T Nation

Bench Press Amplitude/Technique


#1

Hello everybody,

This is my first post here and I hope my english will be OK enough (I'm from France) and that I read carefully every chart aspect.

Well, let's get to the topic.

I'm a 26 yo former tennis player, back from shoulder injury (1 year w/o sport) and have a passion for bodybuilding. I started 4 years ago, and muscled up for 3 years without really having a diet or a program, and will be kicking into a new routine next week. I read the "Do this routine" tread and picked one of the routines there, and know most of the exercises.

I have a very important question however.

When I do standard BB Bench Press, my performances really depends the amplitude of the movement.

I noticed I have a quite long & thin torso + long arms, and rather short legs.

During the negative phase of the press, if I let the bb go down to my chest and quickly touch it (no rebound) then press forward, the first part of the positive movement is overly difficult and I am unable to bench more than 90 lbs for more than 8 reps.

When I try heavier weights, I feel an overextension at the shoulder during the last part of negative, and the first of positive, that makes my shoulder sore (even before my injury) for approx 1 week.

So, basically, I reduced the amplitude and can do my sets with 130 lbs. (I know there is nothing to brag about, but I am very thin and light at the moment).

My question is :

  • Should I use reduced amplitude / heavier weights ?
  • Should I train light weights / full amplitude ?
  • Should I stop BB Bench Press and start something else like DB Press ?

My main goal is mass for the moment.

thank you,

Vince


#2

You could do partial reps where you put on heavier weight but you just pulse the bar 4 inches. That way you are working your strongest angle and not exposing weak joints from old injuries.

This is the most hardcore way to train though. You will need a lot more weight on the bar and a lot more recovery lol!

Your gonna be so sore you cant even pick up the phone lol!


#3

That may be an idea... I should do high reps in order to build mass too, no ?

Another bad fact is that after a hard bench press session, I feel my shoulders are blasted and my tri too. I don't feel a lot of pressure on my pecs, mostly on the external part (joint of pecs + delts)

Is it normal ?


#4

Put up vid up.

Also, watch Dave Tate's "So you think you can bench?" video series... You don't need to tuck your elbows quite as much or arch as much (though that might help in your specific situation) if you aren't interested in powerlifting, but the general setup (shoulder blades, elbows always under the bar esp. at the bottom of your rep...) is universal to both powerlifting and bodybuilding for the purpose of staying injury free.


#5

I went through this exactly when i first started lifting. I was 6'3 and only 170lbs. Could only press like 95-115lbs before shoulders either hurt or too strained, without much pec activation.

My advice is do pushups alot! and become damn good at them. If done properly, you'll build a good base strength for your chest, strengthen shoulders and build your stabilizer muscles. (serratus anterior)

Doing lots of pullups to build lats will also help.

For help with pec stimulation, maybe pre exhaust them with some lite flys or some pushups. (not til failure)