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  1. #1
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    Difference between bench press and push ups?

    Apart from the fact that you can build muscle faster (by using a far heavier weight) doing the bench press compared to doing push ups - with that aside, what is the difference between the 2 exercises as far as muscle groups go?

    As far as I can see, none at all. A push up seems to me to be an inverted version of a bench press. In other words it works exactly the same muscles and if you could make a push up have the same resistance as a bench press it would be identical.

    The only thing with push ups is you are only ever lifting your own body weight. Unless you get someone to place a weight on your back, or get a child to sit on your back or something lol, but thats just stupid, no one does that, not that I have ever seen anyway - although I do like the idea, it saves even having to buy a bench or find the space to put it etc.

    I am asking the pros if these two exercises are really identical, or is there something one exercise offers over the other? (Ignoring the fact that you can make the weight different with the bench press)
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  2. #2
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    Pushups are probably more similar in the way the arms work to a decline bench press.

    A big difference is that during a pushup you are forced to stabilize the body to keep your hips from just dropping to the floor. You use your abs, obliques, spinal erectors to stabilize the spine, and then you use your quads and calf muscles to keep your legs up.

    If you do a proper bench press you will still utilize other muscles besides the chest, but the glutes are used more, the knees are flexed so the hamstrings come more into play, and your foot is flat rather than up on the toes.
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  3. #3
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    Originally Posted by TXScout2 View Post
    Pushups are probably more similar in the way the arms work to a decline bench press.

    A big difference is that during a pushup you are forced to stabilize the body to keep your hips from just dropping to the floor. You use your abs, obliques, spinal erectors to stabilize the spine, and then you use your quads and calf muscles to keep your legs up.

    If you do a proper bench press you will still utilize other muscles besides the chest, but the glutes are used more, the knees are flexed so the hamstrings come more into play, and your foot is flat rather than up on the toes.
    So you could say that push ups take a little tiny bit of energy out of you because you're stabilizing yourself, whereas with a bench press the only thing you need to really tense up is your arms/chest?

    Someone said push ups work your shoulders around the back of your neck a little bit more, but I don't know.

    When I had a pencil neck and weighed just 135lbs I did a few workouts with push ups and a few months passed, I could really feel a "thickness" around the back of my neck that wasn't there before, from push ups. You can't beat n00b gains! It seems to be far easier to go from totally skinny to a little bit muscly than it does to then keep that going.

    I remember looking at my chest in the early days thinking "how can it ache this much when there is NO muscle there" lol. I was so skinny I never even believed what I was doing would be of any benefit but in the beginning you can make gains so easily... yeah my weight might have only gone up say 5lbs but on such a skinny upper body just 5lbs of muscle is a noticable difference.
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  4. #4
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    Originally Posted by Manc33 View Post
    So you could say whereas with a bench press the only thing you need to really tense up is your arms/chest?
    No, if you read the post you quoted the guy clearly states there is more involved in the bench press then just the chest and arms.

    The benchpress is a compound exercise.
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  5. #5
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    comparing apples to oranges imo
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  6. #6
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    The serratus anterior protracts the scapula which will occur in a push-up but won't happen if you're benching properly as your shoulder blades should be retracted and depressed for a stable base.

    So in that regard it's good for overall scapular health to train the muscles opposing the traps and rhomboids.
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  7. #7
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    The difference is that the movement is inverted and that push ups are a lot easier. Why? I don't know. I remember when I started working out I used to push up myself 20 times full RoM and the conversion in weight was about 160lbs at 60%BW but I could barely throw up a plate (135lbs) 10 times.

    If anyone could explain this too me, I would be grateful.
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  8. #8
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    Originally Posted by Manc33 View Post
    or get a child to sit on your back or something lol, but thats just stupid, no one does that,


    the whole clip is tight but for the purposes of this post skip to 1:39, 8:47 and then to 9:30 and say that again.

    Originally Posted by CoolStoryBros View Post
    The difference is that the movement is inverted and that push ups are a lot easier. Why? I don't know. I remember when I started working out I used to push up myself 20 times full RoM and the conversion in weight was about 160lbs at 60%BW but I could barely throw up a plate (135lbs) 10 times.

