Does the Perfect Pushup Really Give You Results?

Muscular, athletic built, young man doing pushups in an abandoned ruin building
Standard push-ups are still effective at training your chest. (Image: vladans/iStock/Getty Images)

The Perfect Pushup promises big arms, a ripped chest and a cut abdomen, but does it really deliver? The models in the infomercials and ads suggests that it does, but those aren't average people.

The Perfect Pushup consists of two handles on small rotating platforms, designed to work with the natural movement of your arms and shoulders. It claims to reduce the bodily stress you experience with the standard push-up exercise, but research shows that it offers no true difference in muscle activation.

How It Works

Navy SEAL veteran Alden Mills invented the Perfect Pushup to address the injuries he saw from people constantly performing military-style push-ups. His argument is that standard push-ups do not allow the muscles of the chest, shoulders and arms to rotate as they contract, leading to muscle imbalance and possible injury.

To perform a push-up on the Perfect Pushup, place the Perfect Pushup platforms about shoulder-distance apart. Hold the handles and, as you bend your elbows to push up and down, your hands and arms rotate 90 degrees.

Possible Benefits

If the Perfect Pushup inspires you to do more push-ups, then it's going to give you results. It may also encourage you to explore a broader range of motion, given the elevated handles.

The handles also neutralize your wrist, meaning your joints don't have to bend to hold you up during the push-up. This can diminish wrist pain.

Man pushing up from the dumbbells on empty gray  wall backdrop
Placing your hands on dumbbells also neutralizes your wrists. (Image: molchanovdmitry/iStock/Getty Images)

The Perfect Pushup encourages a slow, methodical pace, so you end up using more muscle and less momentum. This could help you get a little more activation through the muscles if you tend to pump out push-ups super quickly.

The Research

Although the Perfect Pushup might act like an incentive to do more push-ups, it didn't show increased muscle benefit when compared to a classic push-up in a 2010 study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.

Researchers had participants perform standard push-ups and Perfect Pushups from three different hand positions: shoulder distance, wide and narrow. All push-ups were done at the same pace, as dictated by a metronome. After measuring muscle activation using electromyography at the triceps, pectoralis major, serratus anterior and posterior deltoids, it was determined that the Perfect Pushup did not enhance muscular recruitment.

Before You Try

People who have existing rotator cuff injuries or joint issues should avoid the Perfect Pushup, as it might be too aggressive on the elbows and shoulders.

If you feel the gadget will get you motivated to exercise more, then by all means -- use it. It's not unsafe. If, however, you're expecting gains from the Perfect Pushup superior to those you get from the standard push-up, you may be disappointed.

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