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Push-Up Bar Exercises

by
author image Tim Petrie
Tim Petrie is a Physical Therapist and an Orthopedic Certified Specialist working in Milwaukee, Wisc. When he isn't working, he loves distance running, Packers football, and traveling with his wife and his energetic three year old daughter.
Push-Up Bar Exercises
Push-up bars are a versatile piece of exercise equipment. Photo Credit adavino/iStock/Getty Images

Many people are surprised to find out that push-up bars can be used for more than just a simple push-up. This common piece of equipment, found at most gyms, can actually give you a balanced arm-strengthening workout. By performing several different exercises, you target many of the shoulder and shoulder blade muscles.

Read More: Are Push-ups Harder with Push-up Bars?

Using push-up bars to do dips activates the triceps muscle.
Using push-up bars to do dips activates the triceps muscle. Photo Credit Eraxion/iStock/Getty Images

Dips

This exercise targets the triceps muscles, which help you straighten your arm during activities like pushing open a car door or vacuuming.

Step 1:

Sit with the push-up bars just outside your hips and extend your legs in front of you. Begin the exercise by straightening both elbows and lifting your buttocks off the ground.

Step 2:

Bend both elbows simultaneously and slowly lower your butt until it touches the ground. Do not actually transfer your body’s weight to the floor as you do this.

Step 3:

Hold this position for 1 to 2 seconds and then straighten the elbows as you lift your buttocks off the floor again. Do 10 repetitions of the exercise before taking a break.

Plank

Planks are a great way to activate the abdominal muscles.
Planks are a great way to activate the abdominal muscles. Photo Credit g-stockstudio/iStock/Getty Images

Planks are a great way to build abdominal strength and improve your core stability.

Step 1:

Begin on your knees with each of your hands on a push-up bar located under your shoulders.

Step 2:

Straighten your elbows and lift your knees off the floor as you assume a push-up position. As you do this, engage your abdominals and keep your buttocks in line with your body. Make sure you do not arch your back.

Step 3:

Hold this plank position for 5 to 10 seconds before lowering your knees back to the ground. Complete this exercise 10 times.

Seated Press-up

The press-up helps you avoid rounded shoulders by strengthening the muscles that bring the shoulder blades down and back.

Step 1:

Sit with your legs out in front of you and place a push-up bar beside each of your hips. Lift your buttocks off the ground by extending your elbows.

Step 2:

Lower your buttocks towards the ground by allowing your shoulder blades to elevate. Make sure your elbows stay locked throughout the exercise.

Step 3:

When your buttocks cannot go any lower without bending your elbows, hold this position for 1-2 seconds. Then, lift your rear end back up by depressing your shoulder blades. Do 10 repetitions before taking a break.

Push-up plus

This exercise activates the serratus anterior muscle, which helps with posture and shoulder mobility.

Step 1:

Get into a push-up position on your toes with your hands on bars located under each shoulder.

Step 2:

Keeping your elbows locked, push away from the bars as you protract or round your shoulder blades forward. This will cause your upper back to move away from the ground slightly.

Step 3:

Hold this position for 1 to 2 seconds before returning to the starting position. Do this 10 times before resting.

Decline push-up

By propping your legs on a chair or step, this exercise adds to the challenge of a traditional push-up.

Step 1:

With bars stationed underneath each shoulder, get into a push up position with your hands on the bars and your toes resting on the seat of a chair. A lower step may also be used.

Step 2:

Bend your elbows as you lower your chest towards the ground. Keep your spine straight and do not allow your low back to arch as you do this.

Step 3:

When your chest nearly touches the ground, maintain the position for 1 to 2 seconds before straightening your elbows and rising to the initial position again. Complete 10 push-ups before taking a break.

Indications and Precautions

For a well-rounded strengthening routine using push-up bars, perform two to four sets of each of the exercises. This should be done two to three times each week. Make sure to avoid shrugging your shoulders while you complete the exercises as this can lead to shoulder pain or rotator cuff injury.

Read More: Average Number of Push-ups for Men

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