Just as with sports, playing any instrument, especially the piano involves the development of a specific muscle set. These muscles should be warmed up before playing and should be strengthened on a daily basis to ensure perfection.
The muscle set for piano playing is mostly restricted to the fingers, hands, wrists and forearms. Though this may sound relatively insignificant when compared to an olympic tri-athlete for example, there is actually a huge amount of muscles involved in piano playing.
It has been recognized for years that one can become more fluent and apt at the keyboard you need to work hard at strengthening your finger movement. This is why there have been piano finger exercises around ages. Examples of these exercises also known as five finger exercises have been composed and compiled by several composers. Probably the most popular of these is Hanon’s The Virtuoso Pianist in 60 Exercises. Other well known finger exercises have been compiled by Schmitt and Czerny.
At the end of the 19th century it became fashionable amongst popular pianists and composers to see who could write and play the most technical and challenging pieces. Liszt was undoubtedly one of the greatest at this as was Chopin. Chopin wrote a series of études (studies) which are said to be designed for strengthening the fingers.
Care should be taken however. The German composer Robert Schumann could not work out why he (and everyone else) had trouble lifting up the fourth finger on each hand. The truth is that the fourth finger is lacking a tendon which the other fingers have allowing them to be lifted up independently of the other fingers. To this end Schumann had a special contraption constructed which would pull his fourth finger back a little further each day in order to strengthen it. The result however was catastrophic as he snapped the only tendon for that finger and lost use of it completely.