T Nation

Bench Presses to the Neck?

Old school lifters like Arnold etc. Used to do bench presses to the neck (bringing the bar to the throat area) to build upper pec muscle. Anyone do these? If so, what are your results?

abcbodybuilding.com/exercise3/benchpresstoneck.htm

Nope, varying degrees on the bench (flat, decline and incline) hits muscle enough from different angles for me - including the upper parts.

That looks a bit dangerous, to be honest. Anyone pressing large numbers would be taking a big risk if the weight was to drop.

When i do inclines i used to bring th bar to the lower chest as in Flat bench…

Since i began bringing the bar to mