My New Favorite Fitness Toy Is This Dead Simple Push-Up Machine
Your bodyweight training could use a boost. Try out the Quadropress.
Proponents of bodyweight fitness — which describes most personal trainers these days, medical professionals and me — are fond of reminding people that getting in shape is as simple as getting on the floor. There’s some truth to that, no doubt. If you can carve out a half-hour and a section of carpet, you can run yourself through an effective, dead-simple strength-training circuit. Think: alternating sets of push-ups, mountain climbers, burpees and air squats.
But the knowledge that we theoretically could work out anywhere, at any time doesn’t guarantee that we’re going to do it. Maybe at the beginning of quarantine, when gyms first closed, and dumbbells and resistance bands were practically impossible to get, it was easier to remember to perform a couple hundred push-ups in the basement each day. In lieu of lifting, even the dullest DIY sessions felt like a reasonable consolation prize.
But a year into the pandemic, and with a few more months to go, it’s tough to get too excited about bodyweight training. And that’s unfortunate, because mood has a direct effect on the success of our workouts. The best way to wrangle those vibes back, and shock the body (in a good way) in the process, is to change up the approach.
As I’ve upped my upper-body workouts over the last few weeks, I’ve invited in a variety of new tools that mesh well with a bodyweight-centric routine. Like: the push-pull hack. Weighted jump ropes. BFR bands. And my latest favorite, an incredibly straightforward push-up machine called the Quadropress.
The Quadropress is a slab of plastic with 12 different circular ports (six to a side). Each is shaded at least one color — red, green, blue, or yellow — which corresponds to a legend that’s listed out in the middle of the board. Red equals shoulders, green equals triceps, blue equals chest, yellow equals back. A pair of non-slip hand grips slots easily into the ports.
It isn’t really a “machine,” contrary to the product’s marketing on Instagram. But that’s a good thing. There’s literally no setup involved with the Quadropress, and it’s actually a bit smaller than it looks in the pictures online — nice and portable. The endgame here is simple: master the ultimate bodyweight move — the push-up — a dozen different ways, using a fitness toy that’s both functional and fun.
When most of us get on the ground to perform push-ups, we’re recycling whatever form we learned in second-grade P.E. class: hands stretched out wide, arms forming 90-degree angles with the ground. The standard push-up will work a ton of muscles (chest, shoulders, triceps, back and core included), but it’s possible to change that form and challenge specific areas with a little extra strain. It comes down to grip and patience.
It can be an intimidating prospect if attempted without a trainer by your side on the hardwood floor of your bedroom. But the Quadropress, similar to successful push-up products that have come before it, is an excellent entry point for attacking modified push-ups. I’ve used mine for a few weeks now, and appreciate the sturdiness of the silicone grips. I can go for low reps on some of the hardest grip placements (innermost red-to-red, which grills the shoulders, or the diagonal blue-to-blue, which puts the pecs on blast) and feel confident that I’m not going to fall on my face.
I also appreciate that the Quadropress looks like it was labeled for a small child. It makes it easy for me to devise push-up sessions with clear goals in mind, and it highlights the fact that a ton of these moves are multi-dimensional. For instance: some reds intersect with greens, some blues intersect with yellows. If I worked my triceps too hard earlier in the week, I’ll stick to grip placements that also involve the back, or perhaps just avoid the triceps altogether.
More than anything, though, I’m a fan of the fresh sense of “gamification” that this unassuming board has brought to my training. It’s been a long, often boring 12 months of trying to stay fit, and I’d rather not hate push-ups for the rest of my life. They’re way too effective. The Quadropress has given the old staple (and me) a second wind.
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