Push-up bars are highly sought-after calisthenics equipment since they bring an amazing exercise variety to your workout regime. 

The greatest thing about push-up bars is that you can use them anywhere, anytime, outdoors or indoors, and you do not even need a calisthenics park or a gym.  

In this guide you'll discover what a push-up bar workout entails and the best push-up bar exercises that you can perform.

Push-up bars enhance the motion range of your push-up, and the science behind the consequent result is quite simple: improving your motion range in any exercise builds your muscles and makes you stronger faster. 

A push-up is one of the most beneficial and simplest exercises to perform to gain muscle and strength. Exercises using a push-up bar use your body weight as resistance and work your core and upper body simultaneously.  

In a typical push-up bars workout, these muscles are targeted: 

  • Pectorals or chest muscles 
  • Deltoids or shoulder muscles 
  • Triceps
  • Abdominals
  • Serratus anterior or the muscles directly under the armpit known as 'wing' muscles [1

The best thing about the push-up bar exercises is that it will be hard for your body and you to get used to them. There are various push-up bars exercise variations that target every muscle differently.  

12 Best Push Up Bar Exercises  

While doing a handstand or push-ups, there will be a high load on the wrists, resulting in pain. On-floor training without a push-up bar can result in an uncomfortable wrist position, ultimately damaging your performance.  

Exercises using push-up bars offer a grip while putting your wrists in a neutral and comfortable position, giving better training results.  

Here are 12 exercises to do with push up bars: 

1. Push-Ups 

man doing push ups using a push up bar

The most renowned exercise for push-up bars is doing a push-up. The most significant benefit of doing it on the parallettes is going deeper than traditional push-ups and getting a much higher muscle stimulus.  

I've always found the increased muscle stimulus results in greater strength and muscle building potential. I love how the movement works my chest muscles through a large range of motion. 

Another great thing about doing push-up exercises with a push-up bar is that you will be able to adjust your hands' position to perform narrow or wide push-ups. I've found this useful for clients who suffer from shoulder injuries, so they can simply use a neutral grip position instead.


  • Uses a wide range of motion.
  • Multiple hand positions.
  • Excellent for muscle building.

How to do it:

  1. Set up the push-up bars on the floor (shoulder width apart). 
  2. Hold on to each handle and assume the push-up position. 
  3. Slowly lower your body to the floor until you're roughly 1inch from the floor. 
  4. Push your body upwards back to the starting position. 
  5. Repeat. 

Tips From A Trainer!

If you're struggling to perform the push-up, place your knees on the floor to remove some of your body weight from your arms and chest. Doing so makes the push-up easier. 

Related Article - 5 Day Split Dumbbell Workout

2. Pike Push-Ups 

Man Doing Pike Push-Ups

The pike push-ups can also be performed without using a push-up bar. However, once again, you benefit from an extensive motion range. Just keep the legs stretched to execute your pike push-up exercise correctly.  

I've found that the elevated hand position provides you with more head space, which increases your range of motion compared to regular pike push-ups. The additional range of motion will result in more muscle stimulus and therefore more muscle growth. 

Sounds good to me!

During this movement, you'll be placing more emphasis on your shoulders. This is one of my favourite body weight shoulder movements. 


  • Develops your shoulders.
  • Uses your body weight. 

How to do it:

  1. Place your push-up bars shoulder width apart. 
  2. Hold them and assume a push-up position. 
  3. Keeping your legs straight, walk your feet towards your hands so your body is at 90 degrees.
  4. Perform a push-up, lowering your head towards the ground. 
  5. Push yourself up to the starting position and repeat.

Tips From A Trainer!

While doing a pike push-up, the closer you keep your feet near your hands, the more effective and difficult your exercise regime will be. However, the most important thing to note is to keep the legs extended. 

3. L-Sit 

Woman Doing L-Sits

Among all the exercises to do with push-up bars, I believe the L-sit is among the most basic calisthenics exercises. However, I think it's rather difficult as it requires a strong core and upper body.

I've found that it's a brilliant exercise to perform if you want to become stronger and eventually perform more advanced calisthenics movements like the front lever. 

This exercise employs the use of muscles all over your body since it requires high body tension.


  • Uses your entire body. 
  • Strengthens your core. 
  • One of the most basic calisthenic movements.

How to do it:

  1. Set the push-up bars to hip width. 
  2. Sit in between them and place both hands on a handle.
  3. Keeping your legs straight, lift your body from the floor by straightening your arms. 
  4. Hold for a set amount of time. 
  5. Relax and lower yourself back to the floor. 
  6. Rest and repeat.

Tips From A Trainer!

