Push-ups on the bars: exercise variations

Push-ups on the bars: exercise variations

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Today we will talk about what muscles work, about the correct technique of doing push-ups on the bars, what can replace this exercise, as well as various variations of the exercise for both beginners and advanced athletes.


World records in push-ups on the bars are set in three categories:

  • The maximum number of push-ups per hour – 3989 times belongs to Simon Kent from the UK, set on September 5, 1998.
  • maximum number of times per minute – 140 repetitions, set by the same athlete on July 17, 2002;
  • the maximum weight of the additional burden – 197 kg in one repetition – set by Marvin Eder. The record is not official.

Advantages of using push-up bars

  • Gives a high level of comfort and convenience – Though any bars can be used for push-ups it is more convenient if you have your own and can carry it wherever you go. There are now available handy push-up grips that can help you stay on track for your workout routine.
  • Ergonomic – In regular push-ups, a wrong position of your wrist and arms can strain your tendons and ligaments because of extreme backward bending. Using push-up bars provide an ergonomic way of positioning your wrist during your training or exercise lessening the possibility of injuring your wrist.
  • Provides more effectivity on your workout – Doing push-ups on the bars can give you an extended range of movement while exercising. It helps you be more intense in your training as muscles are subjected to more strain providing effective results. You may not achieve a higher count of push-ups during your first few tries since you are still getting the grip on using the bars.

Proper technique of doing push-ups on the bars

Performing push-ups on the bars must be done appropriately to avoid ineffective exercising. To be on right starting position, you must go down on your knees and support your weight on your hands holding the bars. Then, level your hands with your chest. After that, stretch your leg backwards and support your weight on the tips on your toes. When you’re ready, lower your body towards the floor as you inhale. Then push yourself upward returning to your original position as you exhale. Repeat the steps and make sure you are stable enough to avoid necessary mistakes which can result to pain.

What muscles work?

Another question is which muscles you want to emphasize: triceps or chest. Looking ahead, we say that a well-designed program of training on the parallel bars should consist of both options. Those who can be wrung out from the bars 20 times or more, it is advisable to perform this exercise with additional weight.

This exercise involves the front deltas, the pectoralis major muscle, the triceps, and the rectus abdominis muscle works in statics. There are several types of push-ups on the bars – in one of them the load is maximal on the muscles of the arms and it is the triceps that work actively, with the other variant, the pectoral muscles are more involved. On each of the species in detail we will talk later in the material.

Push-ups on the bars with an emphasis on the pectoral muscles

In order to shift the load on the chest muscles, it is required, first, to find bars with a slightly wider distance between the crossbars. The more shoulders are removed from the body, the greater the burden placed on the chest muscles. Further, when the elbows bend, you should press your head to your chest and try to tilt the body as far as possible forward. It should be lowered as low as possible, while feeling the stretching in the pectoral muscles.

push ups bars benefits

Shoulder joints are required to reduce, otherwise there will be a feeling of tension in the capsule of the shoulder joint, which will indicate the destructive load applied to your shoulders. To do this, when you take your initial position in your upper arms on the uneven bars, statically strain your chest muscles.

When you rise from the lowest point, try to concentrate not on straightening the arm in the elbow, your task is to “burn” the arms with the palms. Moreover, throughout the whole approach, your task is to keep your body position leaning forward. Straighten your elbows to the end is not necessary. so you completely take off the load from the pectoral muscles.

And a little advice: if the distance between the crossbars is small, you can arbitrarily spread your elbows to the sides, or take up the bars with a reverse grip. This option is not for everyone, but it is definitely worth a try.

Push-ups with parallel triceps

Technically, a simpler option, since it does not require a special concentration on the muscles being worked out. For beginners, it is easier, since the latter have a poorly developed neuro-muscular connection, respectively, the “tricep” push-ups will be more natural for them.

