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Don't Do Bench Dips

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Re: Don't Do Bench Dips

Post by Fatman on Wed May 15, 2013 4:34 pm

Don't do bench dips. Almost everyone I know who has devoted a lot of time to this exercise has messed up shoulders. Not really a surprise, since it places the shoulders in an extremely unfavorable position and then loads them (some even use extra weight on this exercise).

It's not worth the danger either: bodybuilders don't do this exercise, and neither do powerlifters.
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Re: Don't Do Bench Dips

Post by Iliander on Wed May 15, 2013 4:38 pm

Fatman wrote:Don't do bench dips. Almost everyone I know who has devoted a lot of time to this exercise has messed up shoulders. Not really a surprise, since it places the shoulders in an extremely unfavorable position and then loads them (some even use extra weight on this exercise).

It's not worth the danger either: bodybuilders don't do this exercise, and neither do powerlifters.
I dunno about this... that would mean korean dips mess up your shoulders as well.
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Re: Don't Do Bench Dips

Post by Dave on Wed May 15, 2013 4:43 pm

Where is the video of that ridiculous meathead doing a bench dips with a stack of 45s?
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Re: Don't Do Bench Dips

Post by Fatman on Wed May 15, 2013 4:49 pm

Iliander wrote:I dunno about this... that would mean korean dips mess up your shoulders as well.

Those also seem like a really bad idea.

Maybe gymnasts need to do them for shoulder flexibility or whatnot, but someone looking for strong (and healthy) arms/shoulders would be better off doing some saner BW or barbell/dumbbell exercise. No unique benefit + big chance of messing yourself up = no thanks.

Dave.cyco wrote:Where is the video of that ridiculous meathead doing a bench dips with a stack of 45s?

Does he get buried in the end? Never seen that, but I saw a clip of an even more ridiculous meathead doing "situps" with, like, 8 45s stacked on his stomach.
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Re: Don't Do Bench Dips

Post by Iliander on Wed May 15, 2013 4:53 pm

Fatman wrote:Those also seem like a really bad idea.

Maybe gymnasts need to do them for shoulder flexibility or whatnot, but someone looking for strong (and healthy) arms/shoulders would be better off doing some saner BW or barbell/dumbbell exercise. No unique benefit + big chance of messing yourself up = no thanks.
They don't require that much flexibility. And gymnasts do them mainly for the strength benefit. If I haven't done them in a while and do let's say 10 sets of korean dips my shoulders will hurt like crap the next day. But after that it's over and my shoulders adapted to the flexibility. I don't see what's unhealthy about flexibility tbh. It's doing these type of exercises early on that will guarantee injury free joints.
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Re: Don't Do Bench Dips

Post by Dave on Wed May 15, 2013 4:56 pm

Fatman wrote:
Dave.cyco wrote:Where is the video of that ridiculous meathead doing a bench dips with a stack of 45s?

Does he get buried in the end? Never seen that, but I saw a clip of an even more ridiculous meathead doing "situps" with, like, 8 45s stacked on his stomach.

He gets the rep(s?) but looks like his legs should have snapped in half at the knee.
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Re: Don't Do Bench Dips

Post by Fatman on Wed May 15, 2013 5:04 pm

Iliander wrote:I don't see what's unhealthy about flexibility tbh. It's doing these type of exercises early on that will guarantee injury free joints.

Flexibility is awesome. Loading a muscle at full stretch (weakest position) - not so awesome. This is exactly how bench pressers tear pec muscles and deadlifters tear biceps. It has nothing to do with flexibility or lack thereof.

The average gymnast weighs around 125 lbs and trains advanced strength movements for competitive purposes, not to 'be stronger'. There is no exercise to guarantee injury free joints, and shoulder surgery will set your training back months, perhaps years.
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Re: Don't Do Bench Dips

Post by Dave on Wed May 15, 2013 5:06 pm

Fatman wrote:Flexibility is awesome. Loading a muscle at full stretch (weakest position) - not so awesome.

x 2 :^:


The average gymnast weighs around 125 lbs and trains advanced strength movements for competitive purposes, not to 'be stronger'. There is no exercise to guarantee injury free joints, and shoulder surgery will set your training back years, perhaps months if you're incredibly lucky.

