The standard push up remains a favorite exercise for many people. This simple move provides a great workout for the chest, shoulders, triceps, and core. When you’re ready to add a greater challenge to your push ups, push up bars provide the answer.
So, what are the best push up bars? We’ve scoured the fitness marketplace and come up with the top five push up bars that are available today. We’ve considered the design, build quality, effectiveness, and value for money of the most popular models to allow you to make a smart buying decision.
First though, let’s consider what you need to look for when shopping for push up bars.
Summary: The Best Push Up Bars
What to Look For in Push Up Bars?
Push up bars are raised handles that make the push up exercise more difficult by extending your range of motion. When you do a standard push up, your range of motion is limited by the place where your hands are resting (usually the floor).
When you place your hands on the raised handles, however, you are able to lower yourself by several more inches. This extra range of motion provides a vital stretch to the pectoral muscles, which stimulates a growth response.
Most push ups bars come in the form of two "U" shaped handles. The handles are placed at the normal hand spacing and grip the top of them to provide the extra few inches of space.
Some push up bars also have a rotating action built into the handle. As the body goes up and down the handles are able to twist to either the left or the right. This action challenges the body’s stability during the push up. It calls on the core muscles to provide stability.
When you start looking for push ups bars, you’ll come across bars that are either made from plastic or steel. You will also encounter bars of all different shapes and sizes.
Plastic Push Up Bars
Plastic push up bars are the cheapest type of bar you can buy. The very cheap ones will not have hand grips, which will make it difficult to maintain your hand position, especially when you start sweating.
When you buy bars without grips, you will face the problem of the shaft biting into your hand when you are doing 10 or more reps. This may result in your hands fatiguing before your chest does.
Nearly all plastic push up bars come with plastic rubber caps that fit on the ends of the feet. These caps have a tendency to slide around on most flooring surfaces. Unless you are exercising on carpet, you will have to put a cloth under each handle to keep it in place.
Plastic handles will also bend quite easily. People who weigh more than 170 pounds will find the bars flexing on every rep. This can make you start wondering whether the bars are about to break in the middle of your set (they probably won’t).
- Plastic bars are best for people who weigh less than 170 pounds and are not going to be doing huge sets of push ups.
Square Block Push Up Bars
These bars are also made of plastic. They resemble a pair of ECG shock pads; they are square with sharp edges and a full base. They don’t feel as natural as most other types of bars, mainly due to the square shape. The edges tend to dig into your wrists as you go down.
These bars are a lot more solid than conventional plastic bars.
Steel U-Shaped and S-Shaped Push Up Bars
These bars are made of "U" shaped metal piping, which is covered by a couple of sets of hand grips. Some versions feature an "S" shape.
Many manufacturers of "U" shaped bars only make the "U" part of the bar out of steel, while the feet are plastic. This can lead to breakages at the connection between the feet and the "U" bar.
These bars are very sturdy. Due to their design, they grip the floor well. They won’t bend when you’re using them. However, when you are doing more than 15 reps in a row, the narrow tubing grip tends to bite on the hand, even with the protection of foam hand grip.
Ball-Bearing Twist Type Push Up Bars
These bars feature a pair of flat round discs with handles attached. A ball-bearing arrangement inside the base allows the handles to twist as you perform the push up.
This more expensive bar is a good option for advanced trainers who are looking to add a new level of intensity to their push up workout.
Before we delve into our top 5 Push Up Bars reviews, here’s an informative clip showing how to best incorporate push up bars into your workout.
Push Up Bars Reviews
The CAP Barbell Push Up Bars are an excellent piece of equipment that delivers great push ups at an excellent price. These bars are sturdy, stable, ergonomically designed, and beautifully finished in chrome.
CAP Barbell Push Up Bars are ergonomically designed to reduce stress on the wrist, elbows, and hands. The gentle curvature of the gripping handle allows for a natural hand position as you perform your push ups.
