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The BENCH PRESS is USELESS!

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  • #16
    Most folks I've been around who rally against bench press are not good at it, to be frank. To the folks in the thread who say it is "useless" or "doesn't do much", you are being overly dramatic.

    Although you guys are correct in that it isn't essential, nor required, it can be used with great effectiveness as an anchor movement in a properly designed upper body split. Not many upper body movements involve as many muscle groups so there is a great bang for your buck value associated with the movement.

    Out of curiosity, do the folks who criticize bench press feel the same between barbell and dumbbell variations? How about incline versus flat?

    p.s. how much do you guys bench?
    http://stackingplates.com/

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    • #17
      Originally posted by StackingPlates View Post
      p.s. how much do you guys bench?
      SO AWESOME that you ended with that!

      Actually bench was always my "bench mark". I was quite strong at it (160lbs lifting 325 1RM at one point)...even after surgery to reattach my left pec tendon following that bad day at the gym.

      But, following that surgery and as I get stronger once again I'm wondering to myself "why"? I'm not a bodybuilder and there really is no functional precedent for building huge pecs. Legs and glutes? Sure....OH press, yup. Any pull maneuver....obviously. Bench press....huh? I'd say dips make more sense as does steep incline press than the flat bench.

      Listen, I know that when I benched it was likely a decade plus of improper form (the BB bench) that likely led to my ruptured tendon but that just started the thought process. Seems most people who have trouble with it also have shoulder issues like myself.

      That and Jakey.....two x-wrestlers. That sport is really rough on the shoulders.

      Last edit: The heading is a bit sensationalistic on purpose.
      Last edited by Neckhammer; 07-03-2012, 03:39 PM.

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      • #18
        Depends on who you are and what you're doing, pecs are required and fully functional for what I need.
        "Go For Broke"
        Fat Kine-230/24% @ 6'2"
        Small Kine-168/9%
        Now- 200/8%
        Goal- 210/6%

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        • #19
          Yeah, I've been reflecting on this a little recently and agree, so much emphasis on bench is overrated. I would also put too much work on 'guns'/biceps in the same category. Is this blasphemous? You tell me!
          All the best!

          PDJ

          The quieter you become the more you're able to hear.

          Mawlana Jalaludin Rumi

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          • #20
            Originally posted by Neckhammer View Post
            SO AWESOME that you ended with that!
            I did that just for you, ya know

            Well your post kind of supported what I was talking about. If you had a previous injury that could be potentially re-injured by the movement then I completely agree with your thought process in avoiding it as there are many other complimentary chest movements to take its place.

            As far as its function not making sense. Well, everything in context right? One could follow that same logic and make cases against just about every bodybuilding lift in existence. If it doesn't fit your goals then there is no harm in avoiding it...like I said earlier, I just feel it is one of the best "bang for your buck" movements as it hits so many distinct muscle groups. There is also no rule that mandates performing functional sets at near 1RM...lighter weights with deep range of motion can potentially be used as a great way to build up confidence in your tendon...
            http://stackingplates.com/

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            • #21
              Originally posted by pdjesson View Post
              Yeah, I've been reflecting on this a little recently and agree, so much emphasis on bench is overrated. I would also put too much work on 'guns'/biceps in the same category. Is this blasphemous? You tell me!
              Putting bench press and bicep isolation movements in the same category is a bit ridiculous. Bicep hypertrophy can be stimulated to a great degree with weighted pull-ups among other things. Most folks don't have any need to isolate biceps until they are very far along in their training experience.
              http://stackingplates.com/

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              • #22
                Originally posted by StackingPlates View Post
                Putting bench press and bicep isolation movements in the same category is a bit ridiculous. Bicep hypertrophy can be stimulated to a great degree with weighted pull-ups among other things. Most folks don't have any need to isolate biceps until they are very far along in their training experience.
                Sorry, I'm specifically referring to the the focus on biceps through variations of curls, like many regular gym users, who aren't body-builders, do. I also get the feeling that there are many people who work these muscles (chest & biceps) thinking it makes them hard...
                All the best!

                PDJ

                The quieter you become the more you're able to hear.

