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Old 02-23-2009, 09:52 PM   #1
Jeff Hendrix
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Weighted pushups and bench press

I thought there was a post that touched on this recently, but I can't find it.

I was thinking about this some after reading the article on "honest pushups" in the CFJ. I doubt this is quite the same as handstand pushups versus the press (Coach Glassman claims that one freestanding handstand pushup could generally represent a 1.5 x BW press in the article) since there is much less weight being moved in a pushup than a handstand pushup, but I was wondering what thoughts were on the translation of pushup strength to bench press strength.

Would it be reasonable to think that weighted pushups would translate well to the bench press? And if so, how well? If you could manage to load yourself doing pushups with the same amount of weight that you could doing the bench press, would it be more effective, less effective, or equivalent?

I don't know if there is actually any data about this or not, but I thought it would be interesting to learn about if there is.
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Old 02-23-2009, 09:57 PM   #2
Jeff Hendrix
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Re: Weighted pushups and bench press

As an addendum, this could help discussion.

I currently weigh 174.5 lbs. When in pushup position on the scale, the scale read 113.5, which is roughly 65% of my total BW. I pressed out 10 pushups with 50 lbs. in my backpack early last week. I suppose I will have to see how many reps I can do on the bench at 165 in the next couple of days--my hypothesis is less than ten, so perhaps pushups are easier?
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Old 02-23-2009, 10:13 PM   #3
Alberto Velazquez
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Re: Weighted pushups and bench press

I'd be curious to hear about how well one-armed push ups translate to the bench press.
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Old 02-23-2009, 10:53 PM   #4
Greg Pieris
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Re: Weighted pushups and bench press

I would submit it's a LOT easier to balance your bodyweight in a pushup position against a solid floor than it is to balance a loaded barbell while lying on your standard 30cm wide bench. This is what makes it completely different from HSPU viz. OHP. IMO, the bench will have better carryover to the weighted pushup than vice versa.

There is a specialised technique component to heavy benching that won't translate from weighted pushups on the floor. This is not meant to disparage the value of pushups in any way - just an observation of the difference in mechanics of the movements.
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Old 02-24-2009, 01:24 AM   #5
S.S.
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Re: Weighted pushups and bench press

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Originally Posted by Alberto Velazquez View Post
I'd be curious to hear about how well one-armed push ups translate to the bench press.
I don't think they really do. One-armed pushups require a huge amount of core strength. Bench press, not so much.
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Old 02-24-2009, 01:47 AM   #6
Lukas Boomgaert
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Re: Weighted pushups and bench press

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Originally Posted by Jeff Hendrix View Post
As an addendum, this could help discussion.

I currently weigh 174.5 lbs. When in pushup position on the scale, the scale read 113.5, which is roughly 65% of my total BW. I pressed out 10 pushups with 50 lbs. in my backpack early last week. I suppose I will have to see how many reps I can do on the bench at 165 in the next couple of days--my hypothesis is less than ten, so perhaps pushups are easier?
When benching, you have to move the weight of your arms as well as the weight represented by the barbell, not as much weight of your arms has to be moved while performing a pushup (granted a small fraction of the arm weight is moved as well, I think)

Also, when doing a pushup the degree at which you hold your elbows to your body will determine which muscle groups take the most stress. So you'd first have to state what armpositioning you're thinking of when trying to translate weighted pushup strength to bench press strength.

More in answer to your question:
Sunday I did a thick bar strict pullup/ weighted pushup (25kg) ladder, starting with 1 pullup and 10 pushups (could only get down to 3 pushups and 8 pullups though, didn't have the heart to continue. I know, shame on me)
So I did 52 weighted pushups @ 25kg in a little under 13 minutes... I haven't benched in a while, but I'm pretty sure I can bench WAY less than 68kg (currently weigh about 67kg) for 52 reps in 13 minutes (at least when combining them with deadhang thick bar pullups).
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Old 02-24-2009, 02:19 AM   #7
Blair Robert Lowe
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Re: Weighted pushups and bench press

As well in a pushup position you spread the load on your hands and you feet and throughout your limbs and trunk.

You don't have to worry about this really in a BP. You can push your heels into the ground and arch your back but it isn't really being loaded up.

One arm pushup is nothing spectacular. I say this, because I can do them and I am no upper body gorilla. One arm, one leg pushup is kind of interesting though.

I covered a lot of the weight on my hands in that pushup thread and testing I did last summer. Seriously I tested the weight at decline and incline at multiple angles. Things vary somewhat from person to person though based on anthropometry.
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Old 02-24-2009, 04:01 PM   #8
Kevin Moore
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Re: Weighted pushups and bench press

I can let you know in a month or so. I have abandon the bench press all together and switched to weight vest pushups on pushup bars. In a little over a month, I am going to test myself on the bench just to see what happens.
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Old 02-24-2009, 05:09 PM   #9
Jamie J. Skibicki
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Re: Weighted pushups and bench press

Bench press is also more scalable and accurate. TO make the weighted push up accurate, you would need to load yourself before the set, with the load and your body in the same orientation as the push up.

This is not to say that the weighted pushup is a bad excerize, but the limitations of the excersize.

THe advantage is the load can be put in different place to elicit different stresses. A weight closer to the hips will increase stress on the abs and decrease the stress on the pushing muscles. Closer to the shoulder is the opposite of this. IT is also a bit easier to do drop sets, as you only need one partner and ther can remove weight faster, since they only have to remove 1 instead of 2 weights.
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Old 02-26-2009, 12:27 PM   #10
Sam Ser
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Re: Weighted pushups and bench press

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Originally Posted by Kevin Moore View Post
I can let you know in a month or so. I have abandon the bench press all together and switched to weight vest pushups on pushup bars. In a little over a month, I am going to test myself on the bench just to see what happens.


why? sure, too many people focus on the bench press to the exclusion of exercises like real squats, deadlifts and cleans -- but it IS a very good exercise.
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