    If anyone could explain this too me, I would be grateful.
    it's easier because of the angle. try putting your feet on a surface at least parallel to you hands...
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  9. #9
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    /popcorn

    Like leg press and squats; both great, little carry over.
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  10. #10
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    I can do 10 one arm pushups and I can't even push that amount once on bench.
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  11. #11
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    Originally Posted by sunyatasamsara View Post
    I can do 10 one arm pushups and I can't even push that amount once on bench.
    What amount?
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  12. #12
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    Have both in your training.. and who said you cant increase weight on pushups? lol.. just get someone to sit on top of u.. or place a weight plate(s) on top of you.
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  13. #13
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    Originally Posted by NRLCRAZY10 View Post
    Have both in your training.. and who said you cant increase weight on pushups? lol.. just get someone to sit on top of u.. or place a weight plate(s) on top of you.
    In practice this is not very easy.
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  14. #14
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    Originally Posted by Farley1324 View Post
    What amount?
    One arm push up for me is 130lbs so that means using 2 arms it would be 260lbs. I can't bench 260lbs even once and there is no way in hell I could push a 130lbs db up once.
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    Originally Posted by Farley1324 View Post
    In practice this is not very easy.
    Yeh the sitting part may not be very easy.. but getting someone to place a 20kg plate on your back and then picking it up when you cant complete your rep is quite easy?.. just need a good spotter/person who knows what theyre doing.
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  16. #16
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    Originally Posted by NRLCRAZY10 View Post
    Yeh the sitting part may not be very easy.. but getting someone to place a 20kg plate on your back and then picking it up when you cant complete your rep is quite easy?.. just need a good spotter/person who knows what theyre doing.
    That isn't heavy enough though. Well, for some people it would be, and for me at some points it would be, but, for example, my last bench workout was 225 5x5 and today/tomorrow when I make it in again I'll be repping 245 pounds.

    A full plate on my back for a pushup doesn't equate to that much resistance.

    And putting your feet up on something that makes you more parallel to the ground is nice, except that doesn't mix with putting a plate on your back because then it slides down into your head (or over your head and off) when you go down. So the spotter has to hold the weight, and now how the HELL do you judge that and keep it consistent?


    Back in high school when lifting in the weight room after school with buddies we tried everything you can imagine with pushups. It just never ends up working as well as you want.
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    ^^ fair enough.. I was just suggesting it because OP sounds like a beginner.. most beginners can hardly do pushups on their own, let alone putting a weight plate on their back. So to get to the intermediate stage, it wouldnt be a bad idea to get someone to put a plate on your back and do pushups (once you can do enough pushups without any weight).. when you start finding that easy, stop doing it i guess and start benching heavier?
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    hmm, my dad has one of those lead shot filled weighted vests. 20-25 pounds maybe? I dont know, it feels heavy as hell when I put it on last time. When I go home for the holidays I think I'll weight it, put it on and see how many pushups I can do.

    I really should do more pushups
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    i saw a vid of some1 using a cable xover station,connected the 2 lower hooks,put a squat pad in the middle then us that as resistance during push ups
    havnt done it myself yet
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    I use pushups as a warm for bench and/or dumbbell pressing because resistance is less allowing for a good warm before the greater stress of bench begins.

    The real difference between pushups and bench is resistance. If one could balance enough weight on the back while doing pushups, the results for muscle building would be similar between the two. The fact that it is less awkward to control and push weight laying supine as opposed to balancing crazy amounts of weight on the back makes bench the preferred method for building chest muscles.

    That being said, weighted pushups are an awesome alternative if you don't mind balancing weight.
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    pudh ups use about 60% of your body weight as with bench press your benching 100% of your weight.
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    To increase resistance for pushups, one could always use a weighted vest.
    I've seen vests that weigh up to 150lbs.

    But again, I don't know if it will translate effectively for pushups. Never tried it myself.
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    Originally Posted by Manc33 View Post
    Apart from the fact that you can build muscle faster (by using a far heavier weight)
    Conclusion fail.
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    Wink

    I feel I can isolate my chest better with bench press
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