Will doing push-ups with push-up bars work the lower chest, the upper chest, or will the chest be worked in the same way as with regular push-ups? Thank you.
The chest will be worked the same as with "hands-on-the ground" push-ups in the same position. The difference is in the wrists and shoulders with a slight difference in the range of motion. The effects of push-up bars are:
- Straight wrists - It can reduce strain on the wrists from having to bend the hands at a 90 degree angle. On the other hand, it also removes the benefit of training that extension.
- Larger range of motion - Normally, you can only lower your push-up to the level of your hands (and just past that, you're beginning to rest your weight onto the floor). Push-up bars let you go beyond that by elevating your hands while leaving the space in between free. That allows a deeper push-up with more shoulder rotation. However, as a caveat, that might not do anything for you if you don't have a need for that added rotation (swimmers, for example, will want this) and it will expose you to potential injury.
This greater range of motion puts your shoulders in an unstable position, providing very little benefit over the chest-to-floor range of motion and greatly increasing your risk of injury. The simple fix for this is not to lower your chest all the way to the floor when using push-up handles.