Bodybuilders, physical fitness trainers and gym aficionados have long debated on which is the better exercise to build a well-defined chest – push-ups or bench presses? Let us take a look at both sides of this persistent argument.
Proponents of this type of exercise have claimed that this is more effective in building up the chest (as well as the entire upper body) than the bench press.
When performed correctly, it can not only strengthen and build up your pectorals, deltoids and abdominal muscles, it can also strengthen and increase stability in the muscles that support your spine and back.
Push-up proponents have also stated that the bench press – being an isolation exercise – does not work the core muscles hard enough since you have the bench providing adding support to both the core and the back. Another advantage is that it allows for corrections of imbalances in posture. This occurs whenever the shoulder blades are retracted and depressed toward the spine, thus promoting a straight and upright posture.
Probably a point against push-ups is that you cannot put on as much resistance when compared to adding weights for the other one. Proponents have claimed, however, that it is possible to create resistance by having a spotter or a gym buddy sit on your back. Or you can use an exercise tubing or resistance band which you wrap around your waist while you hold the ends in your hands. However, with this method, you cannot gauge the amount of resistance nor can you increase it by exact increments, as what can be done with the one with weights.
Like the push-ups, bench presses are very effective in building up the upper body. In fact, proponents claim that this is better than the push-up in building up the pectoral, deltoid and abdominal muscles.
Contrary to what is claimed by push-up supporters, you can also develop your core muscles through bench presses. This is accomplished through observing proper form in performing this exercise, specifically making sure that you contract your abs and arch your lower back slightly as you push up the barbell. Also, much like the push-up the bench press can also correct posture imbalances because you also squeeze your shoulder blades toward your spine. In fact, comparatively speaking, the bench press is safer to perform because the bench is supporting the lower back.
What makes this more effective exercise is its use of free weights. Using barbells and dumbbells will give you greater range of motion and varying degrees of difficulty depending upon the type of grip that you use in holding the weights. Of course, unlike push-ups, you have the advantage of being able to increase the weights that you lift. This form of incremental resistance training is what promotes greater muscle growth stimulation.
Which is Better?
While both these two have their own merits and demerits, it is still advisable to include these two exercises in a muscle building regimen. However, if it is upper body bulk and strength that you want to attain, it is best to concentrate more on bench presses.