Manufacturers of Perfect·Pushup™ handgrips claim enhanced muscular recruitment when compared with the conventional hand-on-floor push-up exercise. Electromyographic (EMG) data were recorded using surface electrodes from the right-sided triceps brachii, pectoralis major, serratus anterior (SA), and posterior deltoid muscles during push-ups performed from 3 different hand positions: (a) shoulder width, (b) wide base, and (c) narrow base (NB). Push-ups were performed under 2 conditions: (a) standard push-up and (b) Perfect·Pushup™ handgrips. We recruited 20 healthy subjects, 11 men (24.9 ± 2.6 years) and 9 women (23.8 ± 1 years). Subjects completed 3 consecutive push-ups for each hand position under both conditions. Push-up speed was controlled using a metronome, and testing order was randomized. We recorded peak EMG activity for each muscle during each of the push-ups and normalized EMG values by maximum muscle contractions (% maximum voluntary isometric contraction [MVIC]). Electromyographic data were analyzed with 3 (hand position) × 2 (condition) repeated-measures analysis of variance with a post hoc Bonferroni-adjusted simple effects test to detect significant position effects for position by condition interactions (α = 0.05). A push-up required considerable muscle activation of the triceps brachii (73-109% MVIC), pectoralis major (95-105% MVIC), SA (67-87% MVIC), and posterior deltoid
(11-21% MVIC) whether performed using the conventional hand-on-floor position or the Perfect·Pushup™ handgrips. The NB hand position was most effective for preferentially activating the triceps brachii and posterior deltoid
muscles. Based upon EMG activation from 4 muscles, the Perfect·Pushup™ handgrips do not appear to preferentially enhance muscular recruitment when compared with the conventional push-up method.
Youdas, JW, Budach, BD, Ellerbusch, JV, Stucky, CM, Wait, KR, and Hollman, JH. Comparison of muscle-activation patterns during the conventional push-up and perfect·pushup™ exercises. J Strength Cond Res 24(12): 3352-3362, 2010.