Push-Up Equipment That Works

STACK Expert Steve Green says you can build upper-body muscle more efficiently with push-up equipment, and he offers three inexpensive alternatives.

Push-Up Stands

Push-Ups are one of the most basic exercises an athlete can do. All you need is some space, and you can give yourself a great upper-body workout in a short period of time. And once you have mastered standard Push-Ups, you can challenge yourself with a few pieces of push-up equipment.

Push-Up Stands

Push-up stands are inexpensive and effective ways to make Push-Ups more challenging by elevating the chest. By increasing the angle from the ground, you put your body through a greater range of motion, which helps develop your pectoral muscles even more. The stands also reduce stress on your wrists, lowering the risk of injury. You can either purchase push-up stands or use a pair of dumbbells to get the same effect.

The Perfect Push-Up

Chances are you've seen TV commercials for The Perfect Push-Up, a set of rotating stands that challenge your body in a manner different from regular Push-Ups, or even push-up stands. The American Council on Exercise conducted a study on their effectiveness and produced some interesting results. The Perfect Push-Up elicits more muscle activation than standard Push-Ups when a wide grip is used. The authors of the study think this is because the body goes through a greater range of movement. A word of caution though: the ACE study notes that The Perfect Pushup does not reduce stress on the wrists. This could lead to injuries, especially in athletes who have shoulder problems, or who lack the strength to maintain shoulder stability. If you do have shoulder problems, consult with your doctor before starting a workout program.

Suspension Straps

Suspension straps can be used to perform advanced Push-Ups, which will challenge even the most conditioned athletes. Place your feet in the straps, and exhale slowly as you push your body off the floor. Don't let your body sag during the exercise, and keep your feet close together to minimize swinging. Inhale while lowering your body and repeat.

This is an extremely challenging exercise. Suspension straps should be used only if you can stabilize your lower (lumbar) spine.

By using different types of push-up equipment, athletes can challenge themselves, train smarter and save time.

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