The Perfect PushUp is a small fitness device for doing pushups and utilizes two handles that rotate on a circular base. To use them, you would set the handles on the floor and hold one under each arm while doing push-ups. The spinning handles allow your arms to rotate as you move through the push-up. The manufacturer claims this is a natural movement that makes the push-up a more effective exercise.
Alden Mills, a former U.S. Navy SEAL, developed the Perfect PushUp device to reduce wrist and joint strain and increase the effectiveness of the push-up. The manufacturer claims that the spinning handles provide a natural rotation to your arms, such as when you throw a punch or press up a dumbbell. This rotational movement reduces joint strain and engages more muscles.
The American Council on Exercise, ACE, an organization that trains personal trainers and sponsors fitness research, sponsored a study to test the effectiveness of the Perfect PushUp device. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse, used electromyography equipment to measure the amount of activity in the chest, triceps and front shoulder muscles. Thirteen male college students performed five push-up repetitions with and without the Perfect PushUp device, using three different grips: standard, wide and narrow.
The Perfect PushUp elicited more muscle activity in the chest, triceps and front shoulders during the wide-grip and standard pushups. However, the muscle activity was the same for narrow-grip pushups done with or without the device.
The researchers report that the increased muscle activity was not due to the rotational handles, but to the greater range of motion. The Perfect PushUp handles elevate your hands off the floor, increasing your range of motion by several inches. This explains why the Perfect PushUp didn't elicit more muscle activity during the narrow pushup -- the narrow grip limits your range of motion.
According to the results of this study, the rotating handles do not engage your muscles more. You can get the same elevation effect by holding dumbbells while doing a pushup. Additionally, some people may find that placing all of their body weight on their palms in this manner can produce significant hand pain. Moreover, ACE exercise physiologists warn that the rotating handles could increase your risk of shoulder injury, especially if you have shoulder problems or don't have the strength to stabilize your shoulder joints properly while using the Perfect PushUp. If you enjoy using the Perfect PushUp and don't have shoulder problems, it does offer a unique way to strengthen your upper body.