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  1. #1
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    Talking Pushups vs Bench Press

    It seems to me recently that more and more people are praising the bench press as the "be all end all" to workout your chest. Ive been benching for years and I definately agree it IS a great workout but I believe pushups are just as good albeit in a different way...Ive been doing p90x and some of the " one on ones" which if you dont know what they are is basically workouts they made after p90x for graduates and they are even more insane than p90x. And the pushups really kill my chest...days after the workouts been completed. And its not just me friends of mine who ive put through the same sh!t have echoed the same thing. Benching also seemed to be hurting my shoulders and i like that the pushups dont do that. If some of you arent aware there are so many different ways to do pushups in fact i dont even know all of the hand grips and variations..but basically pushups can give you insane workouts and make you burn calories and become more functional than the bench press ever will be able to. Have you ever tried pushups on four stability balls? OMG! Essentially, Im knew to the science behind fitness and what "really" works. Its weird because it seems i could go to the gym and bench for months and get a bigger chest than go and do one of p90x's pushup routines and it will kill my chest, but than when i stick to the pushups for awhile my bench seems to go down but i still have a really strong chest. Explanations? Also, I heard this from someone i dont know if its true that benching works out your larger chest muscles while as pushups work out smaller muscles groups and gives you more stability? I have no idea. I am interested to hear what others have to say but at the present moment i figure that I prefer pushups to bench pressing
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  2. #2
    Hell is other mice. IDrinkBloodLOL's Avatar
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    It all depends what you want out of it.

    If pushups work for what you're trying to accomplish, go for it. I'll still do my bench presses.
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  3. #3
    Mindless consumer HowLeTT's Avatar
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    There is a lot of variation you can do with pushups. With benching you can adjust angles and do BB or DB (i greatly prefer DB), but you're ultimately a slave to gravity and when you go heavy you dont always want to be playing around with variation. pushups are great and i think the reason you're feeling all that soreness is exactly because of the variation that routines like p90x focus on. You're more limited in how much weight you can do on a pushup to stimulate hypertrophy than you are with benching. A routine with both works nicely, they're both very useful. I like to go heavy on flat DB chest presses at the beginning of a workout and finish with some decline pushups until failure. Good luck with that!
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    Originally Posted by resistanceboy View Post
    It seems to me recently that more and more people are praising the bench press as the "be all end all" to workout your chest. Ive been benching for years and I definately agree it IS a great workout but I believe pushups are just as good albeit in a different way...Ive been doing p90x and some of the " one on ones" which if you dont know what they are is basically workouts they made after p90x for graduates and they are even more insane than p90x. And the pushups really kill my chest...days after the workouts been completed. And its not just me friends of mine who ive put through the same sh!t have echoed the same thing. Benching also seemed to be hurting my shoulders and i like that the pushups dont do that. If some of you arent aware there are so many different ways to do pushups in fact i dont even know all of the hand grips and variations..but basically pushups can give you insane workouts and make you burn calories and become more functional than the bench press ever will be able to. Have you ever tried pushups on four stability balls? OMG! Essentially, Im knew to the science behind fitness and what "really" works. Its weird because it seems i could go to the gym and bench for months and get a bigger chest than go and do one of p90x's pushup routines and it will kill my chest, but than when i stick to the pushups for awhile my bench seems to go down but i still have a really strong chest. Explanations? Also, I heard this from someone i dont know if its true that benching works out your larger chest muscles while as pushups work out smaller muscles groups and gives you more stability? I have no idea. I am interested to hear what others have to say but at the present moment i figure that I prefer pushups to bench pressing
    multiple sets of pushups will accumulate more lactic acid, which means you probably feel it more than some half ass 3 sets of 10 bench routine.
    I also tried P90X and it didnt do anything for me strength wise, did help my work capacity though.
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    I'd prefer push ups over bench press too if there was a way to reliably and conveniently add weight to them.

    Unfortunately there really isn't. Weighted push ups just don't work at higher weights. Variations of push ups does not allow for linear progression like bench press does.

    The only advantage push ups have over bench press is you can perform them without equipment. That's really it.
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    DC, can you elaborate how exactly doing p90x improved your work capacity? And its a shocker that the X wouldnt improve your strength, simply because you can always add more intensity and higher weights and since its an interval routine its fast passed and makes your muscles work harder with less rest and compound movements. Also, Engineer guy, can you also elaborate on what you mean by "linear progression" and how pushups dont allow for that. Because the variations, speeds, and intensities of different pushups do seem to work for a lot of people. Also, weighted vests help to "add weight".
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    Originally Posted by resistanceboy View Post
    Also, Engineer guy, can you also elaborate on what you mean by "linear progression" and how pushups dont allow for that. Because the variations, speeds, and intensities of different pushups do seem to work for a lot of people. Also, weighted vests help to "add weight".
    Linear progression means exactly what the words mean. You are progressing at a linear rate. With push ups, you could add a rep every workout but eventually you are no longer training strength but endurance training. As I said earlier, there's no real convenient way to progressively add weight to push ups. Therefore the usefulness of push ups for strength training is very limited compared to the bench press.

