- What Are Push Up Bars?
- Push Up Bars Benefits
- What to Look for in Your Push Up Bars
- 12 Best Push Up bars per Category
- Comparison Best Push Up Bars per Category
- Best Way to Use Push Up Bars
- Push Up Bars Exercises
- Push Up Bars Exercises for Beginners
- Push Up Bars Workout
- Conclusions about the Best Push Up Bars
- Frequently Asked Questions About Push Up Bars
Push Up Bars, or Push Up Handles, are a great help and wrist aid while doing the epitome of Calisthenics exercise: the humble Push Up. Push Ups do not by necessity need Push Up Bars, just like how you can do most Calisthenics workouts with no equipment. But they do serve a number very important purposes which sees even super buff guys still use Push Up Bars in their exercise. We’ll explain the benefits of using Push Up Bars for your own exercise and why you would want to incorporate them into your Home Gym Equipment. Of course, we won’t leave you hanging, or rather lying, and provide you with our top 12 picks Push Ups Bars that won’t cost you your left kidney.
What Are Push Up Bars?
Push Up Bars, not to be confused with a push up bra, is a handhold raised slightly off the floor and which provides a stable platform to perform Push Ups on. They typically allow for the hand to be fully closed around the hold with minimal further elevation off the floor. They are similar to Calisthenics Parallettes in that regard, with the difference mainly lying in their size and height. A lower total height makes for a harder Push Up that activates the intended muscle groups better than, for instance, a higher minimal decline a Dip Bar would offer.
Push Up Bars are also referred to as Push Up Stands or Push Up Handles. These words are synonymous, though may be used by different brands to accentuate certain design decisions. The core function remains the same.
Push Up Bars Benefits
In the first place, Push Up Bars make Push Ups a more accessible exercise to the uninitiated. Doing Push Ups on the floor would either mean placing your hands flat on the floor or balling your hands into fists and using your knuckles as a platform. Both can cause major discomfort to the practitioner. Using flat hands, your wrists will be angled very acutely, putting a lot of strain on the joints. Push Ups on knuckles compress the joins in your fingers, causing strain and possibly pain. Grabbing the Push Up Bars is a much more comfortable way of doing Push Ups. It is by extension also a safer way of doing Push Ups by helping to prevent injury to these joints.
Even seasoned Calisthenics practitioners will often prefer the use of Push Up Bars in favor of going without. The added comfort means higher gains can be achieved. By not struggling against the unpleasant posture of doing Push Ups barehanded, more focus can be put in developing the muscles Push Ups are meant to develop. Your exercise should target only those muscles you intend to work out as best as possible without having the additional ordeal of an unpleasant posture or pressure points on your wrists or hands. Push Up Bars also allow for a slightly deeper Push Up, a small but not insignificant additional factor.
The benefits of Push Up Bars can thus be summed up like this:
- Joint relief
- Injury prevention
- Higher gains
What to Look for in Your Push Up Bars
What we look for in our Calisthenics equipment has to do with a few simple factors. We look at what we need it to do for us and we want a quality product that is comfortable while in use.
The intended use of your Push Up Bars should come first. Obviously, you want them for Push Ups. But what other usefulness can you get out of your product and where do you intend to use them? If your gym situation features very smooth floors, you want Push Up Bars that aren’t just strong and stable, but also have decent friction to provide for lateral stability; e.g., doesn’t slip. If you want to use them for other exercises aside from Push Ups then other size and stability requirements come into play.
Materials and Finish
After you know what you will use your Push Up Bars for, the very next question has to do with quality. All functionality you gain from your purchase stands and falls with the quality of the craftsmanship and the attention to details. A poorly built platform won’t ever perform or will let you down sooner than you would like. The frame should be steel, either stainless or coated. The handles can be of a high-quality hardwood for extra comfort and sweat absorption. If it has a rubberized foot, what does that look like? Are they glue-on patches, stick-on socks or a fully rubberized foot?
