One of the hardest, in terms of effort and execution, muscles to work out in our bodies are the chest muscles. You can use relatively heavy weights and there are various ways of building them up. The two most common exercises are the bench press and the pushups. Between the two, I prefer to perform pushups rather than bench press. Let me share my opinion.
First of all, bench press exercises usually involve a bench machine where you lie down and lift and push a barbell with your chest muscles. Most of these benches are adjustable. You can either put it on recline so you can work the upper chest area or decline it to work your lower chest area. Flat straight benches work the central chest area.
One advantage of doing bench presses is by utilizing the equipment. You can easily adjust the weight you are lifting depending on your strength. If you’re just beginning, you can start off with lighter weights. However, if you’ve developed your chest muscles, you may need to lift significantly heavier weights.
One of the disadvantages of having a bench press machine is that it could be costly. Aside from the bench, you have to acquire a barbell, a set of plates and other equipments that could help you such as sports gloves. You can be resourceful though since you can build your own barbell and use makeshift benches if you’d like. I’ve seen steel pipes with huge chunks of cement on each end. I’ve also seen wooden and heavy-duty plastic benches.
Bench press machines are also a lot more dangerous than pushups. There are a number of accidents that could happen. If you can’t push the barbell anymore, it could hit you in the face or on your chest or stomach. If you are lifting extremely heavy weights, the bench might give up. If you do not secure the plates on the barbell and if it falls off, it may hit you or someone else (usually on the legs and foot). Plus, you’ll lose your balance and drop the entire barbell. It may very well damage the floor and the equipments.
Pushups, on the other hand, do not require a machine. All you have to do is plop down on the floor face down and push your body up using only your chest muscles and a bit of your triceps (back of your upper arms). It is very effective if you execute the exercise properly. Keep your body straight and focus on grinding those chest muscles. The range of motion is also equally important. The lower you go, the more intense the routine is.
Since you don’t need any equipment when performing pushups, you can do it on almost any flat surface where you can push your body up straight. The disadvantage here is that you can’t just modify the weight you need to push to make it lighter or heavier because the resistance will always depend on your body weight. You may add some weights on your arms or stomach but you really can’t add really heavy weights as it would be quite uncomfortable. What you can do is to increase the repetitions.
However, I chose to do pushups over bench press due to the fact that I can do it anywhere and it’s more challenging. It also helps you maintain good posture if you’re used to doing it properly with a straight body. Also, it doesn’t cost anything since the resistance will come from your own body weight. Well, the choice will always be up to you. Try to see which of the two would benefit you more or which would be much easier for you. The important thing is to do it regularly and do it properly.
How to build big chest muscles
Wikipedia – Pectoralis Major Muscle