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Proper bench press technique



 
 
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  #1  
Old September 15th 03, 09:49 PM
Ted Theodoropoulos
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Default Proper bench press technique

a friend of mine and i are having a debate over if you should bring
the barbell down to your chest during the bench press. i contend that
you should if it doesn't cause pain or discomfort during the motion.
he contends that your arms shouldn't dip below parallel.

there are numerous articles stating that you should gently touch the
bar to your chest but he sent me this from a reputible source stating
other wise. what's the consensus on this subject?

http://www.mayoclinic.com/invoke.cfm...06E3F8CB14C7C4
  #2  
Old September 15th 03, 10:18 PM
Lyle McDonald
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Default Proper bench press technique

Ted Theodoropoulos wrote:

a friend of mine and i are having a debate over if you should bring
the barbell down to your chest during the bench press. i contend that
you should if it doesn't cause pain or discomfort during the motion.
he contends that your arms shouldn't dip below parallel.


Tell your friend that Everett Aarberg is a retarded choad.

there are numerous articles stating that you should gently touch the
bar to your chest but he sent me this from a reputible source stating
other wise. what's the consensus on this subject?

http://www.mayoclinic.com/invoke.cfm...06E3F8CB14C7C4


I didn't realize that the mayoclinic had become experts on trianing athletes.

Lyle
I thought they were experts on sandwich spread
  #3  
Old September 15th 03, 11:37 PM
Jason Burnell
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Default Proper bench press technique

"Proper technique" apparently depends on what your goals are. While I
trusted the Mayo clinic with my mothers health care when she was ill, I
am not sure that I'd take their advice on bench pressing.

The article completely neglects the fact that in competition you are
required to pause the bar on the chest regardless of your arm angle, etc.

I'm also surprised to learn that the bench "doesn't even work the
pectoral muscles that well, as they become too stretched out."

The main problem I have with it is that it looks like the goal of the
article is to promote "safe" fitness type lifting, which is fine.
However, to then use competitive powerlifting as an example (or
bodybuilding) doesn't make sense. The goal of powerlifting isn't
"fitness", it' is moving the most weight in a contest.

While the wide grip does or may place a lot of stress on the
shoulders.... it also reduces the distance the bar must travel. That is
why most competitive lifters will use it.

It also neglects to mention that the competitive bench technique used by
many lifters today (elbows in, bar touching very low) is vastly
different than the wide grip, elbows out, bar to the middle of pecs
style used to hit the pecs by many.

So, whether or not you should bring the bar to your chest depends on
what you are doing - powerlifting = yes bodybuilding and trying to hit
the pecs = yes bodybuilding and trying to work the triceps = maybe.. but
probably not.



Ted Theodoropoulos wrote:
a friend of mine and i are having a debate over if you should bring
the barbell down to your chest during the bench press. i contend that
you should if it doesn't cause pain or discomfort during the motion.
he contends that your arms shouldn't dip below parallel.

there are numerous articles stating that you should gently touch the
bar to your chest but he sent me this from a reputible source stating
other wise. what's the consensus on this subject?

http://www.mayoclinic.com/invoke.cfm...06E3F8CB14C7C4


--
Jason Burnell

http://www.deepsquatter.com

  #4  
Old September 16th 03, 03:41 AM
EAVL Inc.
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Posts: n/a
Default Proper bench press technique

"Ted Theodoropoulos" wrote in message
om...
a friend of mine and i are having a debate over if you should bring
the barbell down to your chest during the bench press. i contend that
you should if it doesn't cause pain or discomfort during the motion.
he contends that your arms shouldn't dip below parallel.

there are numerous articles stating that you should gently touch the
bar to your chest but he sent me this from a reputible source stating
other wise. what's the consensus on this subject?


Bench v1.0

The Bench Press

For more than three decades, the lift commonly viewed as the test of
strength has been the bench press. From its inception in competition, it has
been the most popular lift in single lift competition, and often, when
someone who has no idea what powerlifting or Olympic lifting is all about,
will pose the question "How much do you bench?" to anyone who lifts. It is
the second lift in a powerlifting competition, and even athletes who are
strong on the other two lifts need to develop proficiency in the bench press
to achieve an exceptional total. While this lift is practiced by nearly
everyone, even those who have no idea what a snatch, clean and jerk or squat
is, this document is primarily written for powerlifters or those who wish to
develop a maximal bench with minimal risk of injury.

The bench press is executed while lying flat on the back, the only contested
lift where this occurs. The agonists (prime movers) in the bench are the
triceps, deltoids, pectoralis major and minor, and the latissimus dorsai.
Numerous smaller muscles are used to stabilize the body while lifting, but
these are the primary focus. Performed properly, the bench can produce
incredible muscular hypertrophy of the pressing muscles, although specific
assistance work will still need to be performed to achieve maximal
poundages.

