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Why Use Push-Up Bars?

author image Henry Halse
Henry Halse is a Philadelphia-based personal trainer, speaker, and writer. He's trained a wide variety of people, from couch potatoes to professional athletes, and helped them realize their own strength, determination and self-confidence. Henry has also written for various fitness and lifestyle publications, including Women’s Health, AskMen and Prevention.
Why Use Push-Up Bars?
Push-up bars increase your range of motion. Photo Credit: Milan Stojanovic/iStock/Getty Images

Just in case you thought push-ups were too easy, there's a simple invention called a push-up bar that adds even more of a challenge to the exercise. This simple tool makes push-ups more challenging and allows you to get more out of every rep. The bars increase the range of motion of your push-up and the science behind the subsequent results is simple: increasing your range of motion in an exercise makes you stronger and builds muscle faster.

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Read More: What Is the Purpose of Range of Motion Exercises?

Using Push-Up Bars

To use the push-up bars, place them on the floor in the same spot that you put your hands during a push-up. Grip the handles and perform a push-up as you normally would. If you can't do regular push-ups, you can simply drop your knees to the ground and do push-ups from that position. The push-up bars will still help if you are doing push-ups from your knees.

Increased Range of Motion

There are a few ways that you can make an exercise harder. You can increase the amount of repetitions that you do, you can do more sets, take shorter breaks, use more weight or you can increase range of motion. The science behind increasing range of motion is promising.

In a 2014 study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, researchers looked at the differences between lifting weights with a shorter range of motion versus a longer one. They found that a longer range of motion is better for growing muscle and getting stronger. They also concluded that people who lift weights shouldn't sacrifice range of motion in an exercise so that they can lift more weight. If you're looking to make an exercise harder, try increasing the range of motion before increasing weight.

Another study, published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research in 2012, looked at the difference between partial and full repetitions, but in the biceps. They also found that using a full range of motion increases strength significantly more than using a partial range of motion, but they found that muscle growth was only slightly greater in the full range of motion group.

You can also use dumbbells as replacement push-up handles.
You can also use dumbbells as replacement push-up handles. Photo Credit: masta4650/iStock/Getty Images

A third study, this time looking at the difference between partial and full repetitions in the squat, was published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology in 2013. They found that the group that used a larger range of motion in their squats gained more muscle in their thighs, got significantly stronger and even got better at jumping. The researchers also looked at the tendons in their knees to see if a larger range of motion is more beneficial for tendon strength and concluded that it doesn't make a difference.

Joint Benefits and Drawbacks

Some people may use push-up bars to protect their wrist. It's much easier on the wrist to use a bar because it doesn't have to bend back as far as if you had your hand on the floor. If you have wrist problems the bars will feel great as it keeps the joint neutral.

Read More: Are Pushups Harder With Pushup Bars?

On the other hand, if you have shoulder issues the push-up bars may not help. The increased range of motion that you get from using them forces your shoulder to travel farther, which puts it at greater risk for injury. If you have any pre-existing shoulder problems you may want to avoid using this piece of equipment and do regular push-ups instead.

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