Push-up bars seem like an excessive investment, don’t they? Most everyone can do push-ups on their own; it’s one of the great selling points of calisthenics training. For this reason, seeing a set of push-up bars gracing someone’s equipment corner is not exactly common.

This is a real shame because there is more to these babies than the name might make you think! Today we will be going over this often overlooked piece of calisthenics gear, and hopefully, open a few closed pairs of eyes while we’re at it.

Who knows, perhaps you’ve wanted (or needed) a set without even knowing it!

The Benefits of Using Push-up Bars

  • A greater range of motion. This may not seem like much, but actually makes a great deal of difference. Those couple extra inches above ground will allow you to go in deeper during the lowering part of the movement, which makes for greater intensity, and more time under tension. And all of this means—you guessed it—greater payoff.
  • Your wrists will have an easier time. It’s no secret that push-ups can get harsh on your wrists. That hand angle strains the whole forearm system, which can come back with a vengeance somewhere down the line. With the comfortable holding angle allowed by the use of push-up bars, you will save your wrists a whole lot of wear and tear. Treat your body well, and it will respond in kind.
  • Their application isn’t limited to push-ups. With creative use, push-up bars can be employed to enhance a wide assortment of existing exercises. They can make them safer, more comfortable, and even more effective.

How to Correctly Use Push-up Bars

Simply put, set up the bars as you would your palms for balance, except in this case, your hands will be used to hold the bars themselves. For instance, in the case of the common push-up you would:

  • Place the feet of the two push-up bars symmetrically, at your desired width.
  • Grip the bars firmly as you get your body into the push-up ready position.
  • Lower yourself as you would with a regular push-up, only this time you go as deep as you can without outright lying on the ground or mat.
  • Lift yourself up, completing the move.

You will follow this general approach with every other exercise. Think of the push-up bars as your hands, and you’ll be surprised by what you can do with them.

Existing Exercises Made Better With Push-up Bars

By using a pair of these implements, you can improve:

  • Regular push-ups
  • Wide grip push-ups
  • Close grip push-ups
  • Reverse grip push-ups. Normally quite awkward, these bicep-focused moves become far less of a chore.
  • One-armed push-u​​ps: Difficult and effective whether or not you use a push-up bar, but significantly more comfortable with one.
  • Mountain climbers: Greater shoulder elevation allows for more leg motion, increasing the burn.
  • Plank and side plank. Instead of bracing with your forearms, just grip the bars and hold!
  • L-sit: Doing these without some sort of grip can be a nightmare.
  • Tricep dips: Can be done on the floor, or by setting the bars on a bench or other elevation.

Example Training Regimen

This routine will spread exercises out over a week to give you a strong overall workout. For optimal results, give yourself a day of rest between exercise days to let your body recover and muscles grow. We recommend Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, but do what works for you.

Days one and two are steadier and more specialized. Day three is meant to push you to the limit and maximize progression. It will be brutal, but power through. These are worth all the pain and sweat, always.

Never forget to warm up before an exercise session. Have only a minute to spare? Do it! Minimizing your chances of injury should always be your number one priority, and that is exactly what a warm-up does.

Day One (Basic Arm Day)

Regular Push-ups: 3 sets of 8 to 10 repetitions

Wide grip push-ups: 3 sets of 8-10 reps

Close grip push-ups:  3 sets of 8-10 reps

Reverse grip push-ups: 3 sets of 8-10 reps

Tricep dips: 3 sets of 8-10 reps

Day Two (Core and Leg Day)

Plank: 3 instances of 20 to 30 second holds

Mountain climbers: 3 sets of 20 to 30 second runs

Side plank: 3 instances of 20-30 second holds

Crunches (obviously, don’t even try to use push-up bars): 3 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions

Day Three (Brutality Day)

Regular push-ups: 3 sets until failure

Plank: 3 sets until failure

Wide grip push-ups: 3 sets until failure

Mountain climbers: 3 sets until failure

Crunches: 3 sets until failure

Survived all that? Great! Not only did you blast through a tough course, you’ve done so through a greater range of motions, and more safely to boot! Push-up bars are no joke, and every calisthenics enthusiast should at the very least consider getting a pair.

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