                Mawlana Jalaludin Rumi

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                • #23
                  In that case...yes, those folks are basically wasting their life.
                  http://stackingplates.com/

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by StackingPlates View Post
                    Well, everything in context right? One could follow that same logic and make cases against just about every bodybuilding lift in existence.
                    You see....this is the part I disagree with, at least in regards to the compound movements. I actually can NOT logically make the same case against squats, dead lifts, OH press, Pull ups, or rows. I wouldn't even try. Otherwise this would be a non-issue where you could just say..."look you lay on your back and push a bunch of weight straight off your chest every day as a part of life right?". Can't quite use that quote though can we? Doesn't roll of the tongue like "Do you squat to sit?"

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                    • #25
                      But do you typically put a big amount of weight on your shoulders before you sit in daily activities? I think where our disconnect may reside is at the practical application of the movement. I'm not really into arguing how realistic the movement applies to real life scenarios.

                      Your injury would be good enough to make a case against heavy chest pressing movements. Similarly, if you blew out your knee then I'd feel that sprints may be something you'd want to proceed cautiously with.

                      I'm valuing chest presses in their ability to cause upper body hypertrophy. The fact that your dramatic thread title calls them useless is what got me to comment in the first place.
                      http://stackingplates.com/

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by StackingPlates View Post
                        But do you typically put a big amount of weight on your shoulders before you sit in daily activities? I think where our disconnect may reside is at the practical application of the movement. I'm not really into arguing how realistic the movement applies to real life scenarios.
                        Squatting is also the same movement used for jumping and I'm quite sure many of us jump regularly. Yes, jumping is a power based movement but strength is half of the power equation. So heavy squats = useful.
                        If a log heavy enough to require a 300lbs bench press falls on you then you're probably already dead. At the very least you would be in no shape to lift anything at that point.
                        In all of the universe there is only one person with your exact charateristics. Just like there is only one person with everybody else's characteristics. Effectively, your uniqueness makes you pretty average.

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                        • #27
                          The bench is popular because it's an official powerlifting move, the only upper body one, and the one that builds big arms and pecs, which have become popularized due to bodybuilding (and being highly visible muscles). Nobody is really making a 'functional' argument for the bench press that I can see. Even Rip says that properly weighted pushups may be a better exercise, but 'you are going to bench anyhow, so bench it is'. I'm just getting my bench past bodyweight, it's probably my strongest lift, so I hate to hate on it, but it is clearly the least "functional" of the big lifts.
                          If you are new to the PB - please ignore ALL of this stuff, until you've read the book, or at least http://www.marksdailyapple.com/primal-blueprint-101/ and this (personal fave): http://www.archevore.com/get-started/

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Neckhammer View Post
                            lol...well being a wrestler for 16 years I can say that big chest muscles in my opponent never gave me pause. Your grip, how you use your hips, and pull strength are far more important. Chest...meh, good for showing off at the gym.
                            Being a wrestler for 14 years, I can think of a few situations where you'd need a specific bench press-type movement:

                            1. You get taken down by your opponent, and need to push up to recover your base.
                            2. Preventing your opponent from breaking your base down.
                            3. Tying up with your opponent - I like to push them around a bit to get them to come back at me, setting up a throw or a shot.
                            4. Blocking a shot (if you don't sprawl).
                            "Don't waste your time, or time will waste you."

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by tfarny View Post
                              The bench is popular because it's an official powerlifting move, the only upper body one, and the one that builds big arms and pecs, which have become popularized due to bodybuilding (and being highly visible muscles). Nobody is really making a 'functional' argument for the bench press that I can see. Even Rip says that properly weighted pushups may be a better exercise, but 'you are going to bench anyhow, so bench it is'. I'm just getting my bench past bodyweight, it's probably my strongest lift, so I hate to hate on it, but it is clearly the least "functional" of the big lifts.
                              Yup, and it replaced the (true) press because of how much of a pain strict press is to judge, and also due to BB influence.
                              Lifting Journal

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                              • #30
                                You ever had sex with a really heavy person? Like REALLY heavy. Like turn sideways to fit through a garage door heavy. Then that person passes out on top of you after dripping sweat in your face for an hour. Unless you can successfully press them off of you you'll most likely die of fat fold induced asphyxiation. Thus, bench press saves lives, dudes.
                                I've got of one them journal thingies. One Night At McCool's

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