The set up for the bench consists of lying flat on the bench, with the head,
shoulders, and hips on the bench, and the feet flat on the floor. While some
federations may allow variations of this, as a general rule it is good to
practice this set up. Certain lifters may not be able to reach the floor,
and may use plates or blocks to allow the athlete to achieve a respectable
amount of leg drive. One of the most overlooked aspects of the bench is the
amount of power that can be transferred from the legs to the torso, but this
is only possible if the hips are driven strongly into the bench, and the
abdominals and lower back are used to keep the torso stable. This is made
easier for the athlete by arching, where the lower back is extended. This
also serves to allow the lats to be recruited more efficiently by the
athlete. The scapulae should be retracted to their fullest extent. This can
not only shorten the bench stroke as well, but decrease the angle of
rotation of the shoulder joint, limiting opening of the acromial process.

The grip will influence numerous factors; bar path, muscle recruitment and
activation, bar placement, and risk of injury. As a general rule, most
powerlifters will use a wide grip, shortening the distance the bar must
travel and reducing the necessary work to lockout the weight.(10, 36) A
narrow grip enables lifters to generate more force initially, but hinders
force production at lockout. A wider grip has been shown to limit initial
force production.(31) It is also worth noting that a wider grip generally
allows far less horizontal bar displacement than a closer grip. Contrary to
popular belief, a wider grip does not stress the pectorals more than a
closer grip, although the triceps are recruited to a much greater degree
with a narrower grip due to the greater vertical displacement of the
bar.(10) While there is no greater recruitment of the pectorals secondary to
a wider grip, the muscles will be subject to a greater stretch, which can
result in increased force generation.(19) It goes without saying that the
thumbs should be wrapped firmly around the bar, which will not only help
ensure the safety of the lifter, but will make it easier to keep the wrists
straight. Keeping the wrists straight allows the bar to be supported over
the radius and ulna, instead of being held in position by the much smaller
and weaker tendons of the wrist.

Unracking the bar is a part of the set up, and can result in a poor lift if
it is not given the attention it deserves. Ideally, the bar should be taken
out of the rack by the lifter, allowing the athlete to tighten the lats as
the bar moves into position. However, since it is not an ideal world, a
spotter is often used. If the is the case, the spotter should provide no
more assistance than absolutely necessary, and a poor lift off can be worse
than no help at all, especially in the case of smaller lifters, who can be
pulled not only out of position, but clear of the bench by an overly
enthusiastic 'assistant'. When the bar is unracked, it should be taken at
full extension, both because the athlete must demonstrate control of the bar
for a successful lift in competition, but to ensure that the muscles are
tight and the set up is correct. A single second of adjustment can avoid
what seems like an eternal struggle to press a weight that is out of
position.

Elbow position on both the descent and ascent will determine many things,
including risk of injury to the shoulders, activation of the lats and
triceps, as well as bar position. This is one of the most ignored factors
when benching. It will be discussed in more detail during both the raising
and lowering phases, but one thing will be mentioned first: do not flare the
elbows out to the side "to place more emphasis on the chest," as
bodybuilding lore often states. This will result in a severe amount of
strain at the shoulder joints, as it opens the acromial process to an
extreme degree.

The descending phase is critical, and will directly determine the ability of
the athlete to press the weight. When the bar is lowered, it should be
brought low on the torso, to the apex of the arch. This serves to decrease
the distance that the bar is pressed, reducing the work done by the athlete
during both the eccentric and concentric phases. To enable the bar to be
lowered properly, the elbows should move toward the lifter as the bar comes
down. This should be done with a feeling of 'rowing the bar down' with the
lats, but achieving the feel of this can take time. Tension should be
maintained throughout the body as this is occurring, to preserve the
potential energy of the stretch reflex.(7)

The pause is required in competition, and while this is one of the many
things that separates a competition bench from a gym lift, it is often one
of the most important. The ability to preserve a stretch reflex is crucial
to any athlete who needs to hit a big number in competition. When the bar is
paused, the most important thing to do is not relax, tension must be
maintained throughout the entire body. The stretch reflex can be maintained
for up to two seconds in a trained athlete, although a novice will struggle
to achieve 25% of this result.(7)

The concentric portion of the lift is the most difficult, and can present a
variety of problems to the athlete. One fact that should be noted is that,
once the bar is paused, the lifter should not allow the bar to sink further,
using the ribcage or stomach to propel the bar upward. This is heaving, and
is cause for a lift to be turned down. As the bar begins to ascend, it
should be driven upward with as much force as possible, both to take
advantage of the myotactic response, as well as to push through any possible
sticking point.(13, 30) The elbows should be maintained as close to the body
as possible until the sticking point is reached, at which point they should
flare outward, reducing the movement arm about the elbow and improving the
leverage of the triceps.

