Developing the push up in clients has been a continual process that has more often than not included frustration and avoidance. In the past I seldom included push ups in actual workouts, and instead focused on the knee push up in hopes that clients would be able to progress to full push ups. Sadly the progression never developed and I was left finding a new way. My next experiment was to have clients hold the top position of the full push up and eccentrically lower their body to the floor. Once they reached to bottom position I had them drop their knees and perform knee push ups. This worked significantly better than knee push ups alone. The eccentric lowering of the body helped develop midline stability, as well as strength and confidence to try the more difficult full push up. However, again, this method was hard to implement into any actual timed workouts due to the fact that the progression depended upon an eccentric component.
Recently I have again adjusted my approach and started implementing bands. Currently I use the blue spri bands that not long ago were collecting dust in the corner of the gym. I simply wrapped the band handles around the uprights of a power rack. The rack also allows for vertical adjustment that can either increase or decrease the tension. The results have been significantly better than any previous attempts. The bands also work perfectly for individuals who hit complete muscle failure on workouts that call for large amounts of push ups, as well as for warm ups. It is now standard for clients to attempt full push ups next to the rack; moving only to the rack when their full push ups becomes to difficult. The only flaw in this system has been the crossbar that connects the two towers of the squat rack. The bar is elevated which makes placing your hands above or below cumbersome. The sacrifice has been to place ones hands on the bar itself. This move has seemed to satisfy most everyone, however, it left me searching for another way to tweak the approach.
The answer has come in the form of speedrail fittings. If your are not familiar with this product they are amazing! I used these fittings to assemble our pull up bar system-they are top notch. With this in mind I searched their catalog and found a number of different ways to implement my idea. I ended up buying a fitting that secured to the upright of the pull-up bar station. The new system works wonders not only for pull ups, push ups, and dips, but also for advanced gymnastics elements.