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High Volume Push-Ups for Bench or Mass?

People often say that unless you are genetically gifted, pushups alone wont get you chest swole. What about strength? Is there any sort of carryover from high rep push ups to bench? The author of the latest “Train Like A Man” article says they helped get him to a 395lb single rep.

Has anyone used high volume pushups in conjunction with benching to get stronger and a bigger chest?

Dave Tate said in his final Iron Evolution article that he thinks a trainee shouldn’t even touch a bench press until they can do 100 push ups, and honestly I think this is a pretty good approach. Push ups are great for developing some general fitness and physical preparedness for something like the bench and other general upper body pressing.

That having been said, I never train push ups, but I am still able to belt out 68 in under a minute each year for a fitness test and easily hit over 100 in July of this year for a fitness competition. I imagine this may speak more to Mark Rippetoe’s idea that having a high level of maximal strength means that it’s easier to perform lighter movements.

Round about and indirect answer, but to sum it up, push ups can be very valuable, especially for a beginner trainee.

I like to throw in push ups here and there, but if you are pounding out 100 of em, I don’t think they are gonna help your bench much anymore. Unless you modify them. Add a load (put a plate on your back, or get fatter), elevate your feet, use pausing and tempo. My personal favorite is a 4 second eccentric, 2 count pause, explode up.

That said, theres plenty different ways to skin a cat, when it comes to strength gains.

Pushups are awesome. Since incorporating more into my training, my bench is improving, my shoulders feel better and I’m looking denser. I particularly like them as “challenges” at the end of upper sessions, like the Texas pushup challenge, countdowns, the 4 minute test, etc. Great way to get in some extra volume, shoulder health and scapular stability without burning you out.

I love pushups. I think they train the muscles very differently than bench, though. I personally don’t think there is any carryover between benching and pushups.

I do pushups plyometrically (I apparently just invented that word) at the end of my routine. They are fun, there is carryover into sports, but it has zero impact on chest growth or strength in bench for me.


Ring or blast strap pushups with weighted vest fagetaboutit.

Greyskull suggests the frequency method… if 60 pushups is your max, you would do 5-6 sets of 40 sprinkled in single sets throughout the day, much like many do w/ chins.

I think one of the 531 templates also has pushups as assistance.

I think push-ups are good finishing movement on a chest or upper body day, but I haven’t seen any carryover to chest size or bench strength. Anecdotally, I use to be able to belt out 100 straight no problem, but my bench was pathetic. Now I can do about 65 in a minute on any given day and my bench, while still pretty sad, is higher. I think it’s because the muscle fiber used on a heavy bench is not the same used for high rep push-ups.

Explosive (think hand clap) push-ups may have some carry over, theoretically, but I’ve never personally tried it.

Personally, I think dips have the best carry over to bench strength of any accessory movement.

I’ve been doing high rep push-ups a few days a week lately. Usually ends up being between 300 and 800 a day, sets of 35-50. Just about all of my chest lifts have improved.

I think it’s one of those things that will work, but only to a certain degree and certainly not forever.

Regular, unloaded push-ups will not do much for mass, but when you add blast straps, a weight vest and/or bands, thats another story.
I was skeptic at first, but sometimes when travelling you have to make do with what you got.

I especially like the strech when using handles and bands.

[quote]StevenF wrote:
Ring or blast strap pushups with weighted vest fagetaboutit. [/quote]

I tried decline ring pushups a while ago thinking I could bust out a shitload of them and I was so embarassed from my performance I ain’t even gonna say how many I could actually do.

Progressing to banded/weighted ring pushups to archer pushups to one handed will definitely add some mass if for some reason one doesnt have access to weights.

I would think your bodyweight would influence how much they can help you.

Eric Spoto is a big believer in them (especially close grip) as a finisher.

Plyometric pushups or box-plyo-pushups do build some good upper body ‘power’ which many who dont play sports lack, and this will help bench.

Regular ones not so much

I’ve been doing plyo-pushups before pressing movements have helped me get warmed up and firing quicker, along with making me a bit more explosive.

I also like stretch pushups, with either handles or aerobic blocks. I like to push very far at the top, trying to ‘pull apart’ my shoulder blades. The exaggeration at the top and bottom makes my shoulders feel a lot healthier, and a great finisher for chest at the end of a session.