The bar should be driven upward in as straight a line as possible. Quite
simply, this requires the least amount of work on the part of the athlete.
Some lifters are taught to push the bar back ('back to the rack') and this
is quite incorrect, even though several good benchers do so. Benching in
this manner increases the amount of work that the lifter must perform, and
decreases the involvement of the lats. Some coaches and athletes are under
the impression that this will more fully utilize the musculature of the
upper back, but this is not the case. It would be if the athlete were
vertical instead of horizontal, however, as the bar is simply drifting over
the face, the athlete is in no way utilizing muscular force to pull it
there.

Common errors that occur when benching are discussed briefly. They all have
several things in common. First, they all indicate that the lifter is not
strong enough to move the weight properly, and should decrease the poundage
until their ability grows to match his desires. Second, they all indicate
that the lifter needs further education in the realm of strength training.
Third, they all have the potential to cause injury.

Excessive arching is common among gym lifters, who should know to keep their
hips on the bench. However, when the ego takes over, the body often loses
control. The lifter will push the hips up off of the bench, in order to
improve his leverage. While this can help someone lock out a lift they would
otherwise have missed, it can caused a great deal of strain on the vertebrae
of the lower back and the neck. The lumbar vertebrae will be compressed
unevenly, increasing the shearing force the spine is subject to, and putting
the lifter at risk for serious injury. An even more extreme form of arching
can have the lifter actually compressing the vertebrae of the neck.

Bouncing the bar off of the chest is another common technique exhibited by
those who seek to impress their friends with the fact that they have
survived as long as they have. This is, quite simply, an easy way to damage
the ribs, sternum, or even completely fracture the xiphoid process. In
addition to the potential for injury, people who utilize this 'technique'
will begin to develop a weakness in the bottom of the bench press,
necessitating further bouncing of the bar, which is quite a viscous circle.

One last error will be discussed, and that is the improper use of spotters.
While a spotter is a good idea when benching, using one (or more) to perform
the lift instead of pressing the weight to full extension is not a habit
that the serious strength athlete should develop. While there may be a place
for heavy negatives in the recreational athletes program, there is a
disadvantage to performing them as well, in that they cause the greatest
degree of microtrauma to muscle fibers than any other standard type of
training. While a muscle may be able to handle approximately 120% of its
maximal concentric load during the eccentric phase, this does not in any way
serve to optimize the CNS, and it is, in fact, more fatiguing to the athlete
than standard training, increasing the recovery time and lessening the
amount of training time. (29, 41, 60, 61)

There is at least one school of thought which would have athletes believe
that there is little benefit to performing a regular bench press, and that
machine type bench exercises are just as good, if not superior to the bench
press. Unfortunately, research does not support this. Studies have shown
that not only is there greater muscle activity during the bench press (20,
31, 33) but that there is also greater recruitment of the stabilizing
muscles to support the musculature used in the bench press (16, 17, 45) This
is particularly true of the deltoid, and while all muscles of the deltoid
are active to one degree or another during any movement of the upper arm,
with one head being the agonist and the others synergists,(40) this
difference is highly significant with respect to the bench press.(33)

Lifters, whether powerlifters, bodybuilders, or recreational lifters often
argue about which muscles are most involved in the bench. Unfortunately,
there is no clear cut answer. The following information is compiled from
electromyographical analysis (EMG) performed within several studies, and in
every case the EMG signal was quantified by calculating the integral of the
EMG pattern (IMEG) as the area under the linear envelope.(60) The data were
analyzed through a repeated measures ANOVA (analysis of normal variance)
using type III sums of squares where possible.(1) This method of review was
also used when assessing % maximal voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC).
All anatomical references were reviewed with respect to electrode placement
with respect to both anatomical accuracy as well as sensitivity as
diagnostic tools (9, 12, 19, 24, 25, 37, 39, 42, 43, 61)

What the above paragraph indicates is that, when all factors are considered
and standardized, including individual variations such as biomechanics,
fiber type, rate of force development, etc. the following can be surmised
(all data based on averages of 60% and 80% 1rm):
% MVIC of agonists:
Triceps: 110%
Anterior deltoid: 95%
Pectoralis Major: 75%

The most active portion of the triceps was the long head, which is even more
active with a narrow grip. This is true even when overhead pressing,
assuming the elbows are fully adducted. This is secondary to the greater
degree of elbow flexion, in which the triceps brachii functions as the
agonist.

The anterior deltoid will be more active the more the trunk is inclined, as
well as being more active with a wider grip. This is due to the fact that
the anterior deltoid is not merely an flexor of the humerus, but also an
adductor of it. Wide hand spacing during a vertical press will cause mainly
glenohumeral abduction, whereas with a narrow grip the primary movement is
flexion.

