Due to the unfavorable epidemiological situation in the world, more and more sports clubs in different cities around the world are quarantined. For many sports enthusiasts, there is nothing left to do but go to have strength training at home. However, not everyone has benches, barbells, or dumbbells at home, for example, to do a bench press. But according to sports scientists from the University of Valencia in Spain, you can work on your pectoral muscles without doing bench presses. If you use elastic tape, push-ups will be as effective as bench presses.
Method for comparing the effectiveness of push-ups with a tape and bench press
The Spaniards experimented with students, each of whom had experience in strength training. Researchers forced 10 of them to do bench presses twice a week for five weeks, while ten others did push-ups from the floor. Of course, doing bench presses can train harder than push-ups, as there is the possibility to change the weight on the barbell. Researchers envisioned this by making push-ups harder for students using elastic tape. This meant that the subjects in the push-up group performed the same difficult sets and the same number of repetitions as the students in the bench press group.
To verify the severity of the efforts being developed, the researchers measured the electrical activity in the pectoral and brachial muscles of the students, so that they knew for sure that the push-ups and bench presses were equally heavy. Before and after the period of the experiment, the researchers measured the weight with which students could complete a maximum of 1 and 6 repetitions – their 1RM and 6RM.
Science about strength training at home
The hypothesis that the scientists wanted to test in this study was that biomechanically comparable resistance exercises with similarly high levels of electromyographic activity would lead to a similar increase in strength in the long run.
Research results: bench press strength increased in both groups
The figure below shows that strength indicators increased in both training groups. The learning effect in both groups was also statistically significant.
For students who trained their pectoral muscles with a bench press, 1RM increased more than in students who did push-ups, but the difference was not statistically significant. Statistics show that both groups have made the same progress. The increase in strength at the six-repeat maximum was almost identical.
Conclusion: different exercises with the same load and biomechanics give the same increase in strengthThe Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research
“Exercise push-ups with additional elastic resistance provides a feasible and economical option that can be performed anywhere and can be used as an alternative to traditional exercises – bench presses to provide a high-intensity stimulus in the main movers involved in the action and to produce maximum power adaptation, “the researchers write. “Physiotherapists and strength training specialists can use this information to select or enable one of both exercises performed as part of a resistance training program.”
Thus, when EMG values are comparable and reproduced under the same conditions, the above exercises can provide a similar increase in muscle strength.
Strength growth does not always mean a proportional increase in muscle mass, but what is important for us in these results is that push-ups can create the same mechanical stress on the participating muscles as bench presses, which means that using elastic bands available to everyone, we can create optimal load for the development of hypertrophy.
In addition, you have a great chance to get to know first how harmful are pre-workout complexes.
What is more, we’ve prepared an article about the benefits of whey mass gainer.