    Weighted vests are f*cking expensive and do not get heavy enough. Good luck finding a 300lb weighted vest lol.
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  8. #8
    Not even my final form NZninja101's Avatar
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    The lack of resistance on push ups eventually becomes a problem when your goal is strength or size. If you could add weight to them as you would for bench press then that problem would be overcome and one could use either exercise with similar results.
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    There is the issue of gradually inclining push ups (for triceps anyway) but since this moves from chest to shoulders, the argument eventually becomes should we do decline pushups vs incline pressing, or inverted (handstand) pushups vs. overhead pressing.
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    Originally Posted by Engineer_Guy View Post
    I'd prefer push ups over bench press too if there was a way to reliably and conveniently add weight to them.
    i know of a few ppl who see it this way to. just out of interest, if anyone else also prefers it pls chime in.
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    Originally Posted by Engineer_Guy View Post
    I'd prefer push ups over bench press too if there was a way to reliably and conveniently add weight to them.
    Originally Posted by gomez26 View Post
    i know of a few ppl who see it this way to. just out of interest, if anyone else also prefers it pls chime in.
    In our "fitness club" - a normal sports gym where we meet up twice a week for a lot of bodyweight exercising and crossfit-like exercises - we sometimes do push-ups with someone leaning on your shoulders.

    I don't have a photo but I quickly drew a sketch on paint because I think this is hard to describe in words: (see picture I added to this post).

    Push-Ups like these can be very hard, depending on those two factors: 1) How much the upper guys leans onto the bottom dude 2) How heavy the upper guy is.

    Of course, the disadvantage is that you need 2 people to perform this exercise....but then again, if you do heavy bench pressing, you need someone to spot you, as well.
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    i know of one guy who swears by it & has someone hold several plates on his back (so they dont slide off) to allow working in hypertrophy range. im thinking of making a harness for this to try it out without needing a partner.
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    I like both and I think they compliment eachother do alot of pushups your bench will go up or do alot of benching and your pushups will go up... personally I would rather bench than do pushups...
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    Originally Posted by Sabrefan173 View Post
    do alot of pushups your bench will go up
    Not true at all...
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    Originally Posted by Engineer_Guy View Post
    Not true at all...
    Bumping up your max pushups (for 1 set) from 50-60 or 80-100 can have no effect on your 1rm Bench press.

    Increasing your 1RM by 20lbs, or hitting a 1RM for 3reps will increase the number of pushups you can do for a set, given that you have some level of reasonable endurance.
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    for gym class? or to build an impressive chest?

    bench bench bench
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    There are three easy ways to make the push-up much more difficult:
    (1) TRX or Chains:

    (2) Weighted Vest
    (3) Manipulation of leverage
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    Originally Posted by PerpetualMotion View Post
    There are three easy ways to make the push-up much more difficult:
    (1) TRX or Chains:
    This is a great one!
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    http://www.amazon.com/Holiday-ZFO-80...2405166&sr=8-1

    Got that for my weighted pushups, not too bad on the price and gives me a lot of variations, also useful for pullups and dips.
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    Registered User Engineer_Guy's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by gbullock32 View Post
    http://www.amazon.com/Holiday-ZFO-80...2405166&sr=8-1

    Got that for my weighted pushups, not too bad on the price and gives me a lot of variations, also useful for pullups and dips.
    Good lord $200 bucks original price for 80 lbs of resistance.
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  21. #21
    In search of the Q-pack.. XADO's Avatar
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    And i am wondering about a backpack stuffed with weights......you have the backpack and you have the weights.....)

    You still need to find the push-ups.
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    Registered User Engineer_Guy's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by XADO View Post
    And i am wondering about a backpack stuffed with weights......you have the backpack and you have the weights.....)

    You still need to find the push-ups.
    Backpack full of weights is good in theory and not so much in practice. I've attempted it but it just becomes too clumsy and inconvenient at higher weights.
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    Originally Posted by Engineer_Guy View Post
    Linear progression means exactly what the words mean. You are progressing at a linear rate. With push ups, you could add a rep every workout but eventually you are no longer training strength but endurance training. As I said earlier, there's no real convenient way to progressively add weight to push ups. Therefore the usefulness of push ups for strength training is very limited compared to the bench press.

    Weighted vests are f*cking expensive and do not get heavy enough. Good luck finding a 300lb weighted vest lol.

