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22.09.2014


Push-ups using the BOSU and the T-bow more effective or not?

Push-ups that you do with your hands on the floor are, as far as strength goes, just as ineffective as push ups you do with your hands on a BOSU or a T-bow. Spanish trainers sports scientists draw this sobering conclusion in a study in which they got subjects to do push-ups for eight weeks. We, not being hindered by knowledge overload, wouldn't dare draw this conclusion after reading the study.


Push-ups using the BOSU and the T-bow  more effective or not? Push-ups using the BOSU and the T-bow  more effective or not?


Instability
You can make strength exercises more effective if you add an instability factor to them. That's a rule of thumb. That's why push-ups are more effective if you do them with suspensions. And that's why you'd expect that push-ups build up more strength if you perform them as shown above [left: with an upside down BOSU; right: with a T-bow].

The researchers got 30 subjects to do 3 sets of 10 reps push-ups twice a week for eight weeks. If the subjects could manage more than 10 reps the researchers placed a weight on their shoulders to make the exercise more difficult.

Push-ups using the BOSU and the T-bow  more effective or not?
10 subjects did traditional push-ups [shown at right], 10 did them with a BOSU, and another 10 did them with a T-bow.

More strength?
Before, halfway through and after the training period the Spanish researchers measured how many kg the subjects needed to just perform 1 rep [1RM]. The subjects in all three groups made progress, but in none of the three groups was the progression statistically significant.

Conclusion
"The results of the current study indicate that the use of unstable surfaces during the push-up exercise in trained subjects leads to comparable, non-significant improvements in the performance of maximum strength and muscular endurance measurements to those seen during push-ups performed on stable surfaces", the researchers conclude.


Push-ups using the BOSU and the T-bow  more effective or not?


No doubt the Spaniards know what they are talking about and their study was accurate. But when we drew the graph below based on the data above we wondered whether the researchers would have come to the same conclusion if their study had been bigger, with more subjects. Or if the study had lasted longer.


Push-ups using the BOSU and the T-bow  more effective or not?


Honestly speaking, we don't think so.

Source:
Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2012 Dec;7(6):586-94.

More:
Push-ups just as good as bench presses for strength building 11.08.2014
Make your push-ups more effective with suspension straps 18.03.2014
Push-ups heavier from a raised platform 31.10.2011