While doing the L-sit exercise using push-up bars, extend your arms completely and protract the shoulder to ensure that you have the perfect form instantly.   

Related Article - Plyo Box Workout

4. Tucked Planche

Man Doing Tucked Planche Exercise

In my opinion, the tucked planche is among the most advanced calisthenics push-up bar exercises on this list This exercise bears a resemblance to the frog stand. However, there is one key difference: you do not place your knees on your elbows.

I believe this makes the tucked planche much more challenging as there's greater stress on your wrists. As there is more force being placed on your wrist joints, it's not suitable for anybody with wrist injuries. When I had a wrist injury, I found this movement only aggravated my joints. 


  • Ideal for more advanced lifters.
  • Uses your entire body. 
  • Develops a super strong core.

How to do it:

  1. Kneel with the push-up bars placed either side of your hips. 
  2. Place your hands on the bars and grip them using a neutral grip. 
  3. Lift your body weight from the floor and keep your knees tucked. 
  4. Lean forward slightly so that your arms are angled. 
  5. Hold this position for a set amount of time and relax. 
  6. Rest and repeat.

Tips From A Trainer!

While doing the tucked planche push-up bar exercise, one thing to remember is to push out your shoulders. This will ensure that you have the perfect form. Also, note that your arms must be extended fully. 

5. Handstand Push Ups 

Man Doing Handstand Push Ups

Handstand push-ups are among the more advanced exercises to do with push-up bars (for obvious reasons), and therefore they must not be done until you can comfortably perform regular push-ups and have excellent upper body strength. 

I've found one of the easiest ways to perform handstand push-ups is by placing the bars a couple of inches from the wall. 

By using the wall for support, it'll not only boost your confidence, but it'll help guide you during the movement. I always perform the handstand push-ups against the wall, even after years of performing them. 


  • Develops your shoulders.
  • Strengthens your core. 
  • Ideal for advanced lifters.

How to do it:

  1. Place the push-up bars shoulder width apart and a few inches from a wall. 
  2. Face the wall and place both hands on the push-up bars.
  3. Extend your arms and straighten your body until you're fully inverted. 
  4. Slowly lower your head towards the ground by bending your elbows. 
  5. Stop just before your head touches the floor or when your elbows are at 90 degrees. 
  6. Push yourself upwards to the starting position and repeat.

Tips From A Trainer!

While doing this push-up bar exercise, you can also place an abdominal mat on the ground to cushion your head if you can lower that far.   

6. Frog Stand 

Woman Doing Frog Stands

There are various exercises to do with push-up barswhich become a basis for numerous others, and such is the case for the frog stand.

It's a precursor for various exercise skills, including the handstand and tucked planche (as mentioned earlier in the article). Ideally, you can improve your body tension and develop a feel for multiple advanced skills.  

To do a frog stand, you must grab push-up bar grips and then support yourself via your knees on elbows. Initially, this exercise might feel unfamiliar and awkward for you since it requires some form of balance.

However, with time you can work towards complete extension of your arms. Use the elbows less and less to support the knees until there is no longer a need to rest them.  


  • Ideal for developing strength for other calisthenic movements.
  • Uses your entire body. 

how to do it:

  1. Set the push-up bars to shoulder width. 
  2. Grab the bars with a neutral grip. 
  3. Lean forward slightly and remove your feet from the floor. 
  4. Place your knees against your elbows and use them to support your body weight. 
  5. Hold the position for a set time and relax. 
  6. Repeat.

Tips From A Trainer!

Don't worry if you can only hold this movement for 3-5 seconds. Use this amount of time as a base and build up over the next few weeks. You'll soon be holding the position for 30-45 seconds.  

Related Article - Best Cable Arm Exercises

7. Handstand 

Man Doing A Handstand

The handstand is one of my favorite body weight exercises for demonstrating complete upper body strength. Many of my clients find doing a handstand on parallettes (or push-up bars) is much more comfortable since you have better control and traction and can easily push yourself back in case of losing your balance. 

I've also found that the wrist position is much more comfortable and it doesn't irritate my wrist joints as much as the regular handstand. 

The handstand needs a combination of balance and strength, along with a lot of time, patience, and practice to learn.  

Once you master this movement I truly believe you'll be a master of your body weight. 


  • Allows you to truly master your body weight. 
  • Develops a lot of strength. 
  • Increases your shoulder stability. 

how to do it:

  1. Place two push-up bars shoulder width apart. 
  2. Grab each using a neutral grip and lift your body weight off of the floor. 
  3. Completely straighten your body so you're fully inverted. 
  4. Hold for a select amount of time. 
  5. Repeat. 

