People often want to know the difference between the push up and bench press. They actually don’t work exactly the same muscles, one is not better than the other, and you can get important benefits from both. One gives you a means to create huge amounts of power, and one gives you a way to get strong and protect your shoulder at the same time. Read on to understand the important differences and find out more about the push up vs bench press.
Muscles Used In Push Ups And Bench Press
Despite feeling like you are working the same muscles, there are some subtle differences that will impact your training a lot.
- Pectoralis Major
- Deltoid Muscles
- Serratus Anterior
- Anterior Deltoid
- Serratus Anterior (Very minimal and ONLY if you have good activation in certain techniques)
So as you can see, mostly they are using similar muscle groups, and in general will give you similar results. What is the difference, and an extremely important one, is how much the serratus anterior comes into play. as mentioned above, the serratus anterior really does not come into play with the bench press, unless you have super great control, and perform it in a certain way, so for the purpose of this explanation, we are going to say that we don’t use it. For 99% of people, this is true. Serratus anterior is of upmost importance in regards to scapular stability. This muscle ensures that it keeps your scapula against your rib cage, which provides stability, and also provides upward rotation (which occurs when you bring your arm up). Bench press provides downward rotation, pushups actually provide upward rotation, and thus automatically involve the serratus anterior. If you are only training downward rotation, which occurs if you are trying to balance your bench press with rowing exercises, then your downward rotators become dominant, and it is not uncommon to suffer from conditions like a pinched nerve in shoulder, impingement will often occur because your scapula is not stable, and your shoulder does not upwardly rotate well. The serratus is one of the first muscles in the shoulder to turn off, and just doing bench press will not help this.
Ensure that you do push ups as well, to make this muscle activate, and you will find you have a much much more efficient and pain free bench press as a result.