The Journal of SPORT


Push-up and the bench- press are common exercises to develop upper-body strength and muscle endurance. The purpose of this study was to compare muscle endurance performance of matched load push-up and bench-press between men and women, where women perform modified push-up and men standard push-up. Thirty-two young healthy men and women (16 men and 16 women) participated in the study. Participants completed three tests, push-ups to failure, one repetition maximum (1RM) bench-press, and a bench-press test to failure performed with a load equivalent to percent body mass during the push-up. On average men performed 17.5 more repetitions than women in the bench-press test (men 25.3 (5.7), women 5.9 (4.2), p < 0.001). No difference (p = 0.25) was found between women and men in the number of push-ups performed (men 32.8 (8.3), women 29.6 (7.1)). However, within subjects differences were observed between bench-press and push-up exercises, p < 0.001. 1RM benchpress load was greater in men, in absolute values, men lifted 77.7 kg more than women (p < 0.001), and relative to body mass, men lifted 2.4 times more mass than women (p < 0.001). These results suggest that bench-press and push-up muscle endurance exercises differ greatly in women but not in men, likely due to gender differences in upper-body strength. This is an important consideration for upperbody strength training prescriptions.