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Yes, Push ups Are as Good as Bench
Press at Building Strength
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February 4, 2017

By Susan Callahan, Contributing Columnist






It's a debate that has raged in gyms across America for decades --- do
push ups build strength as well as the bench press.

Let's state the obvious --- if you can
bench press more than your body
weight
, then you will never get stronger just lifting your body weight
doing push ups.

But for anything but the  super heavy weight-lifting crowd, the
question is still valid.

We looked for scientific studies comparing the two exercises. Here is
what we found.


Low Load Bench Press and Push Up Work Equally Well to Build Strength


In 2017, scientists from Japan set out to compare bench training with
push ups in terms of their ability to build strength. The study, from the
Department of Training Science, Nippon Sport Science University
gathered 18 young men between the ages of 19 and 22. The men had
similar heights and body weights and were healthy.

The researchers then divided the men into two groups.


Let's get on the same page with some jargon. The maximum weight
you can lift in one repetition is 1RM. Studies have found that you make
weight strength gains, if you are a beginner, by lifting 40% of this
maximum, or "40% 1RM".  This 40% 1RM was the standard that the
scientists in Japan used to compare with push-ups.

The men in both groups worked out twice per week for 8 weeks.


Before, during and after the experiment, measurements of strength
were taken. The researchers measured muscle thickness of the biceps,
triceps, and pectoralis major. In both groups, the researchers
compared the top weight each man would lift (1RM), also the maximum
number of repetitions they could complete at 40%1RM, and their
power output in the medicine ball throw.
































Maximum Power Increased for Both Groups

The men in the bench press group experienced an increase in the
maximum amount that they could bench press. The numbers grew from
60 kilograms (132 pounds) at the start of the experiment to 65
kilograms (143 pounds) at the end of 8 weeks, and increase of 8.3% in
maximum strength.

The men in the push-up group experienced an increase in the maximum
amount that they could bench press. The numbers grew from 61.1
kilograms (134.4 pounds) at the start of the experiment to 64.2
kilograms (141.2 pounds) at the end of 8 weeks, and increase of 5% in
maximum strength.


So, both groups experienced significant improvements in maximum
power in just 8 weeks, with bench press getting a slightly better result.



Triceps Size


The men in the bench press group experienced an increase in the size
of their triceps. The numbers grew from 26.3 millimeters at the start of
the experiment to 27.8 millimeters at the end of 8 weeks, and increase
of 5.7% in size.


The men in the push- up group also did well in improving triceps size.
They experienced an increase in the size of their triceps  from 27.7
millimeters  at the start of the experiment to 30.4 at the end of 8
weeks, and increase of 9.7% in size.

Here, the push ups worked significantly better than the bench press in
building triceps.


Pectoralis Major


The men in the bench press group experienced an increase in the size
of their
chest muscles, the pectoralis major. The numbers grew from
17.0 millimeters at the start of the experiment to 20.8 millimeters at the
end of 8 weeks, and increase of
22.3% in size.  Step back from that a
second and let that sink in -- they popped their chest muscles by 22%
in just 8 weeks.

Surely, push ups would not work as well? But they did. The men in the
push up group saw their pectoralis major muscle size increase from
17.0 to 20.8 millimeters, the exact increase experienced by the bench
press group. Both saw their chest muscles grow 22% larger in 8 weeks.


Biceps


Only the bench press group experienced a measurable change in bicep
size, increasing from 28.4 to 31.5 millimeters, an increase of 10.9%


The Bottom Line

What is perhaps most remarkable about this experiment from Japan is
that it showed, under carefully controlled conditions, how quickly you
can change your body with just light weight lifting or push-ups.

As between push-ups and bench press, you will simply get a different
shaped set of arms -- bigger biceps with the bench press, bigger
triceps with the push ups.

But as for improvements in strength, it's a toss-up between the two.



































































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Push up increase your triceps faster than
bench press
. .