After quality, which is often an indicator of, comes stability. You’re buying these for additional safety, not to be a liability. Pay close attention to the base of the bars and how they distribute your weight over a wider area. The base should always be wider than the top, so with the handles being at the top this almost always comes down to a triangular shape.
Size and Shape
Push Up Bars are on the smaller end of Calisthenics equipment. Regardless, there is a lot of variation in both size and to some extent shape. Smaller and lighter means easier to transport but you usually get less functionality from these apart from just Push Ups. If you’re travelling, portable Push Up Bars might be just what you need to stuff in with the rest of your luggage. Going larger means you can expect more stability, more safety, in some cases more comfort and often more functionality outside of Push Ups.
Not all Push Up Bars are created equal and some manufacturers have experimented successfully with alternative designs. A Push Up Board has all the functionality of regular bars, but combines the handles with a solid board. Often this board will have different options for you to align the handles with, offering both vertically and diagonally aligned positions without compromising on stability.
12 Best Push Up bars per Category
These are our favorite 12 best Push Up Bars. We’ve divided them into 12 categories, each highlighting a certain aspect. That way, we can offer you the best Push Up Bars whether you’re looking for multifunctionality, bang for your buck or, a particular material in their construction.
#1 Parallette Push Up Bars
If you want maximum stability and a lot of versatility too, you’re in the market for low Parallette bars. Parallettes look a bit like both Push Up and Dip Bars but are meant for the more dynamic type of Calisthenics involving handstands. You can also find them under the term Long Push Up Bars or Handstand Push Up Bars, because that’s essentially what low Parallettes are. The best on the market are the GORNATION Premium Parallettes PRO. These feature a combination of quality beechwood handles with steel plateaus and raisers. Fit and finish on these Parallettes are excellent and their low profile, wide surface area and excellent rubber feet make it so these GORNATION Parallettes stand firm as rocks on the floor. We won’t mince any more words here about this top of the shelve Calisthenics equipment, since we have a very in-depth GORNATION Premium Parallettes Review.
#2 Best Wooden Push Up Bars
It won’t surprise you then that the best Wooden Push Up Bars are also from GORNATION. Although they belong to the same line, the Premium Parallettes ACTIVE are for all intents and purposes not Parallettes but rather Push Up Bars. If you’re not looking for handstand Push Up Bars and instead keep it to regular Push Ups, these are the very best you can get in terms of quality, comfort and stability. With a combined maximum load of 350 kilograms (770lbs) and meticulous fit and finish, these are the only bars you’ll ever need to buy for all your Push Up needs. If push comes to shove (hah) they are actually stable enough for more dynamic exercises, like simple handstands, L-sits and floating Planches.
#3 Best Push Up Bars for Wrist Pain
The Pullup & Dip Premium Push-Up Stands feature an ergonomically shaped grip which give you much more feel for your hand’s orientation to the ground. This will naturally adjust how you grip these bars to minimize the strain put on your wrists even more. Like GORNATION, Pullup & Dip makes some of the highest quality products available to the home gym owner. The heavy-duty steel foot will last you a lifetime with proper use and care. Likewise, the quality hardwood ensures a comfortable grip that is also durable while allowing sweat to evaporate naturally. They are also stable enough for more dynamic exercise and feature quality non-slip pads designed to withstand outdoor use while also protecting the floors in your house.
#4 Cheap Push Up Bars
Strapped for cash but need a set of high-quality, ergonomically sound handstand Push-Up Bars? Pullup & Dip has your back with this excellent yet affordable set. Made from high-grade steel with hardwood handles, these Push Up Bars will serve all your needs just fine. You get that top notch Pullup & Dip quality that will last you a lifetime, combined with the ergonomically shaped handles to alleviate wrist stress and improve hand posture. Their base is wide enough to allow for simple dynamic Calisthenics like straight handstands too. The special anti-slip and floor-protecting pads prevent slipping effectively. Of all the products in our lineup, this one is the best bang for your buck if you’re looking for overall good quality and just need something to do Push Ups with.
