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Thread: Replacing bench with Flies page

  1. #1
    misterbulgarin's Avatar
    misterbulgarin is offline Junior Member
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    Replacing bench with Flies

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    I do Stronglifts 5x5 (3x5 really, to cut time down). Ive done it for ages. I had a break from weight trainin last winter and started again in feb, only now am I back to heavy workweights, or more or less there!

    I've always been weak on my bench: development wise my chest looks poor, unworked. I think my max bench was 70k (with poor form, see flared elbows :| ) , Since ive been back at weights, My workweight was 57-60k and it was really hard. I studied form and I just couldnt get it down, I felt like my arms were givin out before my chest, my chest didnt feel like it was getting hit.

    Someone suggested I do Flies. So I tried flies on my last workout and it felt good, feels good to be doing something different too in regards to the chest. So I'll see how it goes from here on in. Im also doing pressups at the end of the bench workouts.

    and i ALSO do minor Shovelglove work almost every day (doesnt affect recovery much)

    Anyone else had troubles with benching?

  2. #2
    rockstareddy's Avatar
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    I had trouble getting results on chest too, partly cos I am naturally quite skinny. I noticed some improvement when i spread my 5X5 over 3 different inclines (using free weight dumbells), so it became 2X5 on three different inclines (total 6X5).

    But I am also considering seeing if flies give better results. Not sure whether to mix them in or cut out press completely?

  3. #3
    Fury22's Avatar
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    Replacing heavy compound movements with an isolation lift for better overall development?

    Good idea.
    Check out my blog!

    http://easternstrength.blogspot.com/

    I like to throw, squat and pull heavy things for fun.

    We're designed to be hunters and we're in a society of shopping. There's nothing to kill anymore, there's nothing to fight, nothing to overcome, nothing to explore. In that societal emasculation this everyman is created. ~David Fincher, director of Fight Club, interview with Gavin Smith, "Inside Out," Film Comment, Sep/Oct 1999

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fury22 View Post
    Replacing heavy compound movements with an isolation lift for better overall development?

    Good idea.
    Haha, blunt but true.

    I don't quite buy into BBS. To be honest, I haven't spent much time researching it but I can't quite hop on board with a philosophy that encourages the use of machines over free weights. I understand the reasoning behind it, safety, but exercise has its risks and if we learn to minimize those through practice and slow progression than I think they're reasonable. In my opinion, genuine, functional, applicable size and strength can only be gained by squatting, deadlifting, and pressing...HEAVY (relatively)! Now, that's not to say that getting out in a park and doing chin-ups and bear crawls and what have you doesn't have its place, because it does (!), but if you're interested in getting stronger, stronger than your typical caveman, then you'd best start branching out from BBS. Again, I'm coming from a position of ignorance, this opinion is based entirely off of skimming BBS and comparing my own levels of strength and size to those of you who have employed its methods.
    I began this Primal journey on December 30th, 2009 and in that time I've lost over 125 LBS.

  5. #5
    Fury22's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jokaman70 View Post
    Haha, blunt but true.

    I don't quite buy into BBS. To be honest, I haven't spent much time researching it but I can't quite hop on board with a philosophy that encourages the use of machines over free weights. I understand the reasoning behind it, safety, but exercise has its risks and if we learn to minimize those through practice and slow progression than I think they're reasonable. In my opinion, genuine, functional, applicable size and strength can only be gained by squatting, deadlifting, and pressing...HEAVY (relatively)! Now, that's not to say that getting out in a park and doing chin-ups and bear crawls and what have you doesn't have its place, because it does (!), but if you're interested in getting stronger, stronger than your typical caveman, then you'd best start branching out from BBS. Again, I'm coming from a position of ignorance, this opinion is based entirely off of skimming BBS and comparing my own levels of strength and size to those of you who have employed its methods.
    Agreed. And yeah, I don't know how else to put it. It's like saying I'll replace deadlifts with hyperextensions or squats with leg extensions. He can do what he wants, I don't care. But this is a common theme on all kinds of training forums: "Can I replace squats with leg presses b/c I don't feel it" -- Translation "I'm weak and lazy".

    **I use leg presses here just because the vast majority of people use even less ROM than they do on squats and make the exercises essentially pointless. Leg presses can be a great supplementary lift, no hate on leg presses. But most people move like maybe an inch, plus they are reclined and sitting, which makes them more comfortable and they usually don't work as hard.

    To the 2nd poster, splitting up the 5x5 isn't a bad idea. I've seen that done a good bit with 5x5-type routines using sets across (Bench Press 3x5, Incline 2x5 = 5 sets x 5 reps = 25 reps total). Instead of doing 6x5 like you are, you could use the 6th set as a rep out of back off set. Like a set of 12-15 dips. That way you've got your 5x5 on compounds (horizontal plane) then a rep-out or back off set of Dips (Vertical plane), so here you get both planes of movement. Just a suggestion, Chad Waterbury-esque.

    To Jokaman: Agreed. I don't buy into it for the simple fact that it's optimal. Maybe it's fine for the extreme minimalist, but otherwise it's not optimal for strength and overall fitness. Plus machines are not, have never been and never will be comparable or equal to the benefits of free weights. I have said it a multiple times but there is a reason why athletes and trainers around the world do not rely on machines or any HIT methods: because they don't work for optimal strength and development of athletic ability.

    On the flip side, BBS doesn't seem to be as dogmatic or cult-like compared to HIT. HIT really isn't optimal either, and to make it worse the HIT-cult just adds to the problem by blindly following everything Mentzer said and taking it as gospel while parroting it everywhere they can. This is why DC separated himself from HIT (not that he ever was associated with it by choice; a lot of people began to label it as high frequency HIT which he was quick to dispel). So in this sense at least the BBS guys are realistic about BBS and do not have a God complex about it being the best training system in world history, because it's not.