The sternocostal head of the pectoralis major is little affected by hand
spacing, but is directly affected by trunk inclination. The greater the
inclination, the less the activation. There is also a slightly greater
activation of this muscle with a wider hand spacing, due, in general, to the
fact that with a wider grip, the elbows tend to move away from the midline
of the body, which increases the degree of horizontal flexion of the
humerus.

The clavicular head of the pectoralis major is affected by both hand spacing
as well as trunk inclination. The narrower the grip, the greater the
activation, as well as the greater the inclination, the greater the
activation. There are several factors for this, including the fact that
vertical bar displacement is greatest during an incline press. This is also
due to the fact that the clavicular head is involved in horizontal flexion
and adduction in addition to pure flexion. The clavicular head will maintain
its function as a flexor of the glenohumeral joint until humerus moves above
the horizontal position. This is why it is rather inactive when the torso is
vertical, as little flexion is occurring.

The latissimus dorsai is highly active at the initiation of the concentric
phase, with greater activity the closer the elbows are maintained to the
torso, due to the degree of adduction required. The latissimus dorsai is an
extensor at the glenohumeral joint as well as being a humeral adductor,
which explains its activity during every type of pressing.

Numerous training programs have been devised, and will not be discussed here
in great detail. A modest discussion of the various methods of training will
be mentioned.

Maximal effort method: The maximal effort method consists of lifting a
maximal (1RM) load, with the goal being improvement of both intramuscular
and intermuscular coordination. The CNS system is maximally stimulated, with
CNS inhibition being reduced, and the greatest number of motor units are
recruited using this method.(61) The primary disadvantages of this method
are that it induces minimal hypertrophy, as only one or two reps are
performed, as well as the fact that the CNS will attenuate rather quickly,
and so exercises must be rotated regularly. If more than one set
(repetition) is to be performed, then a lengthy rest period may be required.
(3, 4, 21, 53)

Repeated effort method: This method utilizes submaximal effort with higher
reps to stimulate maximal hypertrophy.(61) The basis for this method is that
the larger the muscles peak cross sectional area (PCSA), the greater the
strength of the individual muscle. The disadvantages to this method are that
the CNS is not highly stimulated with this method, as well as the fact that
as the muscles become fatigued, form begins to suffer, decreasing proper
motor unit recruitment patterns. As multiple sets are normally performed
using this method, rest periods should be long enough to allow the athlete
sufficient recovery time, but, over time, the athlete should strive to
reduce the rest time in-between sets (3, 4, 21, 46, 53)

Dynamic effort method: This method uses sub-maximal (light) weights to
increase rate of force development.(61) This method will also potentate the
myotactile response, as the weight is moved quickly. Repetitions are low, to
ensure proper technique, and sets are high, to allow for greater motor unit
recruitment. Rest periods should be kept low, as the various systems, such
as the CNS, musculoskeletal, etc. are not heavily taxed during a single set.
(4, 21, 41, 53)

A brief discussion of assistance work and its effects, as well as specific
bench techniques, is quite appropriate. Assistance work is of critical
importance, a point which has often been illustrated. When an athlete cannot
progress in a certain lift, it is not the lift itself which is weak, but
there is a weak link (muscle group) in the kinematic chain. The key to
successful assistance work is determining which muscle group is the weakest
and determining the appropriate technique to strengthen it.

General guidelines are hard to present, but, nevertheless, an attempt will
be made.

Weak at the initiation of the concentric phase (out of the bottom):
Strengthen lats, pecs, as well as learn how to recruit lats properly.

Weak at the midpoint: Strengthen the shoulders, and work on specific
exercises to train the sticking point.

Weak at lockout: Triceps, triceps, and triceps. The triceps are active
throughout the entire lift, but most active the closer the bar moves toward
lockout. Specific exercises to strengthen the lockout can be used as well.

Bench assistance work will be divided into several basic categories, with a
general discussion about the effects of each category of exercises, with
extra discussion for specific functions of individual exercises if
necessary. The categories include flat benching exercises, partial pressing
exercises, bench-like exercises, assistance work for the triceps, assistance
work for the deltoids, assistance work for the traps, assistance work for
the lats, assistance work for the biceps and forearms. The use of chains and
bands will not be discussed, but will be the focus of another discussion.

Flat bench: This lift needs to be examined in and of itself as it can be
used with a variety of methods, techniques, and set and rep schemes, all of
which can have an effect on bench performance. When trained dynamically, the
athlete should use a weight that allows the production of maximal force,
which will generally occur somewhere between 50 - 60% of the 1RM. This
allows for greater force development, allows the lift to be trained again
more frequently as it is performed in a very rapid manner, lessening the
eccentric stress and resultant fatigue, as well as maximizing the
utilization of the stretch reflex.

The paused version of the bench press can be used to develop starting
strength. Many athletes will train with an extended pause (two or three
seconds) to help them further develop the necessary explosion off the chest,
as well as the ability to maintain tension in the paused position.