Fixed it!
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Re: Don't Do Bench Dips

Post by itlives on Wed May 15, 2013 5:12 pm

Iliander wrote: If I haven't done them in a while and do let's say 10 sets of korean dips my shoulders will hurt like crap the next day.

That's the beginning. It gets no better and it's your body telling you to stop- trust me.
That is not the "muscle hurt" you're looking for when you workout.
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Re: Don't Do Bench Dips

Post by Iliander on Wed May 15, 2013 5:12 pm

Fatman wrote:Flexibility is awesome. Loading a muscle at full stretch (weakest position) - not so awesome. This is exactly how bench pressers tear pec muscles and deadlifters tear biceps. It has nothing to do with flexibility or lack thereof.

The average gymnast weighs around 125 lbs and trains advanced strength movements for competitive purposes, not to 'be stronger'. There is no exercise to guarantee injury free joints, and shoulder surgery will set your training back months, perhaps years.
Hm, training a muscle at full stretch is exactly what will make it harder and therefore a more beneficial exercise in terms of strength gain. Especially in terms of bodyweight training you wanna do it the hardest way possible. When using careful and realistic ways of progression I see no reason for why it would be beneficial to put more stress on the muscles and joints. I know that there is no exercise that will guarantee injury free joints, I didn't say that, but this type of exercise with your own bodyweight does a good job at strengthening the joints which will decrease risk of injury. Something severe that requires a shoulder SURGERY won't be gained from doing korean dips man.
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Re: Don't Do Bench Dips

Post by Iliander on Wed May 15, 2013 5:14 pm

itlives wrote:That's the beginning. It gets no better and it's your body telling you to stop- trust me.
That is not the "muscle hurt" you're looking for when you workout.
I disagree. For example everyone who starts practicing muscle-ups and can't do them properly yet so they do them with one elbow over first, gets pain in that shoulder. I had that as well when I was trying to do muscle-ups in 2012. It's not a big deal, you get used to it quickly.

I'm talking about pain that goes away and is a sign of your body adapting. Not something that lasts and disables you to do things.
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Re: Don't Do Bench Dips

Post by Dave on Wed May 15, 2013 5:16 pm

Let's keep it in context though. We're talking about overloading a muscle at the end ROM and in a mechanically awkward position (as bench dips most certainly are).
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Don't Do Bench Dips

Post by Journeyman on Wed May 15, 2013 7:23 pm

Since 'the end range' is different for different people (look how hard it is for many to work up to a full atg squat) I think it's safe to say that progression is the rule here. And, most advanced gymnastics movements don't actually involve some sort of huge stretch beyond the joints' natural ROM, at least not that I've seen.

Dave, here's the bench dip video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LYcSov2W-Oc

Steve rau is a very strong armwrestler, national level but gets thrashed in international competition (I think).
Also, you might want to crop this convo to a new thread, haha.
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Re: Don't Do Bench Dips

Post by Dave on Wed May 15, 2013 10:55 pm

Yeah good call Jman

Journeyman wrote:Dave, here's the bench dip video:

That's ridiculous and surely is more of an ego lift than any kind of useful one.
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Re: Don't Do Bench Dips

Post by Fatman on Thu May 16, 2013 12:17 pm

Actually this is a great video to illustrate my point. The tricep gets some involvement and moves through about 3/4 of the range of motion. The front shoulder, on the other hand, is stretched into a biomechanically unsound position and a heavy load placed on it (bodyweight plus external).

So shoulder doesn't do any useful work, but is stretched and strained, and the triceps doesn't even get loaded much by the time you account for the position of the weight and leverage. And just imagine what would happen if his hand slipped.

Also one's arms should not be visibly bigger than one's legs. Just thought I'd say that.
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Re: Don't Do Bench Dips

Post by Journeyman on Thu May 16, 2013 2:24 pm

I really don't think that any exercise should be completely nixed as a matter of course. He's pretty successful, so, ego lift or not, it's obviously working for him.

Fatman wrote:

Also one's arms should not be visibly bigger than one's legs. Just thought I'd say that.

Again, armwrestler--and he is quite strong where he has to be:





I hadn't actually watched this before--


The guy he beats at 1.10 is rob vigeant, whose strict curl and OAC videos I've posted up at some point.
Anyway, I think that what fatman is saying about bench dips lines up with cautionary words I've heard before at they definitely make sense. However, whatever rau is doing certainly works for him, and he doesn't have wrecked shoulders despite going a bit overboard in terms of weight, so... yeah.
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Re: Don't Do Bench Dips

Post by Dave on Thu May 16, 2013 4:11 pm

Dollars to donuts he doesn't regularly train that way.

