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Flexions with elastic bands, an effective alternative to the bench press

The bench press and push – ups (push ups) are two classic pushing exercises to strengthen the muscles of the upper body.

The biomechanical similarities between these exercises are palpable, both of which are also used to evaluate the muscular strength of the upper body.

Advantages and disadvantages of bench press and push-ups

While the bench press usually requires more equipment (bench, bar, disks …), the push-ups can be done anywhere .

The good thing about the bench press is the possibility of training with low intensities as well as with moderate and high intensities, while the load during the push-ups is determined by the body weight.

Therefore, carrying out push-ups with only body weight resistance is unlikely to provide sufficient training stimulus in advanced subjects in strength training.

In this line, the inclusion of additional resistance can make the push-ups effective not only for beginners, but also for advanced subjects.

Elastic bands to train the push-ups

Due to its low cost, adaptability and portability , elastic bands of different strengths have become a feasible alternative to traditional strength training.

The elastic bands have proven effective to induce comparable muscle activations as those obtained with free weights or machines for training exercises force lower body and the upper extremity.

Therefore, the elastic rubber added can be a good stimulus for an effective training of high intensity push-ups .

But, can the elastic rubber flexes reach the muscle activation levels of a bench press?

In a recent study , the muscle activity of the pectoralis major and the anterior deltoid was measured in the bench press and push-up exercises with elastic bands.

Participants were subjects with two or more years of experience in strength training and those exercises, and performed at least three training sessions per week with moderate-high intensity.

In order for the whole process to be valid, the conditions of intensity, volume, rest, exercise technique and speed of movement were the same for the bench press and for the flexions with elastic bands.

After the training period it was found that resisted push-ups with added elastic rubber induced similar levels of muscle activity and strength gains than the bench press in both the pectoral and the anterior deltoids.

What practical applications can we draw from our training?

When muscle activity values (measured by electromyography) are comparable and the same conditions are reproduced (intensity, volume, rest, exercise technique and movement speed), both the bench press and the elastic-resisted push-ups can provide similar muscle strength gains .

This does not mean that for a subject that raises 120 kg in bench press will be just as effective a series with that load that a series of pressures resisted with elastic rubber, that is obvious.

But yes that the resisted resists with elastic rubber (we can perform different types of push-ups and with rubber bands of different resistances) can provide a feasible and profitable alternative when we do not have the possibility of training the bench press, since we will be able to do them in any place, or even include both exercises in our training routine.

This type of push-ups can provide a high-intensity stimulus in the muscles involved in the exercise, such as the pectoralis and the anterior deltoids, producing adaptations in strength.


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