Tips From A Trainer!

Struggling with this movement? Get some help from a friend or training partner. They can help you develop your balance and given a few weeks, you won't need any assistance.  

8. Hollow Back Handstand 

Man Doing Hollow Back Handstand Outdoors

One of the push-up bar exercises involving a handstand is the hollow back handstand. It requires great mobility.

If we talk about strength, the difference between a normal handstand and a hollow back handstand is not much; however, I've found there is a HUGE difference in the amount of balance you require. The balance is different since your body's center of gravity shifts, which I think makes it tougher. 

If I'm being completely honest, I'd only recommend this movement to more advanced gym-goers. It really does require A LOT of body strength (and balance). If you're new to training, it's unlikely you'll have the strength and skills to pull this movement off. 


  • Improves balance.
  • Increases body strength.
  • Ideal for advanced lifters.

how to do it:

  1. Place the push-up bars shoulder width.
  2. Start with a normal handstand.
  3. Bend the legs furthest over the head and push your shoulders in the opposite direction. If you only do it with your legs bent over, you will lose your balance quickly.
  4. Hold the position and release once you've achieved the time you wanted. 
  5. Rest and repeat.

Tips From A Trainer!

Work on your stretching a lot and learn good bridge positioning; doing so will make hollow back handstands easier for you.  

Related Article - Power Rack Exercises

9. One Arm Handstand 

Man Doing One Arm Handstand

The one-arm handstand is one of the most difficult calisthenics movements in my opinion.

To do a one-arm handstand, you need a highly developed balance, and without constant training, it will be next to impossible to master the one-arm handstand. Even I can't perform this movement and I've been training for over 18 years (granted, I haven't been training to perform this movement, but it's still incredibly tough). 

If you ask me, there aren't many people I know who can do this exercise. However, if you can truly master this movement, there won't be many calisthenic exercises that you can't do. 


  • Uses your entire body.
  • Ideal for the most advanced gym goers or athletes.
  • Increases your balance and coordination.

How to do it:

  1. Set the push-up bars so they're shoulder width apart. 
  2. Assume a handstand position with your body fully inverted. 
  3. Grip the push-up bar tightly with one hand and shift your body weight to that side. 
  4. Remove your other hand and hold the position. 
  5. Place your other hand back down and swap sides. 
  6. Repeat. 

Tips From A Trainer!

When you grip the bar, squeeze it tightly. By doing so you'll engage your forearm muscles more effectively, which will help your balance as you shift your weight to one hand. 

10. Full Planche 

Man Doing Full Planche

In the calisthenics community and especially in exercises using push-up barsthe full planche is considered a 'dream skill.' And if I'm being honest, I'd LOVE to be able to hold this position for longer than 2 seconds. 

It's as tough as it looks. 

The development from a simple straddle planche to an all-out full planche is quite profound and needs a lot of training and dedication. Trust me on this one, it'll take you a long time to achieve, but it'll be worth every second. 

However, the most beneficial thing about full planche is not being discouraged by slow progress. For certain athletes, mastering the full planche may take years, whereas, for others, it only takes a few months.  


  • Uses your whole body.
  • Strengthens your shoulder and wrist joints.
  • Engages your core. 

How to do it:

  1. Hold on to the push-up bars using a shoulder width neutral grip.
  2. Lift your body weight from the floor and straighten your arms. 
  3. Lean forward slightly and straighten your body until it's parallel to the floor. 
  4. Hold this position for as long as you can.
  5. Return to the starting position and repeat.

Tips From A Trainer!

You can also use resistance bands to form a better feel of the full planche and turn your workout quite exciting. Simultaneously, you will also improve your strength and technique, and it also becomes easier for you to track your progress since you will work with varying strength resistance bands.  

11. Straddle Planche 

Man Doing Straddle Planche

In the calisthenics community, most people aim to master the straddle planche. Though this push-up bar exercise takes some strength and time to learn, an essential part of it is arm strength, which includes the forearms and biceps.

This strength is also required for other exercises such as the human flag, front lever, or iron cross.

Straddle planche also needs a strong core and powerful shoulders; that is why an extremely good tucked planche is required to start working on your straddle planche.  

I've used this movement as a stepping stone to the full planche, and I believe it works incredibly well as it helps you develop the necessary core strength to attempt the tougher calisthenic movements on this list.


  • Improves bicep and tricep strength. 
  • Develops your core stability. 
  • Excellent stepping stone for the full planche.

How to do it:

  1. Hold on to the push-up bars using a shoulder width neutral grip. 
  2. Lift your body from the floor and tilt forward slightly. 
  3. Straighten your legs and open them wide. 
  4. Hold the position for a set amount of time and relax. 
  5. Repeat.