    Okay I understand what you mean here, as in progressing at a linear rate with bench you can see your 1rm go up and see yourself lifting heavier weights. However, you can do this with pushups too ESPECIALLY with interval training where you do lets say one pushup move followed by one pullup move nonstop for an hour, changing your handplacement grips, speeds, you will definately shred your chest here. And see major improvements in upper body explosiveness, strength, and appearance. For example, doing pushups on four stability balls, or medicine ball. Plyo pushups on stability balls, it goes on and on so im not going to exhaust all the intense different ways to do pushups because truth is, i dont even know them all.
    Furthermore, adding a 300lb weighted vest is superfluous. A 20, 40, or even 60, 80 pound vest will suffice. It will give you that burn and the pump that you got when you first started doing pushups and saw your chest begin to grow just enough to force hypertrophy
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  24. #24
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    Push ups are a fine exercise but they will never build a big chest. If you can bench 315 for reps then doing push ups will not be enough weight to produce muscle gains in your pecs.
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    I think they are apples and oranges. Pushups are a better core exercise and bench is for strength. I once got up to 200 pushups a day with the push up paddles. I did sets at work 2-3 times a day and I was surprised how much it did for my core more than anything. Its a great warm up/core exercise before lifting.
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    There's a lot of good data in here and you can tell most of the folk commenting do have some experience. So I'm not knocking anything anyone has said. At the same time I want to add to this and clarify a few points.

    Pushups most likely feel better to you because it is easier to adjust your hand position and angle relative to your body better than with the bench. You can literally make it ore comfortable.

    As to building muscle, you have a couple of things going on. At reps above 50 you're likely beginning to endurance train the muscles of the chest, delts, and tris. You can actually recover faster than waste products accumulate and the exercise actually becomes aerobic. This is how you can seen guys who can actually do hundreds, sometimes, thousands of pushups.

    At reps less than 50 but more than 12, assuming training to failure, with vests, plates or resistance added by a parter, your're training the sarcoplasm of the muscle cell. This is the energy producing part of the cell. It includes mitochondria and can work to increase muscle volume, especially if you rarely work higher reps.

    Lower reps, again assuming working to failure, stimulates the myosin, the actual contractual tissue of the muscle cell. This offers greater potential for growth and strength increases and is easier to accomplish with the bench press by adding weight to keep the reps low.
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  27. #27
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    Originally Posted by Engineer_Guy View Post
    Backpack full of weights is good in theory and not so much in practice. I've attempted it but it just becomes too clumsy and inconvenient at higher weights.
    At what weight did they become clumsy and inconvenient?
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  28. #28
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    i dont think you will get a huge chest but if your looking for that lean skinny look go with a **** ton of push ups no diffrence just depends on your goals
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  29. #29
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    Originally Posted by resistanceboy View Post
    Okay I understand what you mean here, as in progressing at a linear rate with bench you can see your 1rm go up and see yourself lifting heavier weights. However, you can do this with pushups too ESPECIALLY with interval training where you do lets say one pushup move followed by one pullup move nonstop for an hour, changing your handplacement grips, speeds, you will definately shred your chest here. And see major improvements in upper body explosiveness, strength, and appearance. For example, doing pushups on four stability balls, or medicine ball. Plyo pushups on stability balls, it goes on and on so im not going to exhaust all the intense different ways to do pushups because truth is, i dont even know them all.
    Furthermore, adding a 300lb weighted vest is superfluous. A 20, 40, or even 60, 80 pound vest will suffice. It will give you that burn and the pump that you got when you first started doing pushups and saw your chest begin to grow just enough to force hypertrophy
    I don't care if it "shreds" your chest, or give you good burn. That's not evidence of progress or even a beneficial workout. Weight vests are expensive and have a low weight cap. I can't believe you're even mentioning stability balls in this thread. Push ups on stability balls vs bench press? Seriously man...

    You say an 80 lb vest will suffice. Well lets take someone who is...say...200 lbs. With the vest they are 280lbs. Of course you're doing a push up so in reality you're really only pushing about 70% of that (that's giving you the benefit of the doubt since the vest is on the upper body) so it's really only about 200lbs of resistance. In reality it's probably even less than that but I just estimated most of those numbers.

    Point being, the weight cap on a weighted push up using a vest is not nearly high enough to compare to the bench press.
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    Originally Posted by PerpetualMotion View Post
    There are three easy ways to make the push-up much more difficult:
    (1) TRX or Chains:

    (2) Weighted Vest
    (3) Manipulation of leverage
    Originally Posted by XADO View Post
    And i am wondering about a backpack stuffed with weights......you have the backpack and you have the weights.....)

    You still need to find the push-ups.
    Originally Posted by NZninja101 View Post
    At what weight did they become clumsy and inconvenient?


    This would be the most advanced version of a "chest" pushup.

    1) feet raised on a bench

    2) // bars for added rom and pec stretch

    3) not shown in pic but add a back pack with enough weight to balance and control comfortably when body weight alone becomes too easy to provide progressive resistance.


    An excellent "non gym - home" chest exercise. Not to replace bench but rather compliment it.
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