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The pushup is a compound chest exercise that can be done with only your body weight. Find out what pushup accessories can make your pushup sessions even better.
Pushups are an exercise where you push yourself away from the ground in a plank position and lower yourself again. This is a great compound exercise for training chest, tricep, and shoulder muscles.
Essentially you don’t need any equipment to do this exercise. However, the right pushup accessories allow you to do make pushups more comfortable and more challenging for your muscles which can lead to faster and more muscle gain.
This can make certain of the options below a worthwhile investment depending on your training goals and budget.
1. Static pushup bars
One of the potential downsides of pushups is that they put your wrists in a position that can be painful to certain people. There is a type of pushup accessory called pushup bars made to overcome this challenge.
There are two main categories of pushup bars. The first one is static pushup bars. These are simply two short bars that are slightly elevated above the ground. You can put these at different angles depending on your training goals and personal preference.
This pushup accessory allows you to do pushups while keeping your wrists straight. In turn, this can lead to less pain during the exercise.
An advantage of this type of pushup equipment is that is relatively cheap and easy to use.
This tool is not essential for doing a good pushup session but it can increase your comfort. Make sure the weight capacity of the pushup bars is enough, especially if you plan to do weighted pushups.
2. Rotating pushup handles
The other category of pushup handles is the rotating version. Again these are horizontal bars slightly elevated above the ground. These pushup handles are different from the previous option in that they can turn throughout the pushup movement.
This can benefit your pushups by making them more comfortable for your wrists and more challenging for certain muscles.
Rotating pushup handles are very slightly more expensive than static versions but their added benefits can make the upgrade of a few dollars worth it.
3. Resistance bands
Resistance bands are an inexpensive type of fitness equipment that are basically elastic cords. Resistance band pushups are more challenging for your muscles.
There are two main ways you can use resistance bands as a pushup accessory. The first, more typical way, is by looping a resistance band behind your back and anchoring each end under your hands.
By doing this, the pushup becomes harder for your chest, tricep, and shoulder muscles which in turn can lead to more muscle gain faster.
The second, less common, way is by putting a short loop resistance band around your upper legs. This will engage your outer thigh muscles on top of the regular pushup muscles.
Some of the benefits of resistance bands are that they are relatively inexpensive, easy to store, and very portable. They can also be used in other exercises to train other muscles at home or in the gym.
One downside is that resistance bands are not the type of gym equipment you can use for the rest of your life. At least every few years you will need to replace the last set with new resistance bands.
A stepper is an elongated platform that is slightly elevated. It is mainly used for a type of workout called step aerobics but you can use this equipment as a pushup accessory too.
The first way to do this is by doing incline pushups. These are pushups with your hands on an elevated platform, in this example a stepper.
Incline pushups are generally easier than regular pushups because a bigger part of your body weight rests on your legs. You will also focus more on your lower chest muscles the more incline you go.
On the other hand, there is also something called a decline pushup. During this variation, your feet are elevated on the stepper. This makes the exercise harder and focuses more on the upper chest and shoulder muscles.
A benefit of steppers is that they are relatively inexpensive and can benefit your pushup and other workouts for a long time.
While you can use steppers for a variety of exercises, they are not as versatile as for example resistance bands.
5. Weighted vest
A weighted vest is basically its name, a vest with extra weight to make your workouts harder. One downside of pushups as a resistance training exercise is that it is relatively challenging to add extra resistance since your hands are on the ground.
Especially for individuals more experienced with chest, tricep, and shoulder training, this may be necessary to keep seeing a lot of muscle growth fast.
Weighted vests help you work around this since you can simply strap this pushup accessory around your body.
By doing this you can keep growing and strengthening pushup muscles for a longer time. Making pushups more challenging at the right points in your training can also help you achieve results quicker.
One of the benefits of a weighted vest as a piece of fitness equipment is that it is extremely versatile. You can use it in many exercises for many body parts and different exercise categories.
The potential downside is that the best weighted vests require a slightly higher investment than many of the other pushups accessories.
6. Bosu Ball
The next pushup accessory is a Bosu Ball. You can describe the Bosu Ball as the top of a stability ball attached to a flat surface. You can use it to do Bosu Ball pushups, the same exercise but with either your feet or hands on the Bosu Ball.
Similar to steppers, you can use a Bosu Ball to do pushups with a slight incline or decline. More unique is that Bosu Ball pushups will engage your oblique core muscles slightly more than the regular version.
If you put your hands on the rounded part the Bosu Ball can also help you strengthen your wrists more compared to regular pushups.
A potential downside of Bosu Balls is that they can be pricier than many of the other options on this list. If this is an issue, the Bosu Ball is a brand name. Off-brand alternatives may suit your needs too.
Something else is that individuals more experienced with chest and tricep training may still need other accessories on top of the Bosu Ball to make pushups challenging enough.
7. Parallette bars
Parallette bars, also sometimes known as gymnastics pushup bars, are basically two, slightly longer, horizontal bars that are relatively close to the ground.
Some models look and are very similar to static pushup bars but the main difference is that parallette bars are longer. This makes them more convenient for certain calisthenics exercises and thus more versatile than regular static pushup bars.
One thing to keep in mind when using parallette bars for this is that you may want to choose a model that is close to the ground if you are not interested in doing incline pushups.
Compared to regular static pushups bars a potential downside of parrallette bars is that they are pricier.