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Currently, I do weighted pushups using barbell weight plates on my back. I've gotten to a point where it's too light without putting tons of weight plates on like 3+, but they keep falling off my back. I'm looking for a way to overload weight plates or an alternative.

A weighted vest is rather costly for me at the moment because it would be the only exercise I use the weighted vest on. I use a dip belt to hold dumbbells or weight plates. A dip belt is essential something you wear around your hips like a belt, and it has a strap hanging down that can hold weights.

Currently, my best substitution if I still wanted to do pushups is have two flat benches, the long side parallel to each other. Then, I would put my feet on one bench, and then put my hands on the other bench, so under my hips, there would just be air under that, which allows me to use my dip belt to hold weights on my hips.

Weighted Pushups using Dip Belt Hanging over Two Flat Benches

I have two concerns doing this:

  1. Does it work different chest muscles?

It seems the exercise is still the same, except for the potential for my hips to sink beneath where a normal pushup could be because they would go below where the floor would normally be, if I don't tighten my core.

  1. Is it dangerous?

It seems if a weight is too heavy, or if I'm on my last rep, since my chest is directly above my arms, I would be able to rest my chest on the bench in front of me, and then start putting 1 leg on the ground. However, there seems to be a potential to be crushed by the impact of my chest on the front bench if I suddenly feel too weak and drop suddenly. I suppose the safeguard is if my benches are not too high, and my weight plates are not too short, I can just simply loosen my core and let the weights fall onto the floor, which should be safe, I think, but I don't know much about anatomy and physiology.

Perhaps there are substitute exercises that work identical or similar chest muscles. If so, how identical are they, and how does it compare to this suspended pushup thing that I made up?

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  • If the weight isn't the issue just the number of plates then a 100 lbs plate is an option. It would be beneficial to be able to have someone set it on your back for you though
    – Dude
    May 17, 2023 at 0:04
  • I don't have the personal experience to currently try to spend this into an answer, but one of the cheap alternatives I've heard of people using is a backpack. Especially if you can get one of the army surplus ones, they tend to be very sturdy, and fairly cheap.
    – Sean Duggan
    May 17, 2023 at 10:19

2 Answers 2

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I would question the use of that.

Of course, you could use weighted vests, backpacks, heavier plates instead of more, and other means of having more load. Your idea is rather bad because it unfunctionally puts a lot of the load on your abdominal muscles, has a bad lever in terms of loading your chest, and has the danger of falling into a hyperlordose at muscle failure (overextending your lower back).

Instead, both in terms of practicality and in terms of training effect, a different training stimulus not only in quantity (load) but also quality should give better results. Like doing a bit less weight but diamond pushups, jump pushs, archer/bow pushups, or (reverse) dive-bomber pushups. That should give much better results in terms of strength and functionality and it addresses other parts of your chest and shoulder muscles.

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I would have posted this as a comment, but I don't have the reputation.

The youtube channel FitnessFAQs has recently released a video on this very subject. He's usually careful with his training and I have not found a bad advice on his channel so far.

The gist is that it is a good exercise, but you need to be careful about where the weight is, it should be (and stay) on the chest, not on the abs.

I found this quite relevant to the question asked, but that being said, I completely agree with Philip Klöcking. I've done quite a few weighted push up myself and got better results (and less pain) going for push up variations instead. To each his own though.

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