Weighted Pushups are Fantastic
That old standby, the pushup, is more than just a reverse bench press. Done properly, it requires almost total body involvement. Granted, your legs get off fairly easy. But compared with the bench press, when everything below your nipples is just a blob, even your legs are activated to some degree.
Don’t misunderstand. Bench pressing has its place in a fitness program. And, of course, if you are a power lifter or competitive bodybuilder, supine pressing is a major part of your training repertoire. That said, for all around fitness, I’ll take pushups and their many variations every time.
Years ago, I was a bench presser. Then my shoulders started bothering me. I gave up the bench but continued working out while resting my shoulder area. It got better and I decided to try some pushups. To my pleasant surprise, no shoulder soreness resulted. I say “pleasant surprise” because so many of the same muscles are involved as those used in bench pressing.
Total body involvement
Unlike the bench press, the prone position requires every muscle group in your body to stay tight as you lower yourself and then push yourself away from the floor. Abs, gluts, and all the muscles along the spine hold you in a firm, straight line as your chest, shoulders and arms do the pushing.
And once you’ve mastered the standard pushup, the variations seem endless. In the video, I have a dumbbell on my upper-back. At the gym, Patty sometimes puts a 45-lb plate there (you will need a spotter) for weighted pushups. The added weight not only challenges chest, arms and shoulder muscles, but balance comes into play as your entire body is engaged to keep the weight from sliding off.
As I say, the variations seem endless. As examples, try dive bombers, Hindus, hands together (called "diamonds"), hands wide apart, one leg elevated, explosives, staggered hands, one hand, feet on an elevated surface, and alligators.
Return fromWeighted Pushups to Exercise Demonstrations.