Tips From A Trainer!

Use a resistance band attached above you to support some of your body weight. It can make a HUGE difference and will allow you to develop your strength. 

12. One Arm Handstand Flag 

Man Doing One Arm Handstand Flag Exercise In The Nature

If you're new to calisthenics, I can tell you immediately, this movement won't be for you.  As it's a single arm movement, it's incredibly tough and I don't know many people who can perform the one-arm handstand flag.

This makes the exercise best suited for advanced gym goers and athletes. 

I like to think of this movement as a mixture of a handstand and human flag.  Once you master the other push-up bars exercise variations on this list, it's only a matter time before you set your sights on mastering this one.

While it trains each arm separately, it works your entire body. There won't be a single muscle fiber that's not fired up during this exercise. 

In my opinion, your mobility will be most beneficial to you if you're thinking of mastering the one-arm handstand flag. The balance may be somewhat unusual initially; however, you will soon develop a feeling for it.


  • Works every single muscle fiber in your body. 
  • Suitable for advanced gym goers.
  • Increases your balance and mobility.

how to do it:

  1. Set up the push-up bars in a shoulder width position. 
  2. Hold the bars using a neutral grip. 
  3. Lift your body weight from the floor until your legs are completely in line with your body. 
  4. Shift your weight to one side. 
  5. Remove one hand from the push-up bars. 
  6. Slowly bring your legs to one side so you're in the flag position. 
  7. Hold and return to the starting position. 
  8. Repeat with the opposite side.

Tips From A Trainer!

Use a friend, family member, or training partner to assist you during this movement. After a while, you won't need their help, but it's always good to start with some assistance.  

Benefits Of Push Up Bar Exercises

Before starting a workout using push-up bars, you must know their advantages. Here are some of the benefits of push up bar exercises: 

  • Using push up bars regularly helps to increase your wrist strength and your hands' grip.
  • You will easily be able to perform fist push-ups. 
  • You will burn much more calories in an exercise with a push up bar as compared to regular push-ups since your body will be at an elevated level. 
  • It is an excellent tool for gymnasts looking to improve their balance and lower slip risk because of palm sweat. 
  • Most of the push-up bars are adjustable as per convenience. So, you need not worry about exercising with the wrong size tool. 
  • Push up bar ab exercises help strengthen your abdominal muscles if you use them regularly and correctly. 

Push Up Bar Training Regimen

Push-ups are a strenuous exercise, and mastering them requires practice. Push-up bar exercises for beginners can be pretty challenging, particularly for overweight people. Though do not fret; even if you can do only two to three push-ups initially, keep trying.  

It is a gradual improvement process, and there is no limit to the number of push-ups someone can do in a day. Most fitness experts do more than 300 push-ups in a day.

However, for an average individual, even 50-100 push-ups using a push-up bar will be enough to maintain their upper body if done correctly.  

Start with a small number, like doing 20 push-ups, though do not get stuck to this number. You must constantly increase this number to challenge your body continually.

Ideally, do three sets of 12 reps, resting 3 minutes after every set each day; this will help you increase your muscle strength.  

Frequently Asked Push Up Bar Workout Questions

Should beginners use push-up bars?

One of the most renowned advantages of using a push-up bar is that it is easier on your wrists. This makes it ideal for beginners, and there are various push-up bar exercises for beginners that help with it.

Do push-up bars make push-ups easier or harder?

Push-up bars make the push-ups much more challenging and help you gain the most out of every rep. They enhance the push-up motion range, thus helping you build muscles stronger and faster [2].

Are push-up bars safe?

Yes, push-up bars are relatively safe. They help lower damage to the wrists due to improper technique, which is a hazard while attempting regular push-ups. However, by providing a grip, they lower wrist injury.

Can you build muscle with push-up bars?

Yes, you can. Using push-up bars will help build your upper body muscles like your chest, arms, and shoulder. In addition, they help you lower yourself much closer to the floor, making your muscles work harder when doing a set.


Exercises with push-up bars are great to increase core strength and build your upper body muscles.

Hopefully, this buying guide was able to help you understand all the exercises you can do at home with your push-up bars and their benefits.

Add some of them to your next calisthenics workout and master your own body weight. You won't regret it. 




Last Updated on April 12, 2024

Lee Kirwin

Lee Kirwin

Lee has worked in the fitness industry for over 15 years. He's trained hundreds of clients and knows his way around the gym, including what you need for your garage gym. When he's not testing products, he loves weightlifting, Ju Jitsu, writing, and gaming.