Fatman wrote:Actually this is a great video to illustrate my point. The tricep gets some involvement and moves through about 3/4 of the range of motion. The front shoulder, on the other hand, is stretched into a biomechanically unsound position and a heavy load placed on it (bodyweight plus external).

So shoulder doesn't do any useful work, but is stretched and strained, and the triceps doesn't even get loaded much by the time you account for the position of the weight and leverage. And just imagine what would happen if his hand slipped.

Also one's arms should not be visibly bigger than one's legs. Just thought I'd say that.

And yet go look at the youtube comments and it's all oohs and aahs. :facepalm:
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Re: Don't Do Bench Dips

Post by Journeyman on Thu May 16, 2013 4:26 pm

Pretty sure anyone who can do that does it regularly or has for at least a while. I did some digging on AW boards and such but couldn't find out whether they're a staple in his training or not. A lot of armwrestling training involves ridiculously overweighted partial movements or static holds in weird positions, though, and that actually looks like something an armwrestler would do, so I'm inclined to think that he's worked on them a decent amount.

As for youtube comments--let's not get all high and mighty here. That, along with his other lifts, is tremendously impressive. It's at least equal to a 200lb full range parallel bar dip, I'd say, maybe a bit more. It's tough to tell because I haven't seen many people load up on bench dips. I do know that matt kroc is a big fan of repping out on bench dips with 2-3 hundred-pound plates on either 'bench' or 'arms' day. Now, he's not the best example of pain and injury-free training, himself, but it's clear that bench dips can definitely work for some people. I know of at least one other very successful bodybuilder who swears by them (bench dips) as tricep/shoulder work... though he does tremendously high reps with slow tempo, bodyweight only, as a finisher.

Anyway, loading up 45s on your stomach on a situp, or using way too much weight on cheated shrugs or calf raises or whatever, can also seem kinda stupid. I guess that situps are the best example because using that much weight can probably pose some risks as well. I know of a few guys who've gotten great results from absurdly weighted situps for all rep ranges as well. And I'm sure that it doesn't for others... but again, if it works for you why not do it? And for the rest of us, there's no need to sh!t on it if whoever's doing it is successful and happy doing... whatever it is.
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Re: Don't Do Bench Dips

Post by Dave on Thu May 16, 2013 4:38 pm

Points taken. I guess my bias is, and has been for as long as I can remember, towards full ROM compound movements, such that I would be much more impressed by a plus two or three hundred pound parallel bar dip than the Razor dips above, if for no other reason than that they're just way more efficient, in my opinion anyway.

I have done bench dips a few times myself, to be honest, but they never end up being something I cycle or stick with, so there's that too.
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Re: Don't Do Bench Dips

Post by Fatman on Fri May 17, 2013 1:44 pm

Dave.cyco wrote:Points taken. I guess my bias is, and has been for as long as I can remember, towards full ROM compound movements

I don't have a bias toward either full range or compound movements and believe you should tailor every exercise to suit your personal needs.

My problem with bench dips is not the ROM of the triceps, but the severely compromised position of the front delts. You could get all the benefits he is getting from the bench dips from doing partial bench presses (from a safer, 'packed' position for the shoulders), or even from the incline extensions the guy in the video is also doing.

Now I'm not saying anything against this guy, he is obviously a great athlete in his chosen sport and his training works for him and more power to him. And maybe he'll keep doing these for 30 more years and never get a twinge of injury and progress to 1,000 lbs. But if you can hit the triceps (somewhat) safely by doing extensions with 155 lbs., why risk your shoulders bench dipping with 700+?
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Re: Don't Do Bench Dips

Post by Journeyman on Fri May 17, 2013 6:11 pm

^ My thoughts are, basically, identical. Especially on the latter point about productive exercise choice. But again, I'm just saying that I'll hold off on judgements in this case. If he'd wrecked his shoulders and couldn't do anything other than heavy partial bench dips I'd be first in line when criticizing the guy.
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Re: Don't Do Bench Dips

