Sometimes you don't want to go crazy with the fist pumping. Maybe the occasion is slightly subdued, or showing your enthusiasm could mean an undesired punch in the nuts. There are also times, however, when less is more, and the subtle, so-called "reverse fist pump" may be just the statement you need.
The reverse fist pump is mechanically simpler than the classic full extension fist pump, but arguably harder to master.
- (The Fist) Make a fist with one hand with your forearm extended out, elbow slightly away from your side. At the same time, rotate your fist so that your palm is up.
- (The Pump) To execute the pump, bring your elbow in to your side, making sure to clench your fist and contract your bicep slightly. This ensures the assertive motion which is essential for all fist pumps.
Exactly how far out your elbow starts results in different degrees of the reverse fist pump. A shorter distance is usually used for more personal fist pumps or extreme subtlety. Farther distances can turn the reverse fist pump into a defiantly public expression of victory. Modest distances of about 4-6 inches are standard for visual affirmation with a small number of people. The speed with which you execute the fist pump can also affect the message it sends to others. A fluid, controlled movement is usually preferred, but a deliberate pause between The Fist and The Pump is sometimes used in more droll situations. The standard reverse fist pump has been used to great effect in sports as well as politics, showing spectators that the fist pumper is happy in a self-assured but not flashy way.
In the picture, Mark demonstrates a passable reverse fist pump caught at the very beginning of The Pump. Although the arm itself has sound technique, notice how important body language can be in bringing across the bigger fist pump picture. Mark could have adopted a more aggressive body stance - straightened back, hips thrust slightly out, feet set a little wider - which would contribute to a more assertive fist pump. Also, there is no smiling in fist pumping. But what Mark lacks in contextual cues, he makes up for in his bold costume choice. In fact, one could argue that Mark is actually performing a rarely seen cousin of the reverse fist pump, the Reverse Chuck Norris Stealth Jaguar Fist Pump.
Many variations of the reverse fist pump exist, including the double reverse fist pump (two fists), and the extreme (double) reverse fist pump (prolonged end pump with fists clenched hard enough to vibrate the forearms). Only superficially similar to the reverse fist pump, the double reverse and extreme reverse fist pumps are usually associated with over-hyped and over-adrenalized people like pro wrestlers and others who have yet to master the art of subtlety.