If you've stopped doing pushups because they excessively stress your wrists, have no fear, pushup bars are here. These bars, which can be found in most gyms, are small, elevated handles that you can hold onto during pushup exercises. They allow your wrists to remain straight, which reduces the stress on them. Now, grasp a set of pushup bars and start working your chest, triceps and shoulders.
Pushup Bar Identification
The basic pushup bar is a set of two elevated handles. Depending on the specific brand, the handles are 3 to 6 inches high. The horizontal part of the handle is usually wrapped with vinyl or foam. Rotating handles offer more grip options than standard pushup bars. The handle attaches to a circular, freely rotating base. You can start a pushup with your palms facing you and rotate your wrists as you press up so your palms face each other at the top of the movement. If you don't want to purchase pushup bars, place a set of dumbbells on the floor for a similar effect.
You can do most any type of pushup with pushup bars. Place the bars directly below your shoulders and grab the bars with your palms facing you to do a standard pushup. Set your knees on the floor to do an easier modification of the standard pushup. Place the handles out past your shoulders to do a wide pushup or place the handles in closer than your shoulders to do a narrow grip pushup. You can also do advanced pushups, such as a decline pushup or Spiderman pushup, where you pull your knee to your elbow as you lower your body.
You can do other upper body exercises with a pushup bar. Set the handles behind your back and extend your legs out in front. From this position, you can do the dip exercise. Bend your elbows and lower yourself toward the floor. Dips target your triceps, the muscles on the back of your upper arms. Although you can do the dip exercise on a pushup bar, your range of motion is limited by the height of the bar. Planks, which consist of holding the top of a pushup, work your core muscles -- your abs, lower back and glutes. Rotating pushup handles make the plank exercise more challenging because the handles create an unstable surface.
Pushup Bar Routines
Ideally, a pushup bar would only be part of a complete upper body routine. A pushup bar limits you to body weight exercises, making it difficult to progressively overload your muscles. However, you can build a full routine by combining standard and advanced pushup exercises in one routine. Do two to three sets of regular pushups and two to three sets of an advanced pushup. The advanced pushup should fatigue your chest muscles in six to eight repetitions. If you can easily do 15 to 20 repetitions, find a more difficult pushup exercise. You can also wrap an exercise band around your upper back to create extra resistance during a pushup.
- The Great Physician's Rx for Health and Wellness; Jordan Rubin
- Military.com: The Push-up Push Workout
- Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.