#5 Door Push Up Bar
A curve ball? Not at all! This Door Frame Pull-Up Bar by Pullup & Dip can be easily mounted and dismounted from any door frame. You can then turn it upside down and place it on the floor, leaving you with a very functional Push Up Bar, not the mention also a Dip Bar. That’s a very versatile package for one, relatively compact and very affordable product. You basically have all the Home Gym Equipment you need right there. Fit and finish are of course excellent and when has German steel engineering ever let you down anyway? Of course, no all-in-one solution will do as perfect a job as a dedicated product. You’re stuck with the preset width of the bar. But the useable area for your Push Ups is quite wide, so there is some wiggle room.
#6 Adidas Rotating Push Up Bars
We were impressed with the quality and adjustability of these Adidas Push Up Bars, which says a lot. We don’t often find off brand products that are very good (and yes, Adidas is off brand when it comes to Calisthenics equipment). Someone at Adidas had the bright idea of combining handles with a rotating disk, to form swivel Push Up Bars. Since they stand on a round base, they attain maximum stability for the surface area they cover. The smooth ball-bearing disk makes for easy adjusting of the handles into any position you like. They can then be fixed in place for a safe, stable workout. The whole surface of the pads is rubberized for zero lateral movement while in use. Our only qualm is that the handles are plastic. The inner-workings are, we believe, steel.
#7 Push Up Board
A Push Up Board is combination of Push Up Bars which you insert into a board with pre-made settings. The wide board ensures a stable footing while the preset locations for the handles make targeting different muscles easier. There are a lot of Push Up Boards available and, unfortunately, most of them are of poor quality and can be downright dangerous. The weakest link are the handle’s plugs and holes you plug them into. These are often not very stable, wiggle or become worn out quickly. With the POWER PRESS Push Up Board you do get that quality and stability you need, while it makes doing Push Ups easier. With more than 30 possible combinations, you easily adapt regular Push Ups to target triceps, shoulders, back and chest to varying degrees.
#8 Push Up Bars made of Steel
If you want that extra rigidity for explosive Calisthenics, an all-steel design can give you the confidence you need. The advantage of steel Push Up Bars is of course the incredible weight capacity. You might think that 300lbs is enough, and for most it certainly is. If you’re doing explosive Calisthenics though, you create a lot of momentum and just your bodyweight is only part of that equation. Handstand Push-Ups or just explosive Push-Ups by buff guys can easily exceed that 300lbs capacity when you take the speed of all that mass into account. Strong, quality steel Push-Up Bars like the Juperbsky Push-Up Stands are your friends here. With a whopping maximum capacity of 2200lbs (1000kg), you could jack up a small car with just one of these. The wide base makes handstands possible, and the abrasion resistant TPR handles will last longer than most foam grips. These steel Push Up Bars are made to last.
#9 Rolling Push Up Handles
The PROROLLER X combines Push Ups with abdominal exercise by leaving the handles intentionally unstable. Since the base are a set of wheels, you need to keep all lateral movement in check while doing Push Ups, increasing the difficulty and thus gains to your arms. The PROROLLER X can also be used in a number of chest and ab exercises, like Chest Flies and simple back and forth stretching. We liked the soft foam grips and the rubber wheels. The profiling on the wheels prevents them from moving over the floor too easily, creating just the right amount of friction versus frictionless movement to aid in your exercise. You are also provided with a thick foam kneepad for added comfort during the stretching exercises.
#10 Adjustable Push Up Bars
The Jayflex Fitness CrossGrips are a versatile implement for doing Calisthenics if you’re strapped for space and time. You can convert these handles into either Pull-Up, Push-Up or Dip Bars in a matter of seconds. Once folded completely, they take up about the space of a dinner plate, which make them an excellent choice as Travel Pull Up Bars and by extension as portable Push Up Bars. The sizes are adjustable to accommodate almost any regular door frame while for Push Ups they stand at the perfect height. Their rugged construction, that relies on gravity and twist locks to keep everything tight, is among the strongest out there. The rubber pad underneath provides for ample of friction while in use on a smooth floor. They have no foam padding, so the use of Calisthenics gloves is recommended.