Technically, in this version, we try to find bars parallel, we don’t raise our elbows, just the opposite, we keep them closer to each other. The body is held perpendicular to the floor. It is not necessary to go deep in this variant at all, the angle of elbow flexion of 90 degrees is quite enough. However, as in the previous version, it is not necessary to firmly “insert” elbows at the top point, your task is to reduce the triceps, without straightening your elbows to the very end, your arms will be transferred from the muscles to the joints and ligaments, many times increasing the injury risk of the exercise, especially this should be remembered when using additional burdens.

Push-ups lying on the bars

This exercise in the above techniques is a tough exercise and not everyone can get right away. Lightweight option will be push-ups lying on the bars, when your feet are on the bars of the bars. In fact, this is very similar to ordinary pushups, however, unlike pushups from the floor, here you can lower the chest below the level of the brushes.

Starting your workouts on the uneven bars should be done with this exercise, if you do not have the “classic” options yet: each repetition should be done slowly, lowering the body by 3-4 counts, lifting up to 2 counts, do not allow full elbow extension. Elbows are maximally pressed to the body: we develop triceps, while lowering the chest as low as possible – the pectoral muscles also receive a solid load. Your task is to reach 20 repetitions, as soon as you cope with this task, go to the tricep type of push-ups. They mastered 20 tricep push-ups in an ideal technique – they switched to the “chest variant”. The scheme, for those who want to learn how to push on the bars.

See also: Kalistenika – building a strong and beautiful body without going to the gym

The scheme of the development of push-ups on the bars

Next, we have prepared for you several training programs and schemes for otzhmaniyam on parallel bars:

A week one 2 3 four five 6 7 eight 9 ten eleven 12
Lightweight version 2 * 10 2 * 15 2 * 20 2 * 20 2 * 20 2 * 20 2 * 20 2 * 20 2 * 20 2 * 20 2 * 20 2 * 20
Tricep option 1 * 5 2 * 5 2 * 10 2 * 15 1 * 20 1 * 15, 1 * 20 2 * 20 2 * 20 2 * 20 2 * 20
Chest option 1 * 5 2 * 5 2 * 10 2 * 15 1 * 15, 1 * 20

Training regimen: 3 times a week, every other day.

  • bars – every workout;
  • pull-ups – once a week;
  • squatting with your weight – once a week;
  • push-ups from the floor with different grabs – once a week, but not more than 4 sets of 20-25 times.

Approximate weekly set:

  • Monday: bars, crossbar;
  • Wednesday: parallel bars, squats;
  • Friday: bars, push-ups from the floor.

Note that during the development of this program, you will be squeezed out on the bars more than 20 times per repetition. From this stage it is advisable to use additional burdening.

push ups with weight

Push-ups with weight

As an additional weight, you can use pancakes, weights, dumbbells, thick chains, which will help you to increase the result by push-ups on the bars. Before adding or using extra weight while doing push-ups, remember it needs proper placement since doing it wrong can result in inflammation on your shoulders and can even injure your joints.

As an attachment for push-ups on the bars with weights, you can use:

  • Special belt with chain. The length of the chain is regulated, the degree of freedom of burdening can be changed depending on the preferences of the athlete, in general, a fairly convenient option, but there is a strong traction effect on the spine. On the one hand, it is the prevention of diseases of the latter, on the other hand, the risk of increased injury risk and the source of possible unpleasant feelings.
  • Normal power belt. The dumbbell is pushed under the belt buckle, while the burden is rigidly fixed and is close to the center of gravity of the body. The only inconvenience is that the dumbbell is strongly pressed against the tense muscles of the abdomen, which can cause very unpleasant sensations, up to the early completion of the approach.
  • Wrestling belt, similar to those used in Sambo. The least convenient, but the most affordable, in financial terms, option.
  • Special vest. You can buy industrial production, or sew yourself from scrap materials. The most convenient, practical and safe option.
  • Heavy chain with heavy links as a burden – the most extreme option. The main condition is that the chain be long enough and its lower links lay on the floor when you are in the top position. The essence of this option is that each new link, rising from the ground under the force of your efforts, proportionally increases the load on your muscles, and the exercise becomes heavy, regardless of the range of motion amplitude.

