Push-ups — you either love them or hate them.
But everyone has tried them at least once on their journey to fit. If you haven’t, implement this strength training staple to sculpt a strong and toned upper body.
However, if you find yourself struggling, you can modify it in a variety of ways. Push-up bars, for instance, can help beginners and pros perfect their form. To learn more about push-up bars, and their benefits, read on.
What Are Push-up Stands?
Push-up stands (or bars) are metal handles you place on the floor to assist you with the movement. When grabbing onto these bars, the device elevates your body, taking the strain off of your wrists and making the exercise feel easier. You can take these to the gym, or use them for your home workouts. They are convenient, safe, and easy to use.
Conventional push-ups on the ground can aggravate your wrist joints. Especially if you’ve suffered an injury in the past. However, bars or stands offer the optimum amount of comfort by taking the stress off of your wrists. For additional protection, stretch your wrists out before working out and wrap them with bandages.
Then, there’s the comfort factor. Elevated push-ups are easier, and can feel less strenuous if you’re not accustomed to exercising your upper body.
After all, this simple exercise can be quite challenging if your upper body muscles are underdeveloped.
But with this fitness device, your body is at an angle, and the elevated regression takes some extra resistance off your total bodyweight. While you can use a bench to do the same movement, these exercise bars are set at the perfect inclination — so the workout isn’t too easy or too challenging.
While you can also try the ‘on the knees’ variation, this regression doesn’t target the core sufficiently.
If you’re struggling to crank out one push-up with poor form, it’s not going to be an effective strength-building exercise at all. However, adding the bars can make the exercise more effective.
Adding those few degrees of elevation also allows you to activate more muscle groups. The core, for example, will engage naturally when some of the pressure is taken off your lower back with the bars. Remember to squeeze your abdominals tightly throughout the entire range of motion for the best results.
Elevated push-ups also engage your back muscles and anterior deltoids more than the standard floor variation.
Range of Motion
With push-ups, you want to get as low as possible without letting your back cave in. Many people struggle with achieving this range of motion while doing this exercise. They usually lack the upper body strength or flexibility. However, the bars place you above floor level, and can make achieving this broader range of motion possible by giving you more distance to work with.
These exercise stands or bars are a compact fitness accessory you can take almost anywhere. Throw them in your gym bag if you want to throw some elevated push-ups at the end of your workout. Or, you can use them at home to strengthen your upper body.
They Help Correct Common Form Mistakes
There are many mistakes you want to avoid at all costs when performing push-ups. They can lead to injuries, such as wrist sprains, and lower back pain. Thankfully push-up bars can train your body to execute the form flawlessly. If you find yourself making a few of these next mistakes, implement elevated push-ups instead.
You Crane Your Head Up High
Maintain a neutral head and keep your point of vision at eye level when performing this upper body exercise. Looking up can place too much stress on your neck and make the exercise feel more strenuous than it actually is.
You Let Your Shoulders and Core Muscles Go Limp
If your form crumbles, the first two body parts to go limp are your shoulders and lower back. To prevent this, work on strengthening your shoulders and abdomen.
Going Only ‘Half Way’
Performing the exercise halfway is another common mistake. Often, people will lower their bodies halfway or a quarter of the way through, and come back up — counting that as a full rep. This is a sign that one does not possess enough strength to support their entire body weight. You won’t reap the full benefits this way, so switch to the incline regression instead.
Your Reps Are Too Quick
Lastly, avoid pumping out your reps too quickly. Engage your lats and pectoral muscles by going through the motion slowly and in a controlled fashion. Think about that mind to muscle connection. Working out also exercises the mind, so slow the movement down and zone in on the muscles you want to strengthen. Take 2 to 3 seconds to lower your body, then come back up on the 3rd or 4th count.
What Muscles Do They Work?
Push-up bars work your pectoralis major, triceps, deltoids, and even your abdominals. It’s important to note that when working out, upper body exercises are divided up into push and pull exercises. Implementing both into your routine is crucial if you want to build both strength and size.
But perhaps you’re wondering, what’s the difference between these two categories?
‘Pull’ exercises, like rows and pull-ups, work different muscle groups in the upper body — mainly the back and biceps.
On the other hand, push-ups work the ‘pushing’ muscles — such as the chest and triceps. You want to perform both forms of upper body resistance training. If not, this can lead to muscle imbalances and a disproportionate physique.
Some Sample Exercises
If you’re feeling uninspired, here are a few easy exercises you can try while using this fitness accessory.
Close Grip Push-Ups
For more emphasis on the triceps, use the bars for close grip push-ups. Keep your hands close together, about an inch or two apart, and perform the exercise like you normally would.
Wide Grip Push-Ups
If you wish to place more emphasis on the back muscles, try a wider grip. Your hands and arms should be at the same level as your shoulders.
For the cardio enthusiast, use these bars to maintain perfect form while doing mountain climbers. For these, get into a plank position while gripping onto the bars, and bring one leg in towards the center of your body. Switch legs and repeat at a fast tempo. It should look like you’re climbing up a mountain.
Quicken your pace to get your heart rate up, shed fat, and burn calories.
For an hardcore core exercise, try the L-Sit. Sit in between the handles and raise your body up using your arms. Stick your legs out in front of you and hold the position. Your body should resemble the letter ‘L’.
For an intense variation of the exercise, use the handles to bring your body up into the air, like you would when performing a handstand on the ground. Bend your arms while in the air, and then straighten them. Since this require a significant amount of balance, only try this once you’ve achieved a decent amount of strength.
Push-up bars can make this staple exercise easier and safer. If you haven’t tried this exercise, consider investing in this useful fitness accessory for home or gym use. It can work your arms, shoulders, and even your core. These bars are especially helpful for fitness beginners, since they take a load off of your body weight, and thus make this particular exercise easier. If you’re unsure what exercises to do, try some of the ones mentioned above for a shredded body.