Heavy negatives: Not advised for the strength athlete. By the time an
athlete is advanced enough to perform them, the amount of recovery time
necessary will reduce practical training time. This exercise may be useful
for novice athletes to become accustomed to the feel of heavier weights
through synaptic facilitation.

Illegal wide grip bench. Very useful for strengthening the bottom portion of
the bench which will occur secondary to hypertrophy, as these are generally
performed in the six rep range. The only caution is that this exercise can
severely open the acromial process, and should be used sparingly, and only
by athletes with healthy shoulders.

Pressing from the pins at chest level can work the start of the bench as
well, but it is difficult to recruitment maximal power from the torso, as
there is no stretch reflex, and no resulting tension. This can place the
athlete at greater risk for injury as well.

Benching with a cambered bar or a buffalo bar can also work the start of the
bench, but once again care must be taken to avoid injury to the shoulders as
the acromial process is quite open using these types of bars.

Close grip bench presses have been a not only a standard method for
powerlifters to strengthen the triceps and thus the lockout of the bench,
but have even been used by weightlifters as an assistance exercise to
increase their ability to execute the press decades before powerlifting was
a recognized sport, including the great Tommy Kono. (for the trivia-minded,
Kono cleaned and pressed 350 pounds at a bodyweight of 182.5 pounds)

Reverse grip bench pressing can provide quite a bit of stimulation for the
triceps. This method is little used, but could be far more prevalent if
athletes did not overlook this very useful exercise. It is, in fact, even
more surprising when one considers that the heaviest bench ever executed was
performed with a reverse grip. This was a standard assistance exercise for
legendary bencher Rick Weil, who eventually utilized it as his competition
style, pushing 551 lbs. at a bodyweight of 181 lbs.

Partial bench exercises can take a wide variety of forms, and will be
further subdivided into several categories: initial, or the start of the
concentric, lockout, which will be used to refer to any portion of the bench
higher than of the distance to lockout, or specific. One difficulty arises
in that exercises with specific variations with respect to the height at
which they are performed, such as board presses, and presses from the rack,
will fall into a different category based on the bench stroke of the
individual. An athlete with a short bench stroke may find that the three
board press strengthens the lockout, whereas an individual with a very long
bench stroke will find that it strengthens the start or the mid-range of the
bench. The same is true for partial presses from the rack. One of the keys
to making partial exercises effective is that they must be performed in the
correct range, with the joints at the proper angle.

Partial training is based on the attenuation principle, where the intent is
to train in the range of motion where there is demand for maximal force
production. This method is used to overload the musculoskeletal system as
well as the CNS with supramaximal loads in the area of the ROM where maximal
force is produced.(40) This also produces a decline in neural
inhibition.(55) Numerous studies have shown that there is an area of the ROM
where maximal force production occurs, and this area is often referred to as
the 'sticking point'.(13, 31, 57) Studies have shown that partial ROM
training increases strength primarily at the trained ROM, although there is
a certain amount of variance. (18, 27, 28, 48) It is worth noting that
partial ROM exercise produces greater torque compared to full ROM exercise.
(47, 58) One other benefit of performing partials is the lessened eccentric
phase, which will result in less microtrauma, allowing quicker recovery.(29)

Board Press: Allows the lifter to maintain tension throughout the torso but
still work a partial ROM. Much of the weight is transferred to the athlete
at the bottom of the rep, when the bar is paused.

Rack Press: Similar to board press, but harder for the athlete to maintain
tension in the torso. This exercise is easier to vary, as changing pin
heights is relatively simple, but there is greater risk of injury if the
athlete does not achieve the appropriate levels of muscular tension prior to
the concentric phase. This exercise can also be used to push very heavy
weights, allowing the CNS to be better conditioned for handling heavier
weights.

Floor Press: Good for working the initial portion of the bench. For lifters
with weak triceps, this may not be the best assistance exercise.

Isometric press: This exercise involves utilizing a power rack with the pins
set just above and below the sticking point. The athlete will then press the
weight off the pins, forcibly contacting the next set of pins. This will be
repeated for a total of three times, and when the bar contacts the pins the
third time, the athlete should push against the pins for at least six
seconds, with the goal of exhausting every possible muscle fiber.

Work for the triceps is basically the same. Variations of extensions, as the
function of the triceps is to extend the elbow joint. There are a great many
types of extension, so many, in fact, that they would be the subject for an
entire document of their own. The purpose of all of them is to increase the
strength of the triceps through hypertrophy, and a wide number of set and
rep schemes can be used. Only a couple exercises will be mentioned
specifically.

Dips: Good for the novice, who is not used to pushing heavy weight. As the
athlete becomes more advanced, there is the matter of diminishing returns.
Perhaps it is because of the strain on the shoulder joint, the fact that so
many muscles are involved that it is hard to target a specific weakness with
this exercise, or for some unknown reason, but advanced athletes seem to
benefit very little from this exercise.