Post by trainingforlife on Fri May 17, 2013 7:05 pm

On all dips you are loading the shoulder up the only difference really is the body position.
Examples:
Bench dips lower torso is out front(feet straight out)
Parella dips lower torso is under(feet straight down)
(dont know the name)Then there is the kinda dips you see on Bar-Stars and other video where the lower torso is behind you.(feet out back) Either way the shoulders are loaded or in extension (eccentric) and the triceps are @ 90 degres and loaded up and waiting to be flexed (contraction) as well. The only movement I would call safe is a close grip bench. Not hands together but maybe 6-8 inch apart. This would allow a more natural movement in the loading phase. The elbows would be able to relax in the down postion or as the flair outwards (closest to chest) and at full extension the triceps would have a great contraction. It would allow a full ROM and will be optimally safe. I think people get injured due to lack of flexibility,ego and stupidity.

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Re: Don't Do Bench Dips

Post by trainingforlife on Fri May 17, 2013 7:12 pm

As for the 700+LBs on the dips. It was not a full range of motion and its more of a hey look at me kinda thing. I didn't see any real benefit to the movement in that fashion.

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Re: Don't Do Bench Dips

Post by Journeyman on Fri May 17, 2013 7:58 pm

Dips seem pretty individual. Some people get a bunch of pain and don't see much carryover to other exercises, others get tremendous benefits. Personally it seems to depend on how long I keep them in rotation and how seriously I go after total weight used.

trainingforlife wrote:I didn't see

But he's clearly getting enough of a benefit to keep using them. The video itself, I'm sure, was for ego boost, but he wouldn't be using the exercise itself if it weren't useful to him or if it damaged him in any way... armwrestlers obsess over shoulder health.
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Re: Don't Do Bench Dips

Post by trainingforlife on Fri May 17, 2013 8:16 pm

But he's clearly getting enough of a benefit to keep using them- What benefit was there? He was not even strong enough to achieve full range of motion,so what was the point?

I guess all this was beneficial for them too... :lol!: :lol!:


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Re: Don't Do Bench Dips

Post by Journeyman on Fri May 17, 2013 8:24 pm

Again--if he was only good at partial bench dips I'd say that was ridiculous. But as a top-level competitive armwrestler (and the competition level is VERY deep in armwrestling) he must find some use for them or he wouldn't have worked up to that level--and as I noted before, armwrestlers are fond of overweighted partials from various angles. He's also quite strong at other lifts, so he's not just a one-trick pony as many 'heavy partials' obsessed guys are.
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Re: Don't Do Bench Dips

Post by trainingforlife on Fri May 17, 2013 8:38 pm

Journeyman wrote:Again--if he was only good at partial bench dips I'd say that was ridiculous. But as a top-level competitive armwrestler (and the competition level is VERY deep in armwrestling) he must find some use for them or he wouldn't have worked up to that level--and as I noted before, armwrestlers are fond of overweighted partials from various angles. He's also quite strong at other lifts, so he's not just a one-trick pony as many 'heavy partials' obsessed guys are.

So because he is a pro at something its ok for him to to a 1/4 rep and an ego lift, but not okay if your a avg. joe? Sounds like a double standard to me!!

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Re: Don't Do Bench Dips

Post by Journeyman on Fri May 17, 2013 9:44 pm

Yep. Same as I think that heaved, cheated rows with huge leg drive are nothing but a potentially damaging ego lift for the average gym goer. However, ed coan found them invaluable in building his deadlift, and of course I'm not going to judge him. Basically, I'm of the 'whatever works for you' school of thought, if 'you' have accomplishments to speak of. If you don't, you're just being dumb in the vast majority of cases.
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Re: Don't Do Bench Dips

Post by Dave on Fri May 17, 2013 11:27 pm

Good answer.
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Re: Don't Do Bench Dips

Post by Bissen on Sat May 18, 2013 9:06 am

I know I'll seem biased, but coach Sommer uses Korean dips, and his athletes have no messed up shoulders.

The problem, I believe, is that people don't have the required skills to perform it correctly. They may be strong, but their joints and ligaments are underdeveloped.
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Re: Don't Do Bench Dips

Post by Iliander on Sat May 18, 2013 9:14 am

Bissen wrote:I know I'll seem biased, but coach Sommer uses Korean dips, and his athletes have no messed up shoulders.

