Why Push-ups are as Effective as Bench Presses

Updated: Oct 8, 2020

Perfecting your pushups is a great life-long exercise. It is versatile and able to be done wherever you are. Push ups and their variations can be just as effective as bench pressing, if not more, according to a new study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning. For a simple exercise, they also have major benefits for heart health. Previous research has found that the more pushups you can do, the less likely you are to have a heart attack or stroke. More about the new study:

  • Even without adding weights, push ups were just as muscle-building (hypertrophic) as bench pressing for the 23 male lifters studied.

  • Push ups may use less absolute load than bench presses, but their level of muscle activation is equivalent.

  • Push ups also carry a lower risk of injury and tend to be less fatiguing, allowing you to complete more reps.

  • To reap benefits, make sure push ups feel challenging. You can up the ante by elevating your feet on blocks, placing weight plates on your back, or using a TRX.

Proper form is key as well (check out this video). Keep your elbows turned inward to maximize leverage and directly above your wrist to reduce strain. 

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