French Press: Yet another overlooked exercise. Whether seated or standing,
this exercise provides a benefit many other do not: it fully stretches the
long head of the triceps, which crosses the shoulder joint. This can be
quite beneficial for a lifter who has been doing short range isolation
movements.

Pushdowns: These exercises do very little to truly develop functional
strength, and should be used only for active recovery or as GPP.

Exercise for the shoulder girdle are of the utmost importance. Not only the
anterior deltoid, which functions as an agonist in the bench press, but the
medial and posterior deltoids, the trapezius, as well as the rotator cuff
and rhomboids.

Pressing exercises, whether with barbells or dumbbells, are one of the best
all around shoulder exercises. The anterior and medial deltoid will be
directly stimulated, and the posterior will function as synergists. The
traps will be used to support the musculature of the shoulders during
overhead pressing as well. Pressing can also be performed from various pin
heights within the rack, adding extra variations to the lifter's arsenal.

Pressing behind the neck is often viewed as dangerous, and this is true: if
the athlete does not maintain adequate flexibility in the shoulders,
strength in the external rotators, and a certain amount of flexibility in
the chest. As at least one of these factors is generally sadly lacking, this
variation of pressing exercise can be quite hard on the athlete.

Snatch Grip Press Behind the Neck: This exercise is rarely performed in the
United States, as Olympic weightlifting is not as popular as it once was.
This exercise is one of the reasons when Overhead lifting was the rule,
rather than the exception, that rotator cuff injuries were few and far
between.

The strength and recruitment of the latissimus dorsai is essential to a big
bench, and so correspondingly the lats should be trained in the manner which
not only most closely simulates the motion of the bench, but allows the
athlete to achieve greater recruitment of the lats. As the lats are
basically worked in two directions (there are minute exceptions which are
not very applicable) exercises will be grouped into two categories.

Chins/Pullups/Pulldowns: All excellent movements for strengthening the lats,
and chins and pull ups are superior to pulldowns due to the greater number
of motor units recruited. If an athlete is going to perform chins or pull
ups, care must be taken not to bounce out of the bottom portion of the
exercise, as this can cause bicep tendonitis or other elbow problems.

Rows: While certain types of rows have been shown to display a higher EMG
activation rating, such a s dumbbell rows, the athlete working to improve
the bench should make the row as specific as possible. Ideally, this will be
with the chest supported, the bar held in the same grip, and it is rowed in
the same plane as the bench is executed. Rotating different variations of
this exercise can be useful.

The trapezius is a muscle that helps stabilize the entire shoulder girdle,
as well as the neck and head, and is often neglected in many conventional
programs.

The basic exercise for strengthening the trapezius is the shrug. This
exercise can be performed with barbells or dumbbells, and can be performed
in an explosive manner allowing more weight to be used as well as increasing
the effective ROM.

The other method for strengthening the traps as well as the upper back would
be the Olympic lifts. While learning the classic (full) versions of the
snatch and clean and jerk could be counter productive, partial versions of
the quick lifts can be readily learned and provide a degree of stimulation
to the upper back that is unparalleled by other forms of lifting.

The power snatch is one of the best exercises for strengthening the upper
back that has ever been practiced. In addition to strengthening the traps,
posterior deltoids, rhomboids and teres major, the external rotators are
strengthened quite thoroughly. This exercise, or a variation of it, is often
used for this very purpose.

The power clean will work the traps quite well, and more weight can be used
than in the power snatch. This exercise will work the posterior deltoids,
rhomboids, and teres major, but it does not strengthen the external rotators
to the same degree as the power snatch. If strengthening the external
rotators is the primary goal, dumbbells can be more effective.

Pulls: Whether executed with a snatch or clean grip, performed from the
deck, the hang, or pins, Olympic pulls can work the traps through an
incredible range of motion, and there will be some stimulation of the other
muscles of the upper back.

Biceps: The only function the biceps brachialis serves is as a stabilizer in
the bench press. For this reason, there is little reason for the athlete
interested in strengthening the bench to spend much time curling. The
brachialis serves as a stabilizer as well, and often more so than the
biceps, so reverse curls and hammer curls can be of some use.

Forearms: The muscular of the forearm is far more important to the bench
than the biceps. The brachioradialis serves to stabilize the elbow joint,
and the extensors and flexors stabilize the wrist joint.

Reverse Curls: This exercise primarily strengthens the brachioradialis, but
also serves to strengthen the brachialis.

Hammer Curls: Similar to reverse curls, with less effect on the
brachioradialis, but more stimulation of the brachialis.

Wrist Curls: Can be used to strengthen both the flexors and the extensors.

Grip work: Grip work in general can be divided into a few categories as
well, but the primary interest of the athlete seeking to improve the bench
is static contraction.