The problem, I believe, is that people don't have the required skills to perform it correctly. They may be strong, but their joints and ligaments are underdeveloped.
Of course. Korean dips won't mess up your shoulders when used properly. I actually consider it to be a fantastic total (upper) body movement, when done with an underhand grip especially. If you still suck at korean dips, working on them will most definitely increase dipping strength.
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Re: Don't Do Bench Dips

Post by Dave on Sat May 18, 2013 10:58 am

Doing bench press won't mess up your shoulders, squats won't mess up your knees and back, deadlifts won't make your head explode, etc, when used properly.

Same with weighted bench dips... except that for me weighted bench dips properly is not at all... for now... :toothy:

I would, however, try Korean dips if I had a convenient place to do them. I like how your body can rotate back to keep your shoulders from grinding.
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Re: Don't Do Bench Dips

Post by Dominator350 on Thu Aug 22, 2013 12:07 pm

I stay away from dips. Always have, always will. I feel the same strength building from doing L-sits, without the terrible angles on your shoulders.

I'm kinda stubborn though. I swear by the diamond pushup for tricep strength. By all means, do your thing.

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Re: Don't Do Bench Dips

Post by Iliander on Thu Aug 22, 2013 1:20 pm

Dominator350 wrote:I stay away from dips. Always have, always will. I feel the same strength building from doing L-sits, without the terrible angles on your shoulders.

I'm kinda stubborn though. I swear by the diamond pushup for tricep strength. By all means, do your thing.
L-sits?

I don't think L-sits will give you similar results.

I love diamond push-ups. Imo one of THE best overall pressing exercises, especially decline ones.

Nothing gave me so much overall upper body mass as weighted dips though.
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Re: Don't Do Bench Dips

Post by Dominator350 on Thu Aug 22, 2013 1:44 pm

L-sits?

I don't think L-sits will give you similar results.

I love diamond push-ups. Imo one of THE best overall pressing exercises, especially decline ones.

Nothing gave me so much overall upper body mass as weighted dips though.
Yeah I'll admit that there is no stretch, and barely an indent in the movement, if any at all. But yeah, it is the same type of hold, at least at the top of the dip.

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Re: Don't Do Bench Dips

Post by Dave on Thu Aug 22, 2013 2:27 pm

This probably means your chest and triceps are already developed enough from your other movements that dips don't have anything to offer - unless you focus on them with high intensity for a while maybe.
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Re: Don't Do Bench Dips

Post by Dominator350 on Thu Aug 22, 2013 2:29 pm

Dave wrote:This probably means your chest and triceps are already developed enough from your other movements that dips don't have anything to offer - unless you focus on them with high intensity for a while maybe.
Haha Possibly, or maybe I'm just being stubborn. I just don't mess with them. I always warn people about doing crazy things with the shoulder, especially beginners.

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Re: Don't Do Bench Dips

Post by Dave on Thu Aug 22, 2013 2:32 pm

I don't blame you there man, dips can do a number on your shoulder, especially weighted or suspension dips. That said, I love them, but I also have pretty good shoulder mobility.
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Re: Don't Do Bench Dips

Post by Journeyman on Thu Aug 22, 2013 5:48 pm

I have awful shoulder mobility/flexibility but can do dips if I do them only sparingly. I do get sternum pain if I go heavy too often, though. I think the key is staying real tight with the lats, and not leaning forwards too much... like anything else, if ego/reps lead the way, you can mess things up pretty badly; just like bench presses.
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Re: Don't Do Bench Dips

Post by Dave on Thu Aug 22, 2013 10:26 pm

I have to cosign on this too, as even with my shoulder flexibility I have been left feeling pretty beat up with dips before when I've overdone them.
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Re: Don't Do Bench Dips

Post by Fatman on Fri Aug 23, 2013 10:28 am

A key component in doing dips safely is keeping the upper back tight throughout the movement. That, and not going very wide with the hand positioning.

