Push-up bars?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 29, 2007 3:52 PM GMT
    I looked around to see if this had already been written about but didn't find anything so my apologies if it's already been discussed.

    My question is a) is there any benefit to these and b) whether or not they add anything, will they make doing push-ups easier on the wrists?

    Keep the catcalls to a minimum please but I don't have the strongest wrists and my right one is really not happy with me when I put lots of pressure on it. So I was thinking something like these might make push-ups easier to do in the sense of not leading to an injury.

    For the visual people:


    PS I know I should just strengthen my wrists but while I'm doing that....

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 29, 2007 10:42 PM GMT
    I've used a varity of push up bars over the years. All they allow you to do is get a wider range of movement by letting you dip lower. All that is truly necessary for a push up (so says this Army guy) is that the tirceps become parallel to the marching surface. Its important to keep you form correct, ie. your abs tight and your body straight as a board. There are a varity of pushups one can do. Close Hand, Wide Arm, Elevated, and my special favorite the Psycho Push up. But the pars wont hurt if you are looking for more variety.

    the Psycho Push-up.
    (A four-count) exercise

    Take the normal push up position, otherwise known as the "Front Lean, and Rest"

    As you lower yourself to the ground, bring your right knee forward, keeping you leg parallel to the ground and touch your knee to your elbow. (Count 1)

    Return to the Start Postition. (Count 2)

    Lower yourself to the ground, this time raising you left knee to your left elbow. (Count 3)

    Return to the Start Position. (Count 4)

    That is one Psycho Push up.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 29, 2007 10:56 PM GMT
    No, push up bars are really meant to be use only to protect your wrists.

    Going lower is actually quite bad for your shoulder joints. While indeed deep push ups, wheter elows out or close to the trunk, PROPORTIONALLY stresses your anterior shoulder joint capsule, ligaments, and the deep rotator cuff muscles more than the pecs... The difficulty one feels at the end range deep push ups is not just the muscles become inefficent at doing its task of contracting, but most because the rotator cuffs are screaming and joint capsules stretching, like just before you sprain your ankle... Not recommended.

    Without the push up bars, your wrist will weight bear in a end range extension, which is not only bad for the rows of the joints (there are 2 rows of wrist bones within that space of less than 1 inch) but also stresse the Median Nerve in the Carpal Tunnel... Most do not feel this is a problem, but older athletes, or athletes like gymnast who chrnically weight bear on their wrists, would develope problems...
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    Jul 29, 2007 11:00 PM GMT
    And NO, this has nothing to with wrist strength...

    Wrist strength all comes from the forearm musculature attaching to the inside and outside of the elbow. INcreased wrist strength is basically increased forearm strength. BUT these are slow twtich fibers, and do not adapt to heavy resistiive training well, and do not get that much stronger or bigger...

    Repeatitive resistive training oof the forearms will just give you Tennis and Golfers Elbows... You want to make us rich...Keep doing wrist exercises...
  • atxclimber

    Posts: 480

    Jul 29, 2007 11:01 PM GMT
    I've certainly found that push-up bars make them easier on my wrists. I have always seen push-ups done where the elbows come away from the sides of the body as they flex, i.e. your elbows are stretching out sideways, not hugged in to the sides.

    If you do it that way, and if your fingers point forward, you're crimping the pinky-finger side of the wrist as you descend, aka ulnar deviation, which isn't really good to do. The only way to fix that would be to have the fingers pointing out or in at 90 degrees, and I've certainly never seen anyone do a push-up like that.

    But push-up bars are usually rotated so your wrists *would* be at 90 degrees, fingers pointing away from the body. Or close, maybe 75 degrees if the bars are rotated a bit. So that would definitely be healthier on the wrists, it makes sense.

    I'm sure NYCMusc would have better insight into the alignment issues of proper pushup form, but it strikes me that if you were to do them with elbows hugged into the sides, it'd be healthier for the wrists and shoulders (well, as long as you keep the shoulder blades lifting towards the ceiling, i.e. don't hunch the shoulders down towards the ground) but then it wouldn't work the pecs the same way, would it? That seems like it would be mostly tricep work. Who knows.