A final note: Aside from the obvious cautions about using spotters or a
power rack, there is one other difficulty that is often overlooked. The
bench press will heavily work the internal rotators (supraspinatus and
infraspinatus) but not stress the externals to any great degree. The
external rotators (subscapularis and teres minor) are equally important, and
should receive attention. While mention has been made of the fact that some
of the Olympic lifts work the external rotators, this needs to be stressed.
If these moves are not utilized, a certain amount of specific work for these
small muscles should be included. The key aspect to any training program is
that the health of the athlete is paramount.

References:

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Berkeley: Abacus Concepts, Inc. 1989.

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5. Callaway, C.W., W.C. Chumlea, C. Bouchard, J.H. Himes, T.G. Lohman, A.D.
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22. Hortobagyi, T., and F.I. Katch. Role of concentric force in limiting
improvement in muscular strength. J. Appl. Physiol. 68:650-658. 1990.

23. Jackson, A., T. Jackson, J. Hnatek, and J. West. Strength development:
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24. Kendall, F.P., E.K. McCreary, and P.G. Provance. Muscles: Testing and
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25. Keppel, G. Design and Analysis: A Researcher's Handbook. Englewood
Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1982.

26. Kitaie, T.A., and D.G. Sale. Specificity of joint angle in isometric
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27. Knapik, J.J., R.H. Mawdsley, and N.V. Ramos. Angular specificity and
test mode specificity of isometric and isokinetic strength training. J.
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29. Komi, P.V. Training of muscle strength and power: Interaction of
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30. Kulig, K., J.G. Andrews, and J.G. Hay. Human strength curves. Exerc.
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31. Lander, J.E., B. Bates, J. Sawhill, and J. Hamill. A comparison between
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32. Madsen, N., and T.M. McLaughlin. Kinematic factors influencing sports
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33. McCaw, S.T. and J.J. Friday. A comparison of muscle activity between a
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34. McDonagh, M.J. and C.T. Davies. Adaptive responses of mammalian skeletal
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35. McLaughlin, T.M., Bar path and the bench press. Powerlifting USA
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36. McLaughlin, T.M. Grip spacing and arm position. Powerlifting USA
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Gatesville, TX: Med. Plastics Lab., 1992.

38. Mookerjee, S. and N. Ratamess, N. Comparison of strength differences and
joint action durations between full and partial range-of-motion bench press
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39. Perry, J. and G. Berkley. EMG-force relationships in skeletal muscle.
CRC. Crit. Rev. Biomed. Eng. 12:1-22. 1981.

40. Rutherford, G.M. and D.A. Jones. The role of learning and coordination
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41. Sahlin, K., and J.M. Ren. Relationship of contraction capacity to
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source: http://boards.elitefitness.com/forum...hreadid=150391


  #5  
Old September 16th 03, 04:26 AM
Ted Theodoropoulos
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Proper bench press technique

Jason Burnell wrote in message gy.com...
"Proper technique" apparently depends on what your goals are. While I
trusted the Mayo clinic with my mothers health care when she was ill, I
am not sure that I'd take their advice on bench pressing.


i'm with ya on that one. the only problem is that the only response i
can give him is a bunch of links from body builders (not
kinesiologist) who say the best way to do it. i personally agree and
find many of them very credible but is the article points out that
much of what one learns takes place in a gym and not by science. i
was wondering if there were respected scientists/trainers who agree
that the bar should be brought down to the chest.

The article completely neglects the fact that in competition you are
required to pause the bar on the chest regardless of your arm angle, etc.

I'm also surprised to learn that the bench "doesn't even work the
pectoral muscles that well, as they become too stretched out."


that was strange for me as well. isn't that the point to stretch out
the muscles at the lowest point in the exercise. maybe not?

The main problem I have with it is that it looks like the goal of the
article is to promote "safe" fitness type lifting, which is fine.
However, to then use competitive powerlifting as an example (or
bodybuilding) doesn't make sense. The goal of powerlifting isn't
"fitness", it' is moving the most weight in a contest.

While the wide grip does or may place a lot of stress on the
shoulders.... it also reduces the distance the bar must travel. That is
why most competitive lifters will use it.

It also neglects to mention that the competitive bench technique used by
many lifters today (elbows in, bar touching very low) is vastly
different than the wide grip, elbows out, bar to the middle of pecs
style used to hit the pecs by many.

