Construction: 3 Comfort: 4 Durability: 3 Price: 2 Does It Do What It Claims? Yes, with qualifications Would You Buy It Again? Yes, with qualifications
Overall Rating: 3
Perfect Pushup Review
When it comes to bodyweight exercises, the standard pushup is pretty much already perfect. Not only does it help strengthen and condition the chest, triceps, shoulders and back, but it also improves core stability, improves balance, and can even help contribute to a tighter mid-section.
So when ehe Perfect Pushup says that for $39.99 (less, in some places) it’s improved the lowly, but already wicked-effective pushup, it’s difficult to not respond with some skepticism. And it doesn’t help that the Perfect Pushup gained much of its initial fame courtesy of “As Seen On TV” type advertising and infomercials — a label that’s been attached to countless useless fitness devices and gadgets ranging from the Thigh Master to Tony Little’s Gazelle.
But here’s the thing: People who have rolled the dice and actually bought the Perfect Pushup uniformly have good things to say about it. So in the interest of making myself a human guinea pig so you don’t have to be stuck with a basement full of ineffective fitness contraptions, I decided to spring for the $39.99 and put the Perfect Pushup through it’s paces myself.
The Standard Pushup Not So Perfect After-all?
Pushups should be part of every person’s workout routine, regardless of gender or experience level.
They are the ultimate portable body-weight exercise, and can be performed anywhere that you can find a 6′x3′ swath of open floor - whether that’s in your apartment, dorm room, hotel room, living room or the gym.
While pushups themselves are very simple exercises to perform, they are actually bio-mechanically a very sophisticated exercise, recruiting nearly every major muscle group in some way to support the body during the movement (provided you are doing them with correct form.)
The pushup is also extremely versatile, letting you emphasize certain muscle groups by simple changes in hand-arm positioning (wide versus narrow), incline or decline, or through elevation of the hands, which deepens the range of motion.
But even the nearly-perfect standard pushup has a kink or two.
The main sticking point with pushups is the strain that they can put on the wrists.
When you perform a pushup with standard form, you hands placed flat on the floor and bent at the wrist. While you aren’t supporting 100% of your body-weight with a pushup (the floor takes some of the load for you), you are balancing a fair amount of your total body-weight on your toes and wrists. The wrists are actually quite strong when they are in a neutral position, but once you bend them backwards, they are weakened, and the risk of strain to tendons or Carpel Tunnel Syndrome is increased dramatically. In fact, many people simply can’t comfortably perform standard pushups because of the discomfort it causes the wrists.
The other point of possible strain or injury during a pushup is in the shoulders. While many people are able to comfortably perform pushups without any discomfort in the shoulder girdle, for some people, having the hands fixed in a single position in relation to the shoulders, can stress the rotator cuff. This is especially troublesome if you’ve had past shoulder injuries or if you perform the exercises with your hands position wide in relation to the shoulders.
Finally, the because the floor naturally limits your range of motion, if your goal is to maximize muscle recruitment during a push-up, you need to find a way to allow yourself to go beyond parallel — in other-words, allow your chest to move below the horizontal plane of your hands. This is typically accomplished by elevating your hands on platforms (or less safely, stacks of phone books as I’ve been known to do) or pushup bars. The main issue here is around stability of the platform that you choose. Some of these elevation mechanisms can occasionally slip, causing potential injury.
The Perfect Pushup to the Rescue?
The manufacturers of the Perfect Pushup claim their device is designed to overcome these three issues associated with the plain-vanilla pushup, and then add a twist (literally) to how you perform pushups. This “twist” is really their “secret sauce” even if the other characteristics of the Perfect Pushup are really no different than what you could get with a pair of pushup bars.
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