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The BENCH PRESS is USELESS!

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  • The BENCH PRESS is USELESS!

    I'm just wondering why we continue to use the flat bench other than to have an answer to the ubiquitous question..."hey bro... whats your bench?"

    If your answer is simply for bodybuilding, hypertrophy, or causer Rippetoe (and everyone else) says to then that is fine but just a couple of observations...

    From the standpoint of functional movement in the "wild human" I don't see many big pec hunter gatherers. When I think about their daily life I can't come up with any reason to do the bench. Seems like our exercise would be pull centric at least 2/1 with leg movements and some overhead press (carrying water or dead animals).

    Lastly I'm a bit jaded after rupturing my pec (an injury that happens almost exclusively doing bench press). I understand that its a choice and I don't HAVE to bench. I'm more wondering/hypothesizing that it is likely to produce imbalances in the shoulder and upper body and may be just hanging around cause its been made so popular.

    Oh, lastly.....as a football lineman or sumo wrestler or other sport specific exercise I may see the point. Just don't get it from an evolutionary standpoint.

  • #2
    How else do you get that big log, dead mammoth or pouncing tiger off your chest after they just knocked you on to your back side. ~
    04/23/2012 Max Weight : 448 lbs
    01/01/2014 Initial Weight : 428 lbs
    06/23/2015 Current weight : 288 lbs
    12/31/2015 Goal weight : 208 lbs

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    • #3
      Or you're in a fight (or playful wrestling match) with another human? Or you need to push a heavy rock or log out of the way?
      "Don't waste your time, or time will waste you."

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      • #4
        i totally agree that most peoples' lifting is way to focused on push exercises and remarkable light in the pull department. i'm not sure 2:1 is the exact ratio i'd look for, as i tend to keep the push/pull reps and sets about even.

        the "hey bro, whatcha bench?" mentality leads to terrible imbalances. tons of people are chest-dominant, and use terrible form on the press. this is a bad combination for shoulder health, posture, etc.

        to borrow from what you said about "not seeing too many big-pec hunter gatherers," well, you also don't see too many big-anything hunter-gatherers. they don't lift for hypertrophy and don't eat to excess. the bodies of hunter-gather tribes are perfectly suited to do their jobs as hunter-gatherers. and thats it. if they live in a region that involved lots of climbing, then they climb. if it involves running, then they run.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by skorpion317 View Post
          Or you're in a fight (or playful wrestling match) with another human? Or you need to push a heavy rock or log out of the way?
          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.

          I do like the scene in Batman when he asks him why the hell he does all those pushups every morning if he cant even lift a burning log off his chest.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by not on the rug View Post
            to borrow from what you said about "not seeing too many big-pec hunter gatherers," well, you also don't see too many big-anything hunter-gatherers. they don't lift for hypertrophy and don't eat to excess. the bodies of hunter-gather tribes are perfectly suited to do their jobs as hunter-gatherers. and thats it. if they live in a region that involved lots of climbing, then they climb. if it involves running, then they run.
            Yeah, good point.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by skorpion317 View Post
              Or you're in a fight (or playful wrestling match) with another human? Or you need to push a heavy rock or log out of the way?
              since most of the pushing we do would be from a standing position, without a bench supporting our back, i don't see how it translates.

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              • #8
                What about OHP? I like that one
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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Neckhammer View Post
                  I'm just wondering why we continue to use the flat bench other than to have an answer to the ubiquitous question..."hey bro... whats your bench?"

                  If your answer is simply for bodybuilding, hypertrophy, or causer Rippetoe (and everyone else) says to then that is fine but just a couple of observations...
                  it's heresy, but i hate the bench press. i do an overhead press and i do dips. lots of both. bench press completely kills my shoulders. i just don't like it, and i just don't do it. and i'm not a powerlifter, so who cares??

                  plus, i actually think over-developed pecs look kinda funky. not that i'm at risk for that yet, but just saying.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by jakey View Post
                    it's heresy, but i hate the bench press. i do an overhead press and i do dips. lots of both. bench press completely kills my shoulders. i just don't like it, and i just don't do it. and i'm not a powerlifter, so who cares??

                    plus, i actually think over-developed pecs look kinda funky. not that i'm at risk for that yet, but just saying.
                    do you do pushup variations? do they bother your shoulders?

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by not on the rug View Post
                      do you do pushup variations? do they bother your shoulders?
                      believe it or not, yes pushups bother my shoulders. i know - something is funky. it aint normal. upright rows and muscle ups bother them too.

                      but, and here's the weird part - military press and dips are no problem! go figure.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by jakey View Post
                        believe it or not, yes pushups bother my shoulders. i know - something is funky. it aint normal. upright rows and muscle ups bother them too.

                        but, and here's the weird part - military press and dips are no problem! go figure.
                        that is pretty weird actually. a lot of people have problems with heavy presses, but can do lighter ones or pushups with no problems. something is definitely funky.

                        i actually have a history of shoulder tendonitis when i start to go really heavy, so i never go below 6 reps for shoulder presses, and not below 4-5 on bench presses. that usually keeps me safe.

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                        • #13
                          I am not against bench pressing but it agreates my shoulder.
                          I do dips or pushups (getting closer to one armed ones). As paul wade pointed out in CC if you were to push a car or a rock your arms would be in a closer body position (more like a pushup up) than a bench press position. Not to mention if you were to move that rock you would be pushing with your legs.
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                          • #14
                            I think bench is bogus... I have a friend who can bench 300Kg+. But I bet you a weeks pay I can do more chin ups than he can.

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                            • #15
                              I can agree that the bench press doesn't do much for you. I stopped benching when I hurt my shoulder snowboarding this winter. I do a lot of push-ups, dips, and just about any other exercise (other than bench press) and I would say mt chest looks better now than when I was repping out bench press with 315 lbs. I think that the pull-ups and deadlifts along with OH Presses, wall balls, and KB swings have balanced out my back, shoulders, and posture thus develpoing the shape of my chest better. I think my pecs look wider and more defined now more than ever. I guess that is my two cents on that.
                              "Most men stop when they begin to tire. Good men go until they think they will collapse. But the VERY BEST men know that the mind tires before the body and push themselves beyond all limits. Only when all of these limits have been shattered can the unattainable be reached." ~Dan Gable

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