you’ll also need to train yourself to become used to using your fingers, which is why there is a progression of exercises.
Firstly, you’ll simply want to kneel on the ground and place your fingers on the floor in front of you.
Then you just lean forward in order to apply pressure to the fingers and then rock back.
This in effect is one repetition, so you should start off by performing 2-3 sets of say 10 “reps”.
This is quite clearly a very simple exercise for most of us to perform, but remember you’re priming your fingers for what’s about to come.
Following on from this would be to perform planks, but with your fingertips on the floor, as opposed to the palms of your hand.
Much the same as planks, in order to make the exercise harder you can raise your feet higher off the ground.
Additionally, you should now have the finger strength to perform a few reps of wall fingertip push ups.
So, simply stand up facing a wall and perform your fingertip push ups.
The next stage (much like progression with regular push ups) is to perform kneeling fingertip push ups.
You’ll want to really master this stage and be able to perform a good number of reps, say 10-15.
This will ensure that you have the required finger strength to move onto the ultimate goal of performing full fingertip push ups.
How to Do Fingertip Push Ups
So, as you can see, fingertip push ups will increase grip strength.
In fact, your forearms will have to work much harder than with regular push ups.
With that being said, fingertip push ups shouldn’t be performed primarily to increase grip strength.
There are various exercises which will improve your grip to far greater effect.
These include farmer’s walks, hanging from a pull up bar, and various kettlebell exercises.
Once you’re ready to perform fingertip push ups it’s important to go through the natural progression of exercises.
This is simply because most of us have never specifically trained our fingers before.
Hi, I’m Partha, owner and founder of My Bodyweight Exercises. I am a Level 3 Personal Trainer and Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist through the Register of Exercise Professionals, United Kingdom. I have been a regular gym-goer since 2000 and coaching clients since 2012. My aim is to help you achieve your body composition goals.