Bench press vs pushups?

  • Creator
  • #84784

    Hi all,

    I tried searching for this question on the site but didn’t have any luck, so please redirect me if this has been discussed!

    Is it ok to substitute bench press for pushups, especially in the max strength phase (anywhere pushups are involved, but specifically for mountaineering/climbing training)?

    I haven’t seen any mention of bench presses as a pushup progression/alternative on this site or in the books. My naive guesses are that pushups are more useful since they engage more of your body, and that pushups alone fulfill the pushing strength required by uphill athletes.

    Any thoughts?


  • Keymaster
    Jane Mackay on #84789

    Max, as you note, what you lose if you do bench presses rather than pushups is the full-body aspect of pushups. Pushups train core strength (front and back), because you’re essentially holding yourself in plank position, and they also require that you hold correct form in the mid and upper back around the shoulders and shoulder blades.
    Does that help?

    Max on #84868

    Makes sense, thanks Jane. If I’m using a weight plate, is there a best spot for it (guessing on upper back, not lower back)? Seems like a weight vest is ideal for this.


    Jane Mackay on #84870

    If you’re alone, the safest way to add weight is to wear a weighted backpack or use a weight vest. Or instead of adding weight, you could elevate your feet and/or do an offset-arm progression towards one-armed pushups. If you have a band, you could lay it across your back and twist an end in each hand, so the band is providing resistance as you rise. That doesn’t add effort to the lowering phase, however. If you’re working out a lot at home, it’s probably worth investing in a weight vest. I love mine.

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