So, whether or not you should bring the bar to your chest depends on
what you are doing - powerlifting = yes bodybuilding and trying to hit
the pecs = yes bodybuilding and trying to work the triceps = maybe.. but
probably not.


any other feeback is appreciated. this is a good discussion and one
of the most performed exercises in all of weight training. it seems
like Joe Weider or someone would have given his blessing to one way or
the other.
  #6  
Old September 16th 03, 06:15 AM
DanTheManHolt
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Proper bench press technique

This is some great information. After reading about looking at the roof I
repped 280 twice, where as my 1 rm was 265 the week before. But I don't know
if I did it all by myself, my spotter told me he was just tricking my mind into
thinking he was helping me but he says he didn't do anything.
__________________________________________________ _____
Profile
http://hometown.aol.com/danthemanhol...e/profile.html
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http://hometown.aol.com/danthemanhol...age/photo.html
  #7  
Old September 16th 03, 06:45 AM
August Pamplona
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Proper bench press technique

"Ted Theodoropoulos" wrote in message
om...
Jason Burnell wrote in message

gy.com...
"Proper technique" apparently depends on what your goals are. While

I
trusted the Mayo clinic with my mothers health care when she was

ill, I
am not sure that I'd take their advice on bench pressing.


i'm with ya on that one. the only problem is that the only response i
can give him is a bunch of links from body builders (not
kinesiologist) who say the best way to do it. i personally agree and
find many of them very credible but is the article points out that
much of what one learns takes place in a gym and not by science. i
was wondering if there were respected scientists/trainers who agree
that the bar should be brought down to the chest.

The article completely neglects the fact that in competition you are
required to pause the bar on the chest regardless of your arm angle,

etc.

I'm also surprised to learn that the bench "doesn't even work the
pectoral muscles that well, as they become too stretched out."


that was strange for me as well. isn't that the point to stretch out
the muscles at the lowest point in the exercise. maybe not?

The main problem I have with it is that it looks like the goal of

the
article is to promote "safe" fitness type lifting, which is fine.
However, to then use competitive powerlifting as an example (or
bodybuilding) doesn't make sense. The goal of powerlifting isn't
"fitness", it' is moving the most weight in a contest.

While the wide grip does or may place a lot of stress on the
shoulders.... it also reduces the distance the bar must travel. That

is
why most competitive lifters will use it.

It also neglects to mention that the competitive bench technique

used by
many lifters today (elbows in, bar touching very low) is vastly
different than the wide grip, elbows out, bar to the middle of pecs
style used to hit the pecs by many.

So, whether or not you should bring the bar to your chest depends on
what you are doing - powerlifting = yes bodybuilding and trying to

hit
the pecs = yes bodybuilding and trying to work the triceps = maybe..

but
probably not.


any other feeback is appreciated. this is a good discussion and one
of the most performed exercises in all of weight training. it seems
like Joe Weider or someone would have given his blessing to one way or
the other.


Chapter 2 on The Insiders Tell-All Handbook on Weight-Training
Technique might be helpful:
http://hardgainer.com/articles/insidersnumber1.html
http://hardgainer.com/articles/insidersnumber2.html
http://hardgainer.com/articles/insidersnumber2.html

August Pamplona
--
The waterfall in Java is not wet.
- omegazero2003 on m.f.w.

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To email replace 'necatoramericanusancylostomaduodenale' with
'cosmicaug'


  #8  
Old September 16th 03, 01:36 PM
Wayne S. Hill
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Proper bench press technique

EAVL Inc. wrote:

Bench v1.0

The Bench Press


snip article lifted without attribution from
http://www.bodybuildinguniverse.com/routine9.htm
  #9  
Old September 16th 03, 01:38 PM
Wayne S. Hill
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Proper bench press technique

DanTheManHolt wrote:

This is some great information. After reading about looking
at the roof I repped 280 twice, where as my 1 rm was 265 the
week before. But I don't know if I did it all by myself, my
spotter told me he was just tricking my mind into thinking
he was helping me but he says he didn't do anything.


Yeah, I've heard that one before. Last night, I was trying a
max set of 5, and have no idea whether I did it or not. My $%@#
spotter had his hands on the bar (even though I told him not to
touch the bar unless I told him to). "Oh, no, I didn't help.
That was all you."

--
-Wayne
  #10  
Old September 16th 03, 04:11 PM
spodosaurus
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Proper bench press technique

Wayne S. Hill wrote:
DanTheManHolt wrote:


This is some great information. After reading about looking
at the roof I repped 280 twice, where as my 1 rm was 265 the
week before. But I don't know if I did it all by myself, my
spotter told me he was just tricking my mind into thinking
he was helping me but he says he didn't do anything.



Yeah, I've heard that one before. Last night, I was trying a
max set of 5, and have no idea whether I did it or not. My $%@#
spotter had his hands on the bar (even though I told him not to
touch the bar unless I told him to). "Oh, no, I didn't help.
That was all you."


OMFG I HATE that ****!!!! Don't touch the bar means dont touch the
$#@%@^ bar!!!!




--

Are you registered as a bone marrow donor? You regenerate what you
donate. You are offered the chance to donate only if you match a person
on the recipient list. Visit www.marrow.org or call your local Red Cross
and ask about registering to be a bone marrow donor.

spam trap: replace shyah_right! with hotmail when replying

 




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