    Anyway, sorry to be long-winded and tangential. I have found push-up bars to be useful in reducing strain and subsequent tingling / numbness in the wrists from pushups, and I also agree that they permit a long range of motion, getting your chest further down. Makes it more challenging, and feels like a better stretch.
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    Jul 29, 2007 11:02 PM GMT
    Forgot to add that this has to do with weight bearing on the wrist in a position taht is pasively and mechanically not so great for the joints... This is NOT about musculature or strength, just passive mechanical positioning and loading...
  • atxclimber

    Posts: 480

    Jul 29, 2007 11:06 PM GMT
    Hey, speak of the devil. You beat me to posting!

    On wrist strength, though, I don't know about the muscles of the forearm not getting much stronger. In yoga practice, in a lot of poses where the hands are on the ground, beginners have a hard time not crashing the weight down into the heel of the hand, which is compressive in the wrist and leads to injury.

    The instruction is to bear the weight along the lengths of every finger, especially at the base knuckles, and also to bear more weight down the length of the index finger and thumb and the webbing in between than on the pinky finger (mostly, that last part is because you're externally rotating the upper arm in most poses, so you need to deliberately internally rotate at the forearm, i.e. put the weight in the index finger and thumb, to avoid just crashing weight down into the outside of the hand.)

    Beginners cannot do this. When I started, it was like a pipe dream. Lift the heart of my palm off the ground? Yeah, right, that's not gonna happen, I thought. But over the years, I can now practice poses like downward-facing dog and keep the weight spread evenly over my hand and fingers, so that you could slide a piece of paper under the heel of my hand, where the wrist touches the ground.

    I'm not at the point where I can do the same in push-up pose, the wrists bear more weight there, and certainly not in handstand yet, but I'm pretty sure it's possible, given that it seemed equally absurd 5 years ago to do it in downward dog, and that comes relatively easily now.

    So yeah, while doing pushups, also be mindful of the weight distribution in the hands, and try to even it out; look for hotspots and lift them up, especially the heart of the palm (the center of the heel of the hand and the center of the palm.) That part is analogous to the arch of the foot, you don't want it to be in contact with the ground bearing weight, it lifts.
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    Jul 29, 2007 11:09 PM GMT
    Atxclimber.. First of all THANK YOU for the compliments!

    And I am not so sure about what youare describing except Ulnar deviation (and it is bad, yes).. That is the problem with every day common English, it is not precise enough so I have no clue what you were quite describing..

    Now, the pecs are actually a shoulder internal rotator muscle as it attaches to the front of the shoulder. So as it contracts, your shoulders will internally rotate. That being said, when one performs push ups withthe elbows too close to your trunk, you are actually working more on your triceps than pecs (of course both are firing, but I am talking about the ratio here.)

    The push up bars should be placed which when the wrists weight bear on them, your wrists are in neutral, in neither Ulnar or Radial Deviation. That means the bars have to point inwards, like an upside down V...
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    Jul 29, 2007 11:14 PM GMT
    You re describing finger flexors, although they also originate form the medial side of the elbow, are actually VERY strong and they are combination fibers. They can be trained to support body weight. Your wrist, naother story. But over training of the finger flexors can also get you Golfers Elbow (medial epicondylitis) and also it is very stressful onthe Y ligamen mechanism in the plamer side of the fingers, causing Trigger Finger. My sister's BF is an avid climber, and he has developed Triger Finger.

    Over train of the finger and wrist muscualr is never a good idea, although the finger flexor can take more than the wrists... Think about it, if youare hanging on a cliff, what prevents you from fallin to your death? Finger flexors..
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    Jul 29, 2007 11:51 PM GMT
    "All that is truly necessary for a push up (so says this Army guy)"

    The Army has an OLD and OUT DATED and POOR SCIENTIFIC routine of training... That is the same with the Navy Seal or Marines.. NONE of the traing was developed with ANY input fom health care professionals, but from retired miliatry members with no formal background in exercise physiology or medical and biomechanical sciences. It relies heavyly on "Butch" and "Tough & Rough" principles... I do not understand why the government do not update this set of training, but the military is a whole culture by itself and not often open to the ideas and trend of civilian population.

    I know bacause THAT IS my patient population, and they often come injured from training. They have to perform these injury prone training in order to stay n the miliatry and to collect their pensions... It is really ridiculous.

