Bench push ups activate nearly every major muscle group in your body and yields several toned muscles compared to most exercises.
This exercise is one of the most effective ways to build upper body strength, provided you maintain the correct form.
Required equipment: Bench
- Set up a bench horizontally
- Assume a pushup position so that your feet extend behind you and your toes are pointing towards the floor.
- Rest your arms on the bench in a shoulder width position.
- Take a few deep breaths then bend your elbows and slowly lower your body so that your chest is almost touching the bench.
- Hold for a few seconds.
- Exhale and use your chest and arm muscles to push yourself to the starting position.
- Repeat for as many sets and reps as desired.
WHAT MUSCLES DO BENCH PUSH UPS WORK?
This exercise mainly targets the muscles located on your chest area. By bending and extending your elbows, you create resistance in your chest, which activates the muscles in there.
The bench push up fires up the muscles at the back of your upper arm as you lower your body and push it back up during this exercise.
The triceps also provide stability to your body as you lower and lift it up.
Other muscles the bench push up works are the lower back muscles, abdominal muscles, glutes and leg muscles.
BENCH PUSH UPS BENEFITS
EASIER THAN THE TRADITIONAL PUSH UP
Unlike the traditional push up that requires you to lift your entire body, the bench push up allows you to redistribute your body weight between your upper body and legs which makes it easier to perform it.
STRETCHES YOUR MUSCLES
Bench push ups stretch your upper body muscles as you lower yourself then push yourself back to the starting position.
When your muscles get fully stretched, your overall flexibility improves which in turn helps prevent injuries.
INCREASES FUNCTIONAL STRENGTH
As you lower your body towards the bench, you start to feel the familiar ‘burn’ that comes with every intense workout.
This ‘burn’ is caused by the engagement of most major muscles in your body during this exercise.
All these muscles are activated to provide stability to your body during these movements.
PREVENTS BACK INJURY
This exercise stretches your back muscles as you lower your body to the bench, and also as you push yourself back up.
By stretching these muscles, it helps relieve the tension on your lower back and prevents back injury.
ENHANCES HEART HEALTH
Bench push ups enhance your cardiovascular health by engaging large muscle groups, which prompts the heart to work harder than usual to deliver enough oxygenated blood to the tissues in these muscles.
This exercise makes for an effective cardiovascular exercise since it improves heart health and helps shed stored body fat.
PREVENTS SHOULDER INJURY
One of the most common injuries among older individuals is the rotator cuff injury. The rotator cuff is made up of tendons and muscles that keep the end of your upper-arm bone in the socket on your shoulder.
The bench push up is one of the most effective ways to prevent injury of the shoulder joints, especially in older people.
Since they recruit the stabilizing muscles that surround the joint at the rotator cuff, bench push ups help strengthen and condition this area of the body for more dynamic movements.
This significantly lowers the chances of the occurrence of debilitating injuries.
ALTERNATIVES TO BENCH PUSH UPS
The high plank also builds upper body strength by focusing on your upper back and your shoulders.
This exercise also improves your posture and strengthens your wrists. Additionally, it improves your alignment, balance and stability.
How to do it:
- From a tabletop position, raise your heels, straighten your legs and lift your heels.
- Straighten your spine and engage your upper body and leg muscles. Don’t forget to tighten your core too.
- Broaden your chest and draw your shoulders down, and then back up.
- Stay in this position for a minute.
- Repeat the steps 2- 4 times.
To avoid putting too much pressure on your wrists, place them in a slightly wilder position than your shoulders and push your fingers to the side.
You can also make fists with your hands or use your forearms to balance your body.
Other muscles worked by the high plank are glutes and hamstrings.
STANDING DUMBBELL ROTATIONAL PUNCHES
This exercise will help improve your agility, balance and cardiovascular health while it tones your arms, shoulders and torso.
Standing dumbbell rotational punches are a fantastic strength-building option if you have wrist problems or can only exercise one side of your body.
If you are a beginner and you have yet to perfect your form, you can find it easier to do this exercise without weights.
What you need: Dumbbells
How to do it:
- Stand with your feet apart.
- In each hand, hold a dumbbell at chest height.
- Use your right foot as a pivot point as you move your torso towards your left side.
- Stretch your right hand to the left.
- Go back to the starting point.
- Follow the same steps on the opposite side.
- Do 1-3 sets of 10-20 reps.
Standing dumbbell rotational punches work the shoulders, core, triceps and the latissmus dorsi (lats).
TRADITIONAL BENCH PRESS
This bench press builds your upper body strength and increases your muscular endurance while putting less pressure on your wrists.
What you need: Workout bench, Bar
How to do it:
- Lie on the workout bench facing upwards.
- Plant your feet firmly on the floor.
- Press your back and hips into the bench as you begin and make sure you stay in this position for the rest of the exercise.
- Use an overhand grip to hold the bar, making sure your hands are slightly wider than your shoulders.
- Lift the bar from its stand and lower it. Stop lowering it when it’s just above your nipple line.
- Pause for a few seconds.
- Push the bar back up while extending your arms as high as you can. Keep your elbows slightly bent.
- Do 1- 3 sets of 5 -10 reps.
This exercise works your triceps, pectorals, anterior deltoids and trapezius.
BENCH PUSH UPS MISTAKES TO AVOID
INCREASING INTENSITY TOO SOON
Before you decide to move to an advanced version of bench press ups, make sure you are comfortable performing at least 3 sets.
If you move on too early, you might end up getting injured or fatigued by the intensity.
WRONG HAND PLACEMENT
Proper push up form begins with the correct hand placement. Placing your hands too far forward or too wide puts too much pressure on your shoulders and reduces your push up power.
Bench push ups are not a walk in the park; they are very dependent on having the correct form and having enough power to take you through the exercise.
However, once you have perfected the form, you will only need to be resilient and consistent for you to see the results you’re looking for.
If you are not yet used to doing push ups, start with the standard push up then you can proceed to the more challenging bench push up after you have perfected the form.