#11 S Shaped Push Up Bars
The Ronny D Fitness Push Up Stands are unique in their design in that they are each a single, tubular rolled steel beam. This makes these bars exceptionally strong and rated at 300lbs (136kg) each. The S shaped curve, forming a pyramid design makes them naturally stable too as they will always conform to gravity’s pull (e.g., straight down). There are no nuts or bolts to make for weak spots, so you can be assured of uniform performance throughout. The long anti-skid pads prevent any lateral movement you might inadvertently cause while using them. We suspect these will be the weak point in this system, as they will wear out soonest. An extra thick, ribbed foam sleeve around the handle makes for a very comfortable hold.
#12 DIY Push Up Bars
We don’t like the number 11 for some reason, so to make it a nice “round” 12 we decided to throw in this. It’s last but certainly not least if you’re into DIY crafts. Making your own Push Up Bars is certainly not impossible and lots of people have had good results making their own homemade DIY Calisthenics Equipment. Here is a simple recipe for successful DIY Push Up Bars:
All parts are 1” gauge or higher
- 4x Steel/PVC T-coupling
- 4x Steel/PVC Elbow coupling
- 2x 8” Steel/PVC pipe
- 4x Short Steel/PVX pipe (not longer than 4”)
- Roll of sports tape
Assembling your DIY Push Up Bars
- Assemble 1 Elbow Coupling with a Short Pipe tightly
- Assemble the above with a T-coupling
- Repeat the above steps for all Elbow Couplings, Short Pipes and T-couplings (these are the feet)
- Wrap the 8” piping with sports tape tightly and as properly as you can
- Assemble your “feet” to the 8” tape-wrapped piping to complete the DIY Push Up Bars.
- Optional: add 8x 1” or 2” piping with 4 end caps to the T-Couplings to make the base of the wider.
Comparison Best Push Up Bars per Category
|Push Up Equipment||Best Push Up Equipment For|
|GORNATION Premium Parallettes PRO||Overall quality, stability and versatility|
|GORNATION Premium Parallettes ACTIVE||Being of the highest durability|
|Pullup & Dip Premium Push-Up Stands||Ergonomics that relieves wrist strain|
|Pullup & Dip Handstand Push-Up Bars||Banging your buck (no pun intended)|
|Pullup & Dip Doorway Pull-Up Bar||Overlap into many other exercises|
|Adidas Swivel Push Up Bars||Its light weight and quick adjustment|
|POWER PRESS Push Up Board||Easy customization of your Push-Ups|
|Juperbsky Steel Push-Up Stands||Its high weight capacity of 2200lbs / 1000kg|
|PROROLLER X||Combining triceps with ab exercises|
|Jayflex Fitness CrossGrips||Travel and saving space|
|Ronny D Fitness Pushup Bars||Its high weight capacity|
Best Way to Use Push Up Bars
Your Push Up Bars are an aid to performing the Straight Arm Plank Hold, the technical term for the Push Up position. Place the bars parallel to each other and spaced a distance similar to your upper-body width from one another. Get down on your knees and grab both bars like you would a hammer while pressing down slightly to keep them firmly contacting the floor. Next, stretch your legs and the rest of your body until you are standing on your toes only in the typical Push Up positions.
You are now ready for the exercise.
Push Up Bars Exercises
Here are a number of good Push Up Bars exercises you can do:
- Wide-Arm Push-Ups: by placing the bars so that your elbows make a 90-degree bend to hold them.
- Reverse Grip Push-Ups: by aligning the bars horizontally instead of parallel to one another.
- Handstands: with practice and balance acquired through a Mobility Program, you can perform handstands on the bars.
- One-Armed Push-Ups: by using only one arm and keeping the other one on your back. This is a very advanced technique made more comfortable with the bars.
