Fitness Post – Press Ups versus Bench Press

The first thing a lot of young men do when they get to the gym is lie down on the bench and start their program with Bench Press…the only Warm Up maybe will be a couple of sets of lighter weighted sets. Besides doing a whole body Warm Up firstly the Bench Press is not the best exercise to start your program with and secondly it is not the best exercise to do for most people who use resistance exercises as part of their conditioning program.

The Press Up exercise has a lot of advantages over the Bench Press as an upper body strengthening exercise. Although I cannot deny that the Bench Press is an excellent upper body strengthening exercise, very few people who go to the gym need to do it as compared with the Press Up.

So why do I say this? 

  • The Press Up can be anywhere without special equipment for it.
  • The Press Up works the Core muscles and the whole body in a much more functional way than the Bench Press.
  • The Press Up is a far more safer way to strengthen the upper body as compared with the Bench Press.
  • There are more variations of the Press Ups than the Bench Press.

For these four reasons alone the Press Up has got a far greater value than the Bench Press but if you persist in doing Bench Presses in your program a better series of versions of the exercise can be done on a Swiss Ball. These would include a straight double armed pressing movement, an alternate pressing movement and the far more intense single armed pressing movement. Using the single armed pressing movement further destabilizes the exercise and therefore more of the whole body comes into play. 

For most resistance trainers the superior exercises to use are the ones that work the body in a more functional way…using the complete kinetic chain rather than part of it. This transposes the exercise into a more natural movement. One of the key reasons this is so important is that the body is placed into far safer stresses that are shared throughout the body as compared with exercises such as the traditional versions of the Bench Press that place stress on specific areas (such as the shoulder joint) …and therefore they are far more susceptible to injury. I cannot stress this point enough!

Think about what you want out of your program and the best means to achieve your needs. And you don’t need injuries as they stymie your progress…


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