The push-up has long been the king of chest and triceps exercises because it’s simple, can be completed anywhere, and is extremely effective.
However, there isn’t just one way to do a push-up. You can use a wide stance, a narrow stance, complete archer push-ups moving from side to side, and more recently, you can use various pieces of equipment that claim to aid the movement for better progress.
What Is a Push-Up Grip?
Push-up grips vary in size, shape, cost, and use. Yet, they’re essentially two bars which you place upon the floor that help you to either complete push-ups with better form or make the movement more challenging. Some rotate whilst others remain firm. In this article, we’re going to look at the effectiveness of these bars and what’s the best choice for you.
How Do I Use A Push-Up Grip?
Push-up grips are very easy to use. You simply place them on the floor, hold onto the handles, and complete a push-up in the same fashion you normally would. Some will be unstable to increase the amount of stabilisation required by your muscles whilst others flow with you to guide the movement and make it easier.
Do Push-Up Grips Matter?
Push-up grips are by no means necessary for training push-ups or building the chest, triceps, and shoulders. If you’re learning how to do push-ups for the first time, you’re better off not using a grip in order to become friendlier with the basic movement as opposed to using help.
In terms of making the movement more challenging, you can do this in a number of other ways. For instance, you can work towards a one-arm push-up, use diamond push-ups to work the triceps more, elevate the legs to work the upper chest, and use a range of other variations.
That being said, push-up grips can be a useful tool to add to your home training. It’s important to note that push-up grips can be used for more than just push-ups. They’re also effective as smaller parallel bars for training movements such as planches and l-sits. The basics of many gymnastic movements can be taught using push-up bars before progressing onto larger parallel bars.
What Does the Research Say?
A study by Youdas et al. (2010) published in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research looked at the muscle activation patterns of the standard push-up when compared with using a ‘perfect pushup’ product.
The researchers took 20 healthy subjects consisting of eleven men and nine women and told them to complete three push-ups in a row for each hand position. The speed was controlled using a metronome.
By the end of the study, the results showed that the push-up aid did ‘not appear to preferentially enhance muscular recruitment when compared with the conventional push-up’.
Another study by Jung and Cho in 2015 analysed the degree shoulder stabilization required in relation to the grip thickness of the bar.
In the study, twenty six twenty-something males were studied using grip thicknesses at 0%, 50%, 75%, and 100% of the subjects’ hand size.
The researchers concluded that push-up bars with different thicknesses are best determined on an individual basis as opposed to a set rule. So, if you do decide to purchase a set of push-up bars, then you’re best choosing a thickness which you feel best. There’s no universal perfect size as it comes down to the individual themselves.
How Much Do Push-Up Grips Cost?
The price will depend on the type of grip you choose and the brand you buy from. Some lower-quality push-up grips can be bought for just under $10 but they can range up to as much as $30.
The research heavily suggests that push-up bars are unnecessary for training the push-up and will not provide any extra advantages beyond the standard movement. Though, many people who train in exclusively bodyweight movements swear by these bars, claiming that they feel more activation in the chest, triceps, and shoulders. Others argue that their hands and wrists feel more comfortable. The key may come down to trial and error.
The best course of action appears to be to train the upper body in different ways and save your money for other pieces of equipment. For the same price as a push-up grip, you could purchase a kettlebell or dumbbell which can allow for a more diverse range of exercises to be completed at home. This would allow for you to train your body more efficiently and effectively.
If you are looking for ways to improve your push-up on a budget, then changing the angle of your body is a great way to change the stimulus and place emphasis on weak points of the movement. You can also complete supplemental bodyweight movements such as dips, handstands, and handstand push-ups.
What do you think about Push-Up Grips?