- Handstand Push-Ups: The most advanced Push-Up technique you can do with the assistance of Push Up Bars has to be the handstand push-up. We recommend becoming proficient at one-armed Push-Ups first for both arms, as well practicing balance and regular handstands first.
Push Up Bars Exercises for Beginners
Here are three exercises beginners can do using the bars:
- Normal Push-Ups: these are now done more effectively by isolating the muscles and allowing for a deeper decline.
- Tight Push-Ups: by positioning the bars under your left and right breast instead of your shoulders.
- Dips: train those biceps further with dips. For further gains, you should look into dedicated Dip Bars instead.
Push Up Bars Workout
You’re willing and eager to get started, so here is a simple Push Up Bars workout you can incorporate into an existing routine.
|Push Ups (3 x 8)||Push Ups (3 x 8)||Push Ups (3 x 8)|
|Push Ups (3 x 10)||Tight Push Ups (3 x 10)||Push Ups (3 x 10)|
|Push Ups (3 x 12)||Wide Arm Push Ups (3 x 10)||Push Ups (3 x 12)|
|Tight Push Ups (3 x 12)||Wide Arm Push Ups (3 x 12)||Tight Push Ups (3 x 13)|
|Push Ups (3 x 10)||Push Ups (3 x 12)||One-Armed Push Ups (3x l&r)|
|Wide Arm Push Ups (3 x 12)||Wide Arm Push Ups (3 x 12)||One-Armed Push Ups (4x l&r)|
|Tight Push Ups (3 x 12)||Wide Arm Push Ups (3 x 12)||One-Armed Push Ups (5x l&r)*|
*Repeat this week until you can do 12 One-Armed Push Ups for both arms. Then build to 3 sets of One-Armed Push Ups for either arm.
Conclusions about the Best Push Up Bars
Push Up Bars, Push Up Stands, Push Up Boards, you name it. Do you really need one? The answer is, really, no. You can do Push Ups and all variations, including handstands on your bare hands. That is not to say that you should. You don’t really need Push Up Bars but there are plenty of reasons why you’d like them anyway. They help prevent wrist strain and injury and they make the exercise more comfortable. This allows you to focus that exercise on the intended muscles, enhancing the workout and improving your gains where you want them. Besides, there are other ways to improve your hands and increase grip strength.
There are many great Push Up Bars to choose from, but if we had to recommend one absolute winner that will never fail, it has to be the GORNATION Premium Parallettes PRO for their size, stability, excellent craftsmanship and use of the highest quality materials.
Frequently Asked Questions About Push Up Bars
Here are the most prying questions about Push Up Handles and Bars we found.
There are good Push Up Bars and there are bad ones. The best overall Push Up Bars are the GORNATION Premium Parallettes PRO. Push Up Bars are good because they alleviate wrist strain and prevent injury. A more comfortable exercise usually also means higher repetitions and better gains.
The Push-Up exercises a variety of upper-body muscles, mainly focused on the chest, triceps, shoulders and back. However, properly executed Push-Ups also help build core strength and exercise the biceps to a lesser degree. All-in-all, the Push-Up is a staple exercise in Calisthenics because so much can be achieved with them.
A rotating Push Up Bar makes adjusting the angle of the handles simple, while keeping the total package relatively small (as opposed to a Push Up Board). Different angles put the focus on different areas of your upper-body musculature. Regular Push-Up Bars usually have a rectangular base, which is very stable if the base is parallel to your body, but not so much at odd angles. Rotating Push Up Bars, also called swivel Push Up Bars, often have a round base which is stable in any position.
Jari Dohmen has a B.A. in physiotherapy and has been involved with Calisthenics since 2013. Around the time Calisthenics began to proliferate in the Netherlands, he was already keenly interested in both the physiotherapeutic and general lifestyle benefits Calisthenics possesses. Jari started Calisthenics Worldwide (CWW) in 2016, after numerous internet searches for Calisthenics topics that sparked his interest yielded barely any information. Today, CWW is one of the largest and most widely recognized Calisthenics blogs in the world. Become part of the Calisthenics community by commenting on this article.