These bars allow for 5.5 inches of floor space. This provides enough room to fully stretch the pectoral muscles on the bottom portion of the push up exercise.
The thick foam grips provide hand comfort and prevent the bars digging into the hands, even when you’re doing high repetitions.
These CAP Barbell Push Bars are chrome plated to produce a high-quality finish that looks great.
Value for money
The CAP Barbell Bars can be purchased for under $20. This represents exceptional value for bars that are fully steel constructed, ergonomically designed, and come with thick padding.
The CAP Barbell Push Up Bars are constructed from heavy-duty steel, on both the feet and the “U” handles. They also feature hard rubber non-slip foot pads to hold the bars in place.
The Power Press Push Up system is a complete upper body exerciser that has the power to revolutionize your bodyweight training. If you are an intermediate or advanced trainer, this unit may just take your training to the next level.
The Power Press Push Up system is a color-coded push up board that allows you to work different muscles, depending on where you ‘plug’ the handles into the board. The board features slots for the handles to fit into that are coded according to the body part they target. There are more than a dozen different slots to change the hand positioning.
Value for money
The Power Press Push Up board system is available for around $50.
This price is more than double some of the other bars we have reviewed. It should be kept in mind, however, that you are purchasing more than a pair of push up bars. The Power Press Push Up board is an entire workout system. As such it represents good value for money.
The Power Press Push Up board and handles are made of heavy-duty plastic. The board is in two parts and fits together very securely. The handles feature thick foam grips. The bottom of the board has slip resistant pads that will hold it securely in place.
The Perfect Fitness Pushup Elite offers an extra challenge that engages your core and other stabilizer muscles. This makes it a good option for advanced trainers who want an extra challenge from their push up workout.
The Perfect Fitness Pushup Elite features a flat circular base with solid handles on top. The handles rotate as you perform a push up, providing a level of instability that engages the whole of your body. There is also an in-built resistance to the rotating motion to provide even greater workout tension.
Value for money
The Pushup Elite can be purchased for around $25. This represents very good value for money for a set of bars that is sturdy, dependable, and that offers increased intensity through the rotational aspect of the handles.
The Pushup Elite is made from heavy-duty plastic materials. It features an internal ball bearing system that allows the handles to rotate as you perform the exercise. Thick grooved foam runs the entire length of the handle. The maximum weight capacity of these bars is 400 pounds.
The Perfect Fitness Perfect Push Up provides a solid push up experience with the addition of handle rotation. However, the lack of rotational resistance and tendency to move on the floor make the Elite version by Perfect Fitness a better choice.
The Perfect Fitness Perfect Push Up Bar is the original push up bar from Perfect Fitness. It features a black solid design with a flat round base and twistable handles. There is no resistance to the twisting movement of the handles.
Value for money
The Perfect Fitness Perfect Push Up Bars can be purchased for under $20. This is about five bucks less than the Elite version. Considering that the Elite offers better surface grip and rotational resistance, it is probably a better buying option.
Just as with the Elite version of the Perfect Fitness bars, this model is made of solid plastic materials. Rubber grips cover the handles. The base of the unit has a smooth surface, which tends to slip if you’re not on carpet.
Tony Horton’s PowerStands provide everything you need for a solid, basic push up workout, but at a premium price.
Tony Horton’s PowerStands feature flat circular bases with hollow centers. The handles are ergonomically designed to reduce strain on the wrists, forearms, and hands. They feature rounded rather than square handles to eliminate the problem of the handles digging into your skin.
Foam grips cover the handles to provide extra comfort and grip. The bottoms of the bases feature a nonslip surface to keep you securely in place when you are exercising.
Value for money
Tony Horton’ PowerStands are available for around $50. This makes them the most expensive of the 5 models we have reviewed. These are a solid dependable pair of push up bars, but it would appear that you are paying a premium for the celebrity trainer name here.
The current version of Tony Horton’s PowerStands are made from heavy-duty plastic. The older version was made from steel but customers seem to not have noticed a drop-off in strength and durability.