To master push-ups on the weight bars should be with minimal weights. The optimal weight for a beginner – 5 kg. The criteria for “weighting” are the same: confidently performing 20 repetitions from 5 kg. As tracing paper, you can take the table presented above. The main thing here is the gradualness and continuity of the process, each training you should try to do a little more than in the past.

Remember, all the diagrams are approximate! You cannot today increase the number of push-ups by 5, increase by 1! The main thing is the progression of the load. The only way you can increase pushups on the uneven bars.

Push Ups for Advanced

Push-ups on the bars “corner”. Having taken a starting position, you straighten your legs at the knees and bend at the hip joints at 90 degrees to the body. Having taken this initial position, then, you perform the “tricep” version of push-ups on the bars, constantly keeping the press in tension. In this embodiment, the quadriceps work, the rectus abdominis and oblique abdominal muscles, as the stabilizers, the chest muscles are included.

Push up from the pillars. Instead of bars, a pair of pillars is used, the stability of your wrists is reduced, and the stabilizing muscles are included: in this case, the muscles of the rotator cuff of the shoulder joint, biceps, forearm, intercostal, serrated, small chest muscles.

Push-ups on uneven bars with different grip when one hand is in front of the other. It turns out that when you lower the body to the lower point, from the side of the “back” arm, you train the pectoral muscles, from the front side, most of the load goes to the triceps.

Push-ups on the bars upside down. In the initial position, you are standing on your hands on the uneven bars, the body is perpendicular to the floor, the head is looking down, the legs are up. In this embodiment, all the muscles of the core are powerfully involved, the dynamic load is placed on the deltoid muscles and the three-headed arms.

push-ups on bars

What to replace push-ups on the bars?

Sometimes for one reason or another it is not possible to do the above exercises, then, there are problems than you can replace push-ups on the bars to get a comparable effect.

  1. The push-ups on the bars can be equivalently replaced by push-ups between two chairs, with your legs straight at the knees and standing on the floor. This is a great option if you are extremely weak and you can not even get push-ups from the floor.
  2. Push-ups from the floor, when setting the arms shoulder-width apart, with the shoulders pressed to the body as much as possible – another option to replace the push-ups on the uneven bars, in case there are simply no bars. If you add elevations under your palms, such as special supports, a pair of books, you will get even closer to the “original”.
  3. Sambos push-ups, also known as the single-arm med ball off-set push-up, is similar to regular push-ups with an addition of placing a med ball on the other arm, particularly on the palm. As you pull your body down, you need to extend the arm you are placing on top of the med ball by rolling it outward, then roll the ball back to your body as you push up.
  4. A barbell press with its head down makes the pectoral muscles and triceps work in a mode very similar to that created during push-ups on the uneven bars.


6 thoughts on “Push-ups on the bars: exercise variations

  1. I’m still a beginner and can only last a minute doing push-ups with only a few counts. I just want to know if there is an average count of push-ups you can do in a minute, so I can aim for it?

    1. There is no specific number. It varies among gender and age. For example, if an 18-year old man performs push-ups within one minute, he can reach more or less than 56 counts. While older men, ages 60 to 65 can only perform an average of 30 counts. No pressure here since you are just starting. It is not necessary to reach the average amount for your age; you only need to let your body get used to it until you can beat your previous count.

    1. Yes, it’s way easier since you are adding force to your hands while gripping the bars by add muscles that help you lift and lower your body.

  2. Regular push-ups is already hard, so I don’t understand why other people tend to let themselves suffer by adding weights on their push-ups routine?

    1. Like they say, “No pain, no gain.” Regular push-ups are traditionally beneficial to improve your upper body strength but weighted push-ups will encourage your muscles to develop more strength and mass especially to your triceps, anterior deltoids, and pectorals.

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