The Not-So-Perfect Push-Up


Ever see a fitness product advertised on television and think: “Sure, that sounds like a great idea, but I wonder whether it actually works”? Scientists at the Mayo Clinic decided to go one step further with the Perfect Pushup, a product purported to work your muscles harder than a traditional push-up does. They had 20 healthy subjects perform push-ups with shoulder-width, wide and narrow hand positions, using the standard push-up method and the Perfect Pushup handgrips. Each subject wore several surface electrodes so as to measure levels of muscular recruitment throughout the arms and chest. The study — published in the December 2010 issue of the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research — found that both approaches heavily worked the triceps brachii, pectoralis major, serratus anterior and posterior deltoid, with the narrow position really stressing the triceps brachii and posterior deltoid. But perhaps more important, it found that “Perfect Pushup handgrips do not appear to preferentially enhance muscular recruitment when compared with the conventional push-up method.” Guess you can save your money for Ab-OrigiOnals!