Push-Ups vs Bench Press

Push-Ups vs Bench Press

Execution Cues:

- Begin by setting up in a quadruped position with your hands flat on the ground slightly outside shoulder width. 

- Shift into a push-up plank position by raising your knees off the ground. Your elbows should be extended, shoulder blades protracted, abs tight, pelvis neutral, and weight distributed evenly between hands and feet. 
- Start the eccentric by slowly lowering your trunk and allowing the elbows to flex. Take care to keep your upper arms slightly tucked (rather than flared) in order to maintain stronger shoulder integrity. 
- Through the eccentric, keep your abs tight to prevent the hips and low back from "sagging" and creating a change in leverage. 
- Control the descent until your chest touches the floor. At this point, your body should be rigid from head to toes, scapulae retracted in line with shoulder extension, and elbows flexed to ~90º or just beyond. You should feel a good amount of tension in your pecs and anterior delts. 
- After a brief pause, reverse the motion and begin to extend the elbows while flexing the shoulders. Be careful to not allow the elbows to flare out while performing the concentric. 
- Once you return to locked out elbows with shoulder blades protracted, make sure your pelvic and trunk positioning is again rigid to finish the rep. 

Bench Press:

- Set the bar up so it is about 1.5-2 inches lower than your full lockout position. This means that you should be able to clear the J-hooks by about an inch when unracking and racking the bar. 
- Make sure that your eyes are right under the bar when you are lying down. Feet should be flat and not move AT ALL throughout the set. Glutes should be contracted and hips slightly abducted to create a wide base. Low back should be slightly arched so that only your glutes, upper back and head are in contact with the bench. 
- Before unracking, ensure that your shoulder blades are retracted and depressed (think back and down) in order to keep your lats tight and shoulders stable. 
- Place your hands on the bar just outside shoulder width. This "normal" grip position can vary wildly between individuals so it will be beneficial to experiment once you're comfortable with the movement.
- As you unrack the bar, make sure to get it over the "lip" of the J-hooks and bring it over your shoulders. Your arms should now be locked out with the bar directly over the chest. 
- Begin the eccentric by flexing at the elbows and allowing bar to begin its descent. 
- The eccentric should follow a path in line with your sternum/lower chest. The bar should be carefully controlled all the way down.
- Think about "bringing the chest to meet the bar" as you get closer to the bottom of the range of motion. Once you touch your chest softly, reverse the motion back to lockout with arms again perpendicular to the floor.
- Throughout the whole rep, keep the forearms vertical with wrists directly over the elbows. Elbows should stay tucked in to better bias the triceps. Shoulder blades should stay "down and back" to prevent instability and "dumping" at the bottom.

Key Similarities: 
- Horizontal Press pattern
- Primarily target the pecs and triceps
- Can be used effectively for intermediate and advanced athletes

Key Differences: 
- Pushups are a closed chain movement while the Bench Press is an open chain exercise
- Bench Press allows for much easier load and intensity manipulation
- Pushups are much safer for most people to perform and fail with; the risk of injury is low, comparatively 
- Pushups require no equipment and can be done anywhere making them much more versatile than Bench Press
- Pushups are more easily adjustable for varying grip/wrist angles
- Bench Press is a more technical movement with a higher barrier to entry for novices
- Pushups provide a more full-body training effect whereas the Bench Press is much more focused on the upper body
- Pushups allow for more freedom of movement for the shoulder blades which can be huge for preventing future sources of dysfunction
- Pushups can scale more easily with mechanical adjustments

Primary Use Case for Push-Ups:
-Hypertrophy of the Pecs and Triceps

Primary Use Case for Bench Press:
-Hypertrophy of the Pecs and Triceps

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