    For people who want to try it, give it run. That's fine, not trying to make decisions for people. I just don't think it's something that you should work with forever or even a very long time.
    Check out my blog!

    http://easternstrength.blogspot.com/

    I like to throw, squat and pull heavy things for fun.

    We're designed to be hunters and we're in a society of shopping. There's nothing to kill anymore, there's nothing to fight, nothing to overcome, nothing to explore. In that societal emasculation this everyman is created. ~David Fincher, director of Fight Club, interview with Gavin Smith, "Inside Out," Film Comment, Sep/Oct 1999

  6. #6
    EGYnutrition's Avatar
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    Haven't done the bench in years. I think it's a worthless movement as far as the Risk:Benefit ratio goes unless you're a powerlifter. Cable Chest press, much more functional, and much more development with less injury.

    Sitting/laying-down in my workouts is near never unless Im rowing, but even with the people I work with, they barely do any sitting or laying down. Just impedes the postural system.

    In Pursuit of Healthiness, Only to Achieve Happiness!: www.livingnotsurviving.com

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    Vick's Avatar
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    What BBS did for me as a guy in his mid 50's and had "forgotten" to keep himself in shape... was it got me started. I don't think I would have bought into the three days a week for an 1 hour visit. I still don't want to go to the gym three times a week.

    I've seen results. Losing weight, blood pressure slowly coming down and I'm getting stronger.

    What I think I want to add to this is a couple days a week of shovelglove and more walking. For me that translates into a muscle building program that is followed with a program that will help me get stronger with a closer to real life simulation or applications.

    Does that concept make sense to you guys or do you think I'm missing something?

  8. #8
    primalclubber's Avatar
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    @EGY - I also stopped doing anything lifting sitting or lying down a couple of years ago, and I haven't done any type of benching in years. Push presses or weighted dips are the only things I would do to stimulate that area.

    @Vick - Being only a few years behind, I can appreciate your goals for functional strength and fitness. I think shovelglove is a smart thing to add, and you might throw in a few sprints once a week. I spent nearly 10 years working out in gyms so it was easier to walk away and do my own thing (kettlebells, mace, clubs), so you might want to stick with gym-based regimen for awhile.

  9. #9
    Fury22's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vick View Post
    What BBS did for me as a guy in his mid 50's and had "forgotten" to keep himself in shape... was it got me started. I don't think I would have bought into the three days a week for an 1 hour visit. I still don't want to go to the gym three times a week.

    I've seen results. Losing weight, blood pressure slowly coming down and I'm getting stronger.

    What I think I want to add to this is a couple days a week of shovelglove and more walking. For me that translates into a muscle building program that is followed with a program that will help me get stronger with a closer to real life simulation or applications.

    Does that concept make sense to you guys or do you think I'm missing something?
    If BBS got you started that's great!

    The health benefits are much more attributed to your diet and lifestyle though. Blood pressure, weight loss, etc, that's all diet. Exercise plays a role as far as accelerating the process and obviously increasing muscle mass, but body composition and health are all diet.

    In regards to training, I think it's great that BBS got you started but I don't think it's really optimal in the long run. I can understand not wanting to spend a lot of time in the gym, but there are more effective ways to use your time. If I was going to reduce my time in the gym (assuming I wasn't Weightlifting) I would narrow my exercise selection down to a precious few as such:

    Squat
    Deadlift
    Push Press
    Pendlay Row
    Pull-up
    Dip

    You could make routines with just 2 or 3 of these. Supersets, tri-sets, even doing something like supersets of Pulls and Presses ending with a 20 rep squat. You could do this stuff in 15-30 minutes depending how much or how long you wanted to train.

    In regards to "functional" or "real world" training, that's what those movements are. The squat is a "real world" movement. Speaking primally these are natural, "real world" movements. The squat is one of the most basic, natural human movements. We have jjust been conditioned against it our whole lives through always sitting in chairs and being told it's bad on your knees/back/etc. I guarantee you that when you were an infant and small child, you picked things up by descending into a full squat and standing back up. People in less sedentary cultures have no problem with this, but in the West especially we can't do it well because we grow up in a society where basic movments and tendencies are conditioned against in favor or more comfortable positions.

    Example: The leg press will never, ever compare to doing a squat. Never. The position is not real and the range of motion is not real. We do not move things in exactly straight lines. You have to balance things as they wobble and move through your ROM, which is not straight.

    In weightlifting, the unrealistic ideal is to snatch or clean the bar in an exactly straight line, but this never happens. You try to reduce the loop and keep the bar as straight as possible, but the bar path will never be straight. This is why I have an open grudge against any system or routine that relies heavily on machines. I do think that they have their use, but not as the foundation for strength.

    A routine based off these compound movements with Shovelglove/kettlebell/whatever would be great. I do a good bit of kettlebell work and sled pushing/dragging and occasionally tire flipping for conditioning and overall functional strength.
    Check out my blog!

    http://easternstrength.blogspot.com/

    I like to throw, squat and pull heavy things for fun.

    We're designed to be hunters and we're in a society of shopping. There's nothing to kill anymore, there's nothing to fight, nothing to overcome, nothing to explore. In that societal emasculation this everyman is created. ~David Fincher, director of Fight Club, interview with Gavin Smith, "Inside Out," Film Comment, Sep/Oct 1999

  10. #10
    mstrudle's Avatar
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    I had bench press problems until someone more knowledgeable told me I was doing it with too much triceps emphasis. Instead of targetting the chest more, my arms were spread out to about shoulder length, like a pushup. Once I widened my grip the problems disappeared.

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