The purpose of this study was to compare the effectiveness of push-ups and absolute muscular endurance (YMCA bench press test) for predicting the maximal weight that can be lifted in the bench press exercise. Subjects were 144 untrained to moderately weight-trained men ages 18 to 34. Within 15 days, each subject performed a one-repetition maximum bench press with free weights, push-ups timed for 60 seconds and the YMCA bench press test, a test of absolute muscular endurance. Care was taken to maintain proper form for each exercise. All exercises were done with the hands spaced at slightly more than shoulder width and thumbs just touching the outside of the shoulder. Results of a multiple regression analysis revealed that bench press absolute endurance was more effective for predicting bench press strength (86 percent of the variance accounted for; SEE = 6.03 kilograms) than either push-ups (31 percent of the variance accounted for; SEE = 13.33 kilograms), or push-ups and body weight (56 percent of the variance accounted for; SEE = 10.63 kilograms). Body weight did not have any effect on predicting bench press strength from absolute endurance (r = 0.93). Cross-validation (n = 48) of the predication equation using bench press absolute endurance accounted for 91 percent of the variance (SEE = 4.49 kilograms) between the measured and predicted bench press strength (r = 0.95). The results of this study suggest that absolute muscular endurance in some cases may provide a feasible alternative to the one-repetition maximum in the assessment of maximal lifting capacity.
(C) 1991 National Strength and Conditioning Association