    Yet, people are buying exercise books written by these morons...
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    Jul 29, 2007 11:56 PM GMT
    Sorry to venting, do you know how many femake soilders I have come to treat with multiple body injuries such as separated shoulder to hair line fracture of the hip to disc herniation, ALL in one person? And these soldier were not even sent out to Irg but only in training! When you take young men and women, who has not had a life style of rigours exerciese, then all the sudeen ask them to carry 50 pounds and walk uphills inthe rain without rest for hours then suddenly jump into a 5 feet deep fox hole, what do you get? I assure you it is not the physique you would see in an Army exercise book, but patients in my clinic!
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    Jul 30, 2007 12:16 AM GMT
    NYC, thats why I caveated my post with: "So says this Army guy". I'm well aware that the Army often falls short when it comes to maintaining a healthy physique and if you are in the Army for any length of time, injuries are likely to occur. And things are likely to change anytime soon. We have lowered our standards as to who we will let in, physically speaking (Height/Weight ratio) and actually lessened our requirements for passing tests (thanks to the shortage of personnel needed to man our multiple operations, but PLEASE lets not get into that).

    Its every Soldier's responsibility to conduct physical training in thier off hours to improve thier physiques and performance. Daily PT and bi-annual PT Tests are not designed to improve, only to maintian the minimum. Most of the guys I know, to include myself, leave a morning PT session with the team sweating, and head straight for the gym to lift wieghts or do some cardio.

    Not all injuries are the fault of the system. Many times it's the fault of the individual, for not taking the time to learn whats right and wrong.
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    Jul 30, 2007 12:22 AM GMT
    I just get the stories from the soldier that I treat, and I cringe to hear what they had to do in a certain period of time... How true their accounts are..? If things are exaggerated? I do not know... But some of the PT test they described to me, and the strict forms required to pass the PT tests, are just not logical to me (such as how you have to do sit ups and all that...)

    I certainly hope they change the system and get more input from medical professionals...

    Or maybe they are operating on the "survival of the fittest" principle...? I guess if your body is not made to do this type of stuff, you get injured, and you are out...?
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    Jul 30, 2007 12:29 AM GMT
    There certainly is a survival of the fittest ingrained mentality. Do you know that at 5'8", 180 lbs, even if I can pass a PT test with flying colors, I can still be discharged for being overwieght.
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    Jul 30, 2007 1:37 AM GMT
    Well then I am overweigth as well.. This is not just applying to the miliary, but also to the general medical/hleath care community: The hiehgt /weight ratio is OUTDATED... What is more important is lean body mass ratio...
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    Jul 30, 2007 2:30 AM GMT
    So what you're saying is get the push-up bars? LOL - kidding!!!

    Thanks for the extensive description on what's happening to cause my problem as well as the thoughts on form. It's also nice to know that I don't necessarily need to add one more area to focus on in the gym.

    I did find it interesting that NYCMusc mentioned golfer's elbow. I didn't have this problem until I really started playing golf a lot. I have no idea if there's a direct association but it sounds like there might be - especially since it's just my right wrist.

    Now I have to print this all out and study it some more. Thanks again.
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    Jul 30, 2007 7:52 AM GMT
    As far as Golfers Elboe, or medial epicondylitis, your grip and the thickness/diameter of the golf club handle is of importance. Too thin and oddly shaped handle is not great for this condition. Severe Golfers AND Tennis elbow would hurt even with making a fist (that is one of our mechanical tests) because when you grab something with your hand or make a fist, ALL of the forearm muscles, agonist and antagonists (opposites), would have to CO-CONTRACT to prevent the wrist from curling up or extend... This strong co-contraction of both wrist flexors and extensors would irritate the tendon junctions at the elbows as these are not contractile and do not load well when there is muscular over use...

    If this is getting chronic or bad, you would have to resort either belts to unlaod the stressed sections of the muscle, or eventually with splinting (like a removable cast) to rest the structures... This is highly annyoying as you ahve to sleep with them on!
  • MikemikeMike

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    Jul 30, 2007 5:32 PM GMT
    I got the ones made by Bollinger. Modell's had em $11.00-cheap! They don't slip no matter what the floor surface. Saves my wrist from all the volleyball injuries!!! I love em.