Weightlifting & Exercise/Chest Press


QUESTION: Is there a great difference between a bench press and lifting hand weights in the same motion? I don't want to skimp on building potential, but I figure if I buy hand weights I won't need a bench or even a gym membership.

Speaking of gyms, do they mostly attribute their membership costs to the weight machines and free weights? I was wondering if there could be a gym that is really cheap, but only invests in cardio, yoga, and very low impact aspects of working out.

ANSWER: Hi James,

Actually yes there is some difference, but anything is better than nothing. A bench press using a bar incorporates certain stabilizer muscles, a bench press using a dumbbell uses different stabilizer muscles. I am not sure how you are going to do bench presses without a bench though. To get a similar workout push-ups using different hand positions can give you great chest workouts.

Gyms like any other business attribute their membership cost to many varied expenses, personnel is usually the largest cost, rent, utilities, phone, advertising, equipment costs and maintenance, office expense etc. In order to make a profit they must cover all these expenses. Most gyms work on a very low profit margin. I owned my own Personal Training Studio for about year so I know first hand that equipment is one of the larger initial expenses but only plays a small part in the membership cost.

You do not need a gym membership to get fit and to build muscles, many people do it in home gyms, some with almost no equipment. A Bench and some weights purchased at a yard sale. I have picked up some nice equipment at auction for a few cents on the dollar. Most of it was only used once or twice then became a clothing rack until sent to auctipn or put out in the yard to sell.

Hope this helps,

Have a great day


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: I would arch backwards a little over the desk stairs, and if I feel endangered I could always drop the weights to the sides. I don't understand how a bench press would offer anything worthwhile compared to hand weights since you can be assured of not over working one side. Mostly the middle portion of the chest would not get as much attention?

I figured with a gym with lower inpact stuff they wouldn't have as much liability if there is nearly no way anyone could get hurt.

Hi James,

I assume you mean deck stairs and not desk stairs. So what you are doing is replacing the bench with the stairs. That should work fine, you are just substituting the stairs for the bench, it is still essentially a bench press.

I have to assume you mean that a bench press with a barbell offers nothing different than a bench press with dumbbells. The major difference is in the stabilizer muscles that are targeted and not in the actual major muscles targeted. Either will work the chest muscles. If you want to go even cheaper than dumbbells try push ups.

Low impact "gyms" May have less "liability problems" and may pay a little less for their insurance, but in most cases there is not that much difference in membership fees. If you are able to find one that offers a significant discount in rates, then you may want to try it out. There is always a way people can get hurt, my uncle committed suicide in a padded cell. No Gym or anywhere else is 100% safe.

Hope this helps

Have a great day


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Jerry Goodwin


I can answer questions related to any of the following areas alternative medicine, fitness, physical education, weight training, senior health, bicycling, personal trainers, personal training, medical technology, health and wellness, eating disorders, weight loss, Naturopathy, first aid, and bodybuilding. In fact I was listed as an expert in each of these categories at askme.com until they closed down


I have worked in health and or fitness related capacities for over 30 years. My main profession is that of a Medical Technologist, but I also have training as a Corpsman with the US Navy, a Field Medic with the Army National Guard,and am certified as A Personal Trainer, Medical Exer-therapist and Aerobics Instructor through the National Academy for Health and Fitness. My wife and I have operated BMG Services Fitness and Nutrition in Moultrie Georgia since 1995. I also have an Associates Degree in Computer Robotics. I am an avid bicycle rider, mostly road riding with the occasional mountain trail or off road "experience". My wife and I usually do a charity ride at least once per year to help those less fortunate. Degrees & Certifications: Certifications include Clinical Laboratory Scientist CLS/NCA. Clinical Laboratory Technologist CLT/HHS Personal Trainer, Aerobics Instructor, and Medical Exer-therapist NAHF. Advance Weight Training through NAHF. Accepted as AFTA Associate Awards include the Ohio State Award of Merit and Ohio Special Services Ribbon, Army Commendation Medal and 2 Army Achievement Medals CPR re-Certifcation 2007 Web page: http://www.bmgfitness.com http;//www.healthandfitnessebookclub.com

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