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Stop Using The Flat Bench

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Stop Using The Flat Bench

Post by MF! on Mon Jan 21, 2013 7:58 pm

The answer is a decline bench press — not the conventional decline you probably do every once in a while when you remember to add it to your routine, but a very slight decline bench press.

heres the link

http://www.t-nation.com/strength-training-topics/2257

What I'm thinking is maybe this guy has bad shoulders to begin with. To shout "no bench press!!" I think is a bit extreme. But, I'm thinking that this may be a good alternative for people that may have shoulder issues while benching.

thoughts?
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Re: Stop Using The Flat Bench

Post by Journeyman on Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:00 pm

Sounds like it could work. Slightly reduced rom + slightly increased pec involvement could definitely help with avoiding front delt pain.

I've got dodgy shoulders and long arms myself, but I haven't been having problems with the fairly high volume (light) benching I've been doing lately. Neutral, elbows tucked with dumbbells is fine, as is a close grip as long as I lower to my sternum, keep the upper back scrunched together, etc. I'm going to try inclines next.
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Re: Stop Using The Flat Bench

Post by Dave on Tue Jan 22, 2013 1:02 am

I've read a very interesting opinion (can't remember where) that said bench pressing on a bosu ball is an excellent alternative to benching on a fixed surface. The reasoning was that a fixed surface does not allow any movement of the scapula, but a bosu ball allows them to move dynamically according to the movement pattern, thus improving the comfort, shoulder safety and overall benefit of bench pressing.

I am certainly going to try this once I can afford to outfit my gym with all the tools I plan to acquire.
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Re: Stop Using The Flat Bench

Post by Journeyman on Tue Jan 22, 2013 1:47 am

I've seen it done, with dumbbells as well as barbells and some pretty impressive numbers too. Scaps shouldn't move when you bench, though, if you're using a barbell.
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Re: Stop Using The Flat Bench

Post by Dave on Tue Jan 22, 2013 1:50 am

I can't say that I agree. My shoulder blades dig into the bench (or snadbag right now) like crazy when I bench press, so I know they would move somewhat if I pressed from a ball. They WANT to move differently than they they are forced to do on a fixed bench.
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Re: Stop Using The Flat Bench

Post by Journeyman on Tue Jan 22, 2013 2:24 am

Your scaps should be pulled together and down as much as they possibly can be, and locked tight from before you unrack the bar. The scaps might shift in angle a bit but they aren't freely moving. Maybe it's just that my lats and rhomboids cover my bones pretty well, but I don't feel my shoulder blades 'digging in' unless I'm floor pressing, and even then it's a very minor annoyance... not sure what others' experiences are. Josh, Matt?
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Re: Stop Using The Flat Bench

Post by Iliander on Tue Jan 22, 2013 5:20 am

This slight decline will make the muscle recruitment more similar to that of a push-up. :up:
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Re: Stop Using The Flat Bench

Post by Journeyman on Tue Jan 22, 2013 2:30 pm

^ Somewhat, though on decline the angle stays constant throughout the movement, on the pushup it changes.
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Re: Stop Using The Flat Bench

Post by Iliander on Tue Jan 22, 2013 3:19 pm

Journeyman wrote:^ Somewhat, though on decline the angle stays constant throughout the movement, on the pushup it changes.
Yep. But I meant it's more similar to the "average angle" of the push-up. Maybe even exactly the same.
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Re: Stop Using The Flat Bench

Post by Josh T. on Tue Jan 22, 2013 9:28 pm

Regarding the BP...

Your shoulder blades should be locked in. You should have a pretty darn big arch too. My arch isn't too big because of flexibility and the camera angle, but it's there. Also, most of the weight of your upper back should be resting on your traps. If it's resting on your scapula Dave, you need to adjust your set-up. Hope that helps some.
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Re: Stop Using The Flat Bench

Post by Journeyman on Tue Jan 22, 2013 10:44 pm

I've actually never really tried benching with an arch; maybe because I just treat it as a 'press assistance exercise'. But that's a good point too, if you aren't actually lying on your shoulderblades you shouldn't have issues.
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Re: Stop Using The Flat Bench

Post by MF! on Tue Jan 22, 2013 10:46 pm

I'm on the same page with everyone else. Scap stability is pretty key with any push movement in the upper quadrant. We actually look at it as a sign of dysfunction if you arent able to stabilize your scaps through a pushing motion as in with push ups or in this case the bench press.

I'm not 100% on the large arch though. I've seen lifters do it, and personally I have some arch in my lift, but not nearly to the extent that I'm doing a bridge in my lift. Just a personal preference and also something I'll have to look more into at some point.
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Re: Stop Using The Flat Bench

Post by MF! on Tue Jan 22, 2013 10:46 pm

flat scaps on the bench is a no-no :grrr!:
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Re: Stop Using The Flat Bench

Post by Dave on Wed Jan 23, 2013 2:57 am

Maybe I should give you guys a video of my bench press set up, because I don't think I gave the right impression of how I do it. My scapula aren't actually digging into the bench. My muscles are. My scaps are digging into my muscles... A video will help me if there is a form issue though, and bench press is definitely the most likely candidate over any other lift of mine ti have a form issue I think.
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Re: Stop Using The Flat Bench

Post by MF! on Wed Jan 23, 2013 11:52 pm

just tried the decline today. I can actually see how it helps quite a bit if you're going the route of having a high arch in the pressing motion. The way I see it (i may be wrong because i dont have much experience with power bench press):

- provides a greater base of support since you aren't completely arching
- puts you in a position where the distance between the bar and the chest is shortened (one of the benefits of the high arch)
- less stress on the shoulder because of both points above and the fact that the direction of force isnt downwardly placed into a compromised/poorly supported shoulder position
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Re: Stop Using The Flat Bench

Post by Journeyman on Wed Jan 23, 2013 11:58 pm

I think you can use more weight, too, but I haven't tried it myself.
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