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Thoughts on Weighted Push-ups

Responding to a thread started by the new member all4mygirl about push-ups, i began to speculate on the effectiveness of push-ups as chest/triceps builders, more specifically weighted push-ups. So i wanted to get a consensus of what the T-Nation population thinks of this.

So hypothetically, lets say that you can infinitely pile more and more weights on yourself and your push-up form wouldn’t be compromised and you have a way to do it without another person to put the weights on you, how good of a mass builder do you think weighted push-ups would be? How would they compare to the good ole barbell bench press?

There have been numerous articles containing info about the push-up as well as weighted ones and their benefits. Find them. I think common sense says that as long as you have enough resistance and you can continually increase it, you will grow. As well as the benefits of not pinning your shoulder blades to a bench.

Everything works…for a while!

Pushups, barbell bench presses, dumbbell bench presses, flyes, and many other exercises all have their use and will allow you to build muscle and/or strength provided your intensity and training stimulus is sufficient and as long as you eat to accomplish your goals.

If you like weighted pushups, do them!

Once you get past a 45 pound plate its starts getting a bit complicated, although you can start moving your hands closer for tricep stimulation.

Get a weighted vest. Makes things a lot easier, and I know of at least one brand (X-Vest) has a model that goes up to 84 lbs. Further, the vest can be used to add resistance to all kinds of exercises, not just push ups.

You can also use bands, chains, or all of them in combination for increased resistance.

And remember…we don’t push up…we push the earth DOWN.

I used to have my girlfriend get on my back while I did push ups. When I got stronger I kept getting fatter girlfriends until I maxed out with some serious heifers.

[quote]mapwhap wrote:
Get a weighted vest. Makes things a lot easier, and I know of at least one brand (X-Vest) has a model that goes up to 84 lbs. Further, the vest can be used to add resistance to all kinds of exercises, not just push ups.

You can also use bands, chains, or all of them in combination for increased resistance.

And remember…we don’t push up…we push the earth DOWN. [/quote]

ooooooh we’ll have to see what chuck norris has to say about that…I heard he is proud to be the only one to be able to do that…

[quote]Hagar wrote:
I used to have my girlfriend get on my back while I did push ups. When I got stronger I kept getting fatter girlfriends until I maxed out with some serious heifers. [/quote]

i’ve heard of using workingout to get fit girls, but never using fat girls to workout.

I do not bench, but do weighted one arm pushups. Works for me. One arm weighted hindu pushups will have your abs hurting the next day too. One arm - one leg, elevated, etc the possibilities are endless.

ROFL. A modern day Milo.

Hmmmm…how true. Perhaps we could ask TC to get Chuck Norris on here. I, for one, remain totally unconvinced that his physique is maintained solely by using that home gym thing he hocks on TV. He can’t fool me!!!

[quote]That One Guy wrote:
how good of a mass builder do you think weighted push-ups would be? How would they compare to the good ole barbell bench press? [/quote]

An excellent mass builder. Just go to first principles. SAID - specific adaptation to imposed demands. Can you can load the exercise with sufficient weight that your body will adapt and hypertrophy (i.e., so that you are in the “magical” 6-12 rep range)? Yes.

One reason the bench press is superior is because it requires less “core” strength than doing a push-up. As you load more weight on the push-up, it’s likely your “core” would give out before your pecs and triceps.

For that reason and many others (most having to do with logistics, e.g., how are you going to load your body to do push-ups?), you can load more on the bench. Because the loading opportunities are greater for the bench press, it’s superior.

Get sandbags, the tear-resistant and water-resistant ones. I bought 2 60lb bags for $4 each about 4 months ago. Sandbag pushups > *, feels great on the back as well and requires you to have good form so the sandbag won’t fall off.

I did those for a while and worked up to a 50kg/110lbs vest.

Problem was that i kept getting heavy bruises/abrasion, especially at the outer part of the pec and on top of the shoulder blades.

IMHO, there are way better options to build mass, unless you’re a beginner. Pushups are more of a strength-endurance workout.

[quote]CaliforniaLaw wrote:

For that reason and many others (most having to do with logistics, e.g., how are you going to load your body to do push-ups?), you can load more on the bench. Because the loading opportunities are greater for the bench press, it’s superior. [/quote]

Yeah i was thinking of using a backpack like bag or something and placing the weight in. And do something like pushups with my feet on an elevated surface to have a larger range of motion.

That’s what i was thinking about the load, it would seem the only real advantage would have to be the whole fact that it is supposed to be healthier for your shoulders.

I would have to come to the conclusion that it is nothing more than a solid weapon for your arsenal of exercises…

I’m too lazy to read through all of this right now, but I’m in the military so I get my fair share of pushups. Regular pushups are good for upper body endurance, but not good mass builders. You can’t pile on enough weight to make it any better than pressing.

If you do want something that will rock the same muscles, try doing pushups with your feet elevated, and with your hands gripping dumbells. From my experience, it’s good for stability and endurance. I’ve also seen guys doing this with plates on their back, so whatever tickle’s your fancy. To help your pushups, you can also do isometric forward leaning rests. This is where you stabalize yourself in the pushup position and hold it for ~5 minutes at a time.

Here’s another vote for giving weighted pushups a shot. I replaced bench presses in my workouts with various pushup variations for a few months, and I had noticeable mass and strength gains.

My bench press 1RM even went up by 10-15lbs. I worked my way up like this: weighted pushups, bodyweight one-arm pushups, weighted one-arm pushups, bodyweight one-arm pushups with one leg up, weighted one-leg one-arm pushups with one leg up. Worked for me.

[quote]That One Guy wrote:
Yeah i was thinking of using a backpack like bag or something and placing the weight in. And do something like pushups with my feet on an elevated surface to have a larger range of motion. [/quote]

Use a push-up bar, as doing weighted push-ups are hell on your wrists.

I don’t do them weighted per se: I provide resistance from a JumpStretch band from EliteFTS.com

Hi guys.

I’m in-between routines right now and since I care about finding the answers – I’m going to test the weighted pushups.

Still a beginner, but making decent gains from my starting strengths. Currently I am at:

Bench - 190 1RM
DL - 260 for reps
Squat - 200 for reps

I have been doing chest 2x per week. Tuesday’s I did flat barbell bench press with 1-2 other chest exercises (usually dips), and on Fridays I have been doing flat dumbbell bench press.

Starting late next week for at least 5 weeks, I’m going to focus on a couple main exercises for my chest on a push/pull routine: weighted pushups and incline barbell press, (as well as close grip bench press for the triceps).

In the beginning, I will use bodyweight pushups and then progressively add weight (likely use a backpack to hold plates). In time, I will also work on other variations of the pushup including 1 arm pushup.

Judging from comments here, I seem to be in the perfect situation to utilize weighted pushups. My goal is that when I start flat benching again in 5+ weeks that my strength/growth will have benefited from both the pushups and the more effective gains due to the change in routine.

Will keep you updated.