Problem is, most public gyms have dip bars with a fixed width. So they'll fit some people but not others.
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Re: Don't Do Bench Dips

Post by Journeyman on Fri Aug 23, 2013 11:25 am

One of the dip bars in my college gym (only two pairs) has handles that fold in and out to change the width by ~10 inches or so. I wish we had a real solid V-shaped dip bar, but oh well....
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Re: Don't Do Bench Dips

Post by Buckyx on Sat Apr 05, 2014 1:23 pm

are they really that bad? in my high school days I have no access to dip bars so I was doing only high reps of elevated bench dips at home, and doing high reps weighted also and could do 33 dips on p. bars when i tried them

i was doing regular dips sometimes too but only like once a month or so
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Re: Don't Do Bench Dips

Post by Iliander on Sat Apr 05, 2014 1:26 pm

theres nothing wrong with them. you might have to be more careful with it than with other pressing movements but it's a natural movement.
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Re: Don't Do Bench Dips

Post by Guitar_maniac on Sun Apr 06, 2014 7:53 am

Dave wrote:D

And yet go look at the youtube comments and it's all oohs and aahs.  :facepalm:

This! I see this at the gym's way too often as well. Good example is one of my workmate who trains with one lifter here at Pori. I was training with them once and this "trainer" lifts 190kg on the bench, but the way he does it:
- His back is way of the bench, so much that it looks a bit painful
- His arms are in the T-position/wide grip
- When he gets little lower than halfway, he drops the bar and bounces it from his chest. (I can only imagine how that must feel with 190 kg and reps, week after week..) After that he struggles a to get it up and helps by twisting his body.

Of course my workmate is impressed with this, that's why he trains with him. "trainer" put on a video of this on his fb page, one known/semi succesfull strongman competitor at our area also commented on it:"Let's see you putting your a$$ to the bench and lifting with proper muscles....". This just shows how much people who don't know much about lifting watch only results, no matter if the lifting looks unnatural and prone to injury. I tried saying to my colleque that you'd be much better lifting with proper technique, elbows at 45 degree angle, keeping the pause at the bottom and top, not dropping the bar on your chest from the halfway etc.

But no, he still trains with this guy. just complains once in a while because he's stuck at the 100kg, maybe this lifting thing isn't his thing.

I did bench with 85kg back then, with strict form, lower back on the bench, arms at 45 degree, pauses, got 8 reps before technique started to get affected and stopped, but it didn't seem to interest anyone :D

i have also had problems with my right shoulder during benching, it was because i lowered the bar to my chest, my chest aren't as big as bb's so my shoulders were stretched too much under weight, now the pain is gone when i stop little over my chest. Again, no one believes, "But the big guys lower it to their chests!", yea they do, they also have much bigger upper body than we do, mate. Their shoulders won't go as low as ours when they hit their chest.
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Re: Don't Do Bench Dips

Post by Journeyman on Sun Apr 06, 2014 11:30 am

Elbow angle has nothing to do with 'proper form', dude. Some people flare their elbows, others tuck them... generally, tucking them is friendlier on the shoulders but it's all individual.

The lower back does not have to be on the bench. Just shoulders and butt. Even if you aren't arching up high (which is allowed, btw), if you have sizeable glutes you won't be able to keep your low back firmly on the bench without posterior pelvic tilt, which would compromise the position of your ribcage/chest (making it 'cave in').

A proper bench press *is* done lowering the bar to touch on the chest. In competition, you have to pause, too, of course (supposedly). If you can't do this pain free--just don't do it at all, imo. I have very long arms but not a barrel torso, and I can't touch comfortably... so I just don't.
That said, if you can touch, and want to bench, keep it in the program and be sure to touch every rep. Everyone's range of motion will be different... having more is no excuse. Plenty of long armed benchers putting up big weights in competition.
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Re: Don't Do Bench Dips

Post by Fatman on Mon Apr 07, 2014 9:47 am

Journeyman wrote:Everyone's range of motion will be different... having more is no excuse.

One thing I recommend to long-armed guys who want to bench is to shorten the ROM by doing board presses. This way you can keep benching over a consistent ROM without unduly stretching the shoulders. You can reap all the benefits of a full-range BP at a greatly reduced risk of injury.
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Re: Don't Do Bench Dips

Post by Journeyman on Mon Apr 07, 2014 11:58 am

^ Yep. Or floor presses, or floor presses from a shoulder bridge.... Benching with a barbell isn't the 'friendliest' exercise to begin with, though. I just met with a guy who trains fighters and he has them all do either one or two armed dumbbell bench, or one arm kettlebell floor press, and lots of getups. No benching or overhead pressing with a barbell--no time to perfect technique or recover from needless wear and tear that comes from barbell benching.
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