Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Push-ups vs Bench Press: the former shows up in strongman?

Full Definition of CULT

1:  formal religious veneration :  worship
2:  a system of religious beliefs and ritual; also :  its body of adherents
3:  a religion regarded as unorthodox or spurious; also :  its body of adherents
4:  a system for the cure of disease based on dogma set forth by its promulgator cult
5a :  great devotion to a person, idea, object, movement, or work (as a film or book); especially :  such devotion regarded as a literary or intellectual fad
b:  the object of such devotion

c :  a usually small group of people characterized by such devotion

The definition, copied right out of Merriam-Websters,  must have been completed while in a gym.  The level at which each high school click-modeled strength sports will stay glued to their respective movements would impress Jim Jones (If he were around to be impressed).  One thing that they all kind of agree on the vital importance of the bench press for upper body development.  While my newfound sport will at least relegate this lift to an accessory status, I still guarantee that you could send them, as much as the rest of the strength athletes, into anaphylactic shock should you dare disregard the bench. 

There's plenty of reasons why I think that Ltrain is a fucking riot, even if all of them are formulated from a facebook interaction.  One such example is this little gem.


Unlike me, a barely year-long extra-don't-know-shit about strongman athlete, Matt pretty much makes every overhead press his bitch.  There's little room to doubt he's the best 175 lbs presser in the USA.  While he does use bench, he's gone without the bar, leaving chest Monday to the flex-Friday crowd.  Naturally, anyone who defies the cult edict about benching is going to earn my man-crush.

Anyone doing push-ups in strongman is rare.  If they're doing it, they're most likely most likely in a darkened room, just in front of the people watching bestiality porn.  They seem almost that far off-limits.  While I may have compromised and added weight to my push-ups a while back, I won't ever write them off.  I refuse to agree that they are an inferior exercise. 

A heavily weighted push up has been firmly in my routine since that article last July.   What I should have done was made a video of the whole ordeal since getting a sandbag to the back is best shown rather than described.  Apologies for my laziness on this front: 

Sadly, I've fallen to another form of laziness that pisses me off when working out in a group of Floridians:  being too much of a slug to get out (or put back) training gear.  I left that sandbag in my pick up truck after re-filling it.  It subsequently got cold and all the sand froze up.  I've been procrastinating about bringing it inside so it can thaw and I can start using it again.  So, when I need a weighted push-up, I've been doing one-arm push-ups with chains around my neck. That's firmly in my category of "exercises to do with embarrassingly little weight" since just a 20 lbs chain with a OAPU will tax my upper body to the limit with just 5-8 reps per arm.  Then, it's easy to put them away, so I can continue to be more Florida-like.
...and once again, I'm too lazy to shoot a video!

Of course, I do still stay true to my BW-only, no-weights roots often.  I even do some high rep push-up work as a finisher to pump some blood into my upper body push muscles.   I still use an old favorite that I haven't blogged about in years:  a 45 rep set of 15 wide, 15 standard, and 15 close-hand push-ups.  I've always loved this one because as you get deeper into the set and move the hands closer together, the distance to move the upper body gets longer.  That makes the set harder out of proportion to the number of reps I'm doing.   Hello, Triceps pump!

I had a friend in Florida who used to taunt me about becoming too much like a mainstream strongman, even using the word, "cult," to describe my entrance into the sport.  While comical, there are a few things I don't think that I'll ever do.  First, I'll never buy rehband shorts.  Second, i'll never let the bench become a regular part of my staple movements.  I just don't like it and I don't need it.   I need a strong chest but I don't need to go about it just like the cult of the bench press princesses go about it. 


Anonymous said...

How mouch is the sandbag you do pushups with in the video above? Mirek

Justin_PS said...

It's around 150 lbs. I have a terrible habit of leaving it in the rain. It might be more.