push-up and bench press

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Post by KPj » Fri Aug 28, 2009 3:26 am

I think of push ups more as an upper/middle back stability exercise, and core exercise, than a tricep or pec exercise. Therefore, I agree that it's a poor replacement for the bench press. It can be when rehabbing shoulder injuries. I can remember the only pressing exercise I had were push up iso holds. But that's an expection, really. I disagree with people when they say it's 'just an upside down bench press'....

As jungledoc described, the biggest difference between bench press is that your shoulder blades should move through a full ROM. Typically in the push up peoples 'middle back' and core will fail first, and not the pecs or triceps. They just don't seem to be the limiting factor in many people. I've also seen a lot of people that can knock out 20 push ups with incorrect form no problem, but when you show them propper form with the elbows tucked and bringing the chest to the floor, they're shaking around before the 10th rep. It can be quite a humbling exercise.

So, if you're looking for a chest/tri exercise, then I would say it's a poor choice. If your looking for something to improve the stability of your torso, namely middle back and 'anterior core', aswell as keep your shoulders happy, then it's a great choice.

As for loading it. I just use bands, i've got various bands and the thicker ones turn it into a completely different exercise, can feel like 'max effort work' if you load it enough. If you have bands then that's easy enough but, if not, then you'll struggle to load them.


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Stephen Johnson
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Post by Stephen Johnson » Fri Aug 28, 2009 9:54 pm

I've always thought of push ups as a muscular endurance exercise, rather than a strength exercise. You gain some strength doing push-ups, but after 15 or so reps you gain more endurance.

Back in the day when I was fixated on bench pressing, my light day (Wednesday) was basically push-ups and (shudder!) cable crossovers or pec deck flies. On Monday I did heavy bench, and Friday I went moderate bench.

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