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Weighted Push-Ups vs Bench Press | Which Is Best For The Chest?

What’s your goals? What’s your training level? Are you travelling, or don’t you have access to a gym?

These are all issues that might bring up the big question: Weighted push ups vs Bench Press for building a bigger, stronger, and leaner chest?

Lucky for you, Spotmebro has you covered!

There’s no right or wrong answer here when it comes to building a bigger chest, it’s a grey area.

However, the good news is, there’s a wealth of evidence to show that weighted push-ups can build the strength and size to match the bench press.

But that’s not what you want to hear, so let’s debunk the bro science and get into some solid facts comparing the two forms of chest splitting exercises.

Important variables to consider when thinking of weighted push ups vs bench press

Think about this scenario…

There’s two guys, both doing push ups to build their chest. The only difference is; one weighs 140 lbs, and the other weighs 220 lbs.

Who do you think is going to build more muscle after one month of doing push ups?

That’s right, the 220 lb person. Why’s that? It’s simple bro…

The 220 lb guy has more weight to move compared to the guy weighing less. This will result in more muscle fibers being teared and created when doing push ups.

So what does this mean? This means bro that you can build a lot of muscle by doing push-ups if you have a challenging resistance – whether that’s adding weight, or if you already have a lot of weight to move on your body.

Beginner or Not Strong Enough For Push-Ups?

Perhaps you’re new to exercices, or you’ve been out of the game for a while. No matter bro, you can always get it back.

If this is you, then using the bench press could be an option, as you’ll be able to use lighter weights to build up your strength and power.

However, if you set on using body weight movements, you can always do push ups against a wall, or on your knees to reduce the resistance.

Start like this, then make it more difficult week on week and you’ll get there in no time!

If you’re set on challenging yourself with weighted push ups, try these ‘handy’ tips to get the most out of your training.

Challenge Yourself With Push-Up Variations

man doing weighted push ups with loaded plates on his back

Let’s say that you want to add more weight to tear the shit out of your chest muscles, how can you do it?

Good question bro, here’s some really simple tips you can use to get the best out of weighted push ups.

Use a wide hand position – Using a wider position will challenge your muscles in new ways. You can also try pointing your hands out in a 45° to challenge yourself even further. Not so difficult right? Give it a try, you’ll be surprised!

Use a crossed palm hand position – Positioning your hands in a close, cross-palmed position will not only work your chest in different areas, it will also stimulate growth in your triceps – stronger triceps = more strength to push, allowing you to add more weight and grow your chest even further.

Use rolling dumbells to mimic chest flys with a weight on your back – Using dumbells that roll to mimic the movement of cable flys in a push-up position will create width in your chest and thickness. If you do this with weights on your back, you’re arms and chest will quickly start to feel the pressure.

Use a raised platform to increase the stretch in the muscle – Put two bricks shoulder width apart, or anything that will raise your hands off the ground slightly. Doing this will enable you to drop down during your push-ups. This helps to stretch your chest muscles even further – add a weighted vest, or plates on your back and you’ll be tearing new muscle fibers in no time.

Weighted Push-Ups vs Bench Press

Weighted Push-Ups Benefits

man doing resistance band push ups

No equipment needed – The main benefit to weighted push-ups is the fact that you can do them anywhere without the need for a gym. As long as you can comfortably get yourself into the push up position you’re good to go.

Reduced risk of injury – As you’ll be using your own body to perform this exercise, it will reduce the risk of injury as you’ll be able to control the movement much more than you would if you were to sit under a loaded bar. We’ve all seen videos on YouTube where people overload the bad and the inevitable happens – this can be avoided with push ups.

Variation of movements – Push ups can be done in more ways than one. Palms out wide, cross thumbs, and hands under shoulders. If you need to target all areas of your chest without using weights, then weighted push-ups can certainly get you there.

Build solid muscle in your core – Not only can you build a solid upper body, you’ll also be working your core. Sure you’ll also work your core muscles a little when using free weights, but not as much as when you’re doing weighted push-ups as you’re forced to keep your body in a parallel position, especially if you’re using a weighted vest, or plates on your back.

Bench Press Benefits

man doing bench press outside with homemade weights

Use lighter weights to build up your resistance to exercise – If you’re just starting out, or you’ve been recovering from an injury, then using lighter weights might be an option to improve your strength before moving onto body weight exercises. Using resistance equipment is a safe way to keep good form, and protect against injury.

Ability to increase the weight – Another benefit of using weights over weighted body weight push ups is; you can increase the weight further than you could with weighted push ups alone. Unless you’re stacking plates on your back, but this is not advised unless you have a team of spotters ready to pull the weights off you back when your arms give way.

Different types of equipment for different muscle areas – Okay, I know were talking about weighted push ups vs bench press here, but let’s mention it anyway. There are multiple machines in the gym you can use to target different muscles of the chest. This is one benefit of using machines over body weight exercises. While you can develop a well rounded chest doing push ups in different positions, you can isolate your chest using resistance machines in your local gym in more diverse ways.

Increase muscle mass more, than with weighted push ups alone – This follows on from our last point… Unlike weighted push ups, you can safely increase the weight when using machines in the gym which allows you to build more size and strength, than you could with weighted push ups alone.


man doing group workout outside with a weighted vest for push ups

What’s the benefit of all of this information if you don’t know what to do with it?

This all depends on your goals: Let’s run through some simple sports, and level specific variables that might help you choose which one might suits your goals.

Goal Specific Results:

  • Advanced lifter looking to gain more muscleBench Press
  • Intermediate or beginner wanting to increase strengthWeighted Push-Ups
  • TravellingWeighted Push-Ups
  • Recovering from injuryBench Press & Resistance Machines
  • Short on timeWeighted Push-Ups
  • Fun and exciting workout outdoorsWeighted Push-Ups

# Bench Press Scores 2 Points

# Weighted Push-Ups Scores 4 Points


man wearing a weighted vest and a man doing a bench press

There you have it bros, we hoped our article has made your decision a little easier on whether to do weighted push ups, or bench press.

Don’t forget, whichever you choose, you can always mix it up and cycle your chest exercises throughout the week. That way you’re less likely to get bored. Not only that, your muscles will be forced to work in different ways.

Keep challenging yourself, record your workouts, and compare your strength week-on-week. Do this and you’ll see improvements in no time!

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