Weighted pushups

Discussion in 'Basic Training Principles and Methods' started by [xeno]Julios, Jun 25, 2003.

  1. [xeno]Julios

    [xeno]Julios New Member

    I proly wouldn't do these because I already do weighted dips and incline presses, but...
    i was thinking - attaching a dipping belt to your waist, and doing pushups on two benches - so your hands are on one bench and feet on another...
    two questions:
    -how would this be biomechanically different from a flat bench press?
    -would the belt cause any dangerous stress to the back?
    reason i'd like this exercise over flat benches is that you wouldn't need a spotter
  2. When I'm on a trip or on holidays and can't do a normal gym workout, I often resort to calisthenics. I'm always surprised about the intense soreness after a couple of sets of pushups; one should think that heavy benching is very similar to this movement, but obviously there is a difference.

    So yes, I really do think pushups are a great exercise. The problem: how to add load?

    I have never tried doing them with a dip belt, but I think the lower on your back you put it, the greater the stress on your spine. Rather try to wrap it around your mid-back, just below your armpits. In order to avoid hitting the bench with the weight plates, put two benches left and right from your body.

    There is also a device called "Power Pushup 2" which works with rubber bands and adds load to regular pushups, but I haven't tried it personally. I think you can only buy it in the US anyway (haven't found a European supplier yet).

    Let us know your results, I'm really interested.
  3. mikeh

    mikeh New Member

    You can also use dumbbells. No spotter needed and you can get a great stretch at the bottom.
  4. stevie

    stevie New Member

    getting into position might be tough
  5. [xeno]Julios

    [xeno]Julios New Member

    interesting - might be a viable alternative to bench pressing for those with home gyms.
  6. ChuckGrill

    ChuckGrill New Member

    I'd have to agree with flow in that it would cause unnecessary stress on your lower back and spine. And personally I can't see any difference biomechanically with bench presses. If you're looking to get a better stretch then switch to dumbells like mikeh said.
  7. [xeno]Julios

    [xeno]Julios New Member

    Like I said, I'm not planning on doing these - was just a curious thought... however, as i said, they'd be safer than barbell presses if you could sort out the belt stress issue, since you wouldn't have a weight bearing down on you - though dumbells are safer than barbells in that a spotter isn't as crucial.

    As for biomechanics - been thinking - are they really the same? I just find it easier to do pushup and dip motions rather than upward pressing motions, since the force, that is applied through my arms and ending at my palms, is focused and anchored by the ground (or benches if you're doing a weighted pushup), whereas in a pressing motion, your arms can veer off course, etc.

    So balance wise, pressing motions are probably more grueling and recruit more stabilizer muscles...
  8. If you just look at the planes of motion involved in pushups and bench press, the biomechanical difference seems to be negligible. However, I propose the following test: If you're just used to doing bench press but not push ups, do 1-2 sets of pushups to failure, using a slow and controlled pace. See what happens, and whether you get soreness in any unexpected places (like serratus muscles). Like stated earlier, I do get sore from pushups in spite of all the pressing movements I do. So I guess that pushups provide a kind of stress that is significantly different from other pressing movements.

    BTW, there is a similar debate about chin-ups versus lat pulldowns. Biomechanically, they're quite similar, but chins are supposed to be the superior exercise. Yet in this case, the more common problem is how to make this exercise easier, and not harder.

    Although I have no proof or sensible explanation, I guess that exercises where you have to move your own bodyweight along with some extra load (squats, chins, dips, DL) are superior to similar exercises where you just move the load (leg press, lat pulldown, machine dip, back extension) but your body is securely locked in one position.

    Feel free to comment...
  9. ChuckGrill

    ChuckGrill New Member

    I would tend to think that soreness from pushups, especially ones done with chairs or benches, would tend to come from hand positioning and/or the ability to get more of a stretch than you would with a barbell press. Probably would also be different with DB presses as well. With DB's people tend to curve the upward motion towards the inside of the chest area thus not completely working the outside of the chest area. So in that respect pushups are great. I used to do them using 3 chairs (one for each arm and one for my legs) when I was younger before switching completely to weights. I did those and dips for chest and really got great gains. After doing those for awhile I never had any problems with chest development ever. In fact I actually had to minimize my chest routine in order for other muscle groups to catch up. And I had a real concave chest when I was younger, so I don't think my chest was a sweet spot.
  10. [xeno]Julios

    [xeno]Julios New Member

    thanks for the reply chuck - just a quick thing tho - i don't think chins vs pulldowns is a valid analogy between pushups and benching - the reason being it's pulling motions vs pushing motions.

    When you're pushing a free weight against gravity (with arms for example) - as the motion proceeds, the centre of gravity becomes more and more unstable - think of the top of the motion of a bench press - so easy to teeter.

    With chinups, you are pulling yourself up, so there is no balancing required.

    With pushups, the palms really provide for a stable support - a one armed pushup would require more balancing.

    With pulldowns, centre of gravity doesn't seem to play a role.
  11. [xeno]Julios, you might be right, I got a little off-topic there. Still, you'll find that when you approach failure in a set of chins (esp. when you do higher reps), stabilizing your own body becomes very important. If you start swaying forward and backward without control, that might prevent you from completing the final reps. Using a pulldown machine, you don't have that problem.
  12. [xeno]Julios

    [xeno]Julios New Member

    excellent point flow - never thought about that before.

    Just goes to show - things are a lot more complicated and less dichotomous than they seem to be on the surface.

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