Push ups are one of the most basic exercises that you can include in your home fitness routine. While you could do a series of push ups without any special equipment, many people find that using push up bars allows them to maximize the effect on their muscles. If you would like to give the bars a try but need to keep your spending in check, there are certain qualities you want to ensure the bars possess. Here are some tips that will help you know when the bars are worth the cost and likely to last for a long time.
Understanding the Basic Concept
Sometimes referred to as push up handles or push up stands, the bars make it easier to align your wrists and alleviate a bit of the stress on those joints. This approach allows more of the tension from the up and down movement of a push up to work the muscles in the forearms, the upper arms, the back, and the chest. Depending on the bar design, you will find that it’s possible to get more benefits from each series of push ups and reduce the potential for injuring a wrist.
Padding on the Metal
You have likely noticed that even cheap exercise machines come with some sort of padding over certain metal components. As you compare different bar options, focus your attention on those that include some type of foam or padding over the steel. Certainly, you want steel because it’s so durable and will hold up well to repeated use. The addition of the foam allows you to grip the bars with ease and minimize the potential for slipping while you are in the middle of performing a set.
The lack of slippage is not just about making sure your hands remain in the right places. The foam covering should completely encompass each bar. This means that the part of the bars that rest directly on the floor or on the exercise mat are also less likely to slip. Anyone who has ever had a bar slip even an inch or two in any direction knows how that can lead to an injury.
Considering a Rotating Design
Along with the basic metal bars that you could purchase, there is what is known as a rotating bar. Sometimes called rotating push up grips, this design includes more of a handle that you would wrap each hand in as well as around. The beauty of this design is that it helps to further reduce the strain on your joints. At the same time, it does not lessen the tension on your muscles. Thanks to the rotating feature, you still get to enjoy the maximum workout for your abdominal muscles, back, shoulders, and arms.
Another benefit of the rotating design is that it adds a little variety to what is a basically dully exercise. The twisting that can be done as part of the workout provides one more way to work the muscles in the forearms and makes it possible to vary the routine a little. Instead of doing the same old type of push up every time, it’s possible to alternate sets where you keep your wrists in the same position with sets where you swing slightly to the right or the left.
Weight Bearing Qualities
Another aspect you want to consider closely is the weight bearing capacity of any set of bars you choose. You’ll find that some bars are designed to support less than 200 pounds. Others will support as much as 500 pounds. Even if you are an adult who is in relatively good shape, it pays to go with a set that can support more weight.
The reasoning has to do with the amount of pressure that is exerted on the bars each time you complete a push up. That pressure is actually more than your actual body weight. While the bars may work fine for a time, the stress will eventually weaken them. Since your plan is to purchase one set of bars or grips and never have to replace them, go with ones that are designed to support considerably more weight than you think will ever be needed.
Amount of Elevation
A quick comparison of two sets of bars will likely confirm that not all of them offer the same level of elevation. This is important, because the amount of elevation provided has a direct effect on your range of motion. Another inch or two increases that range and provides more tension to work and tone your muscles.
A good rule of thumb is to only consider bars that provide at least a couple of inches of elevation. Anything less will not really add much to your workout. While it will take a little time to get used to the added height, the results you begin to see after a couple of weeks will make the effort worth it.
Easy to Clean
You already know that part of maintaining home fitness equipment is keeping everything clean. While there is not much to clean on a set of push up grips, you do want equipment that you can wipe off with ease. When done properly, push ups can trigger quite a bit of perspiration. It’s important to wipe down the grips with a clean cloth after each use. Always invest in a design that ensures the perspiration remains on the surface of the foam long enough for you to wipe it away.
Remember that like all types of commercial gym equipment for sale, push up grips for home use should only be purchased with the goal of buying higher quality items. While you may seem to save money by purchasing a cheap pair today, that savings will evaporate if you end up having to replace them a couple of years down the road. Take a close look at your budget and set a maximum amount you can afford to spend. Doing so will improve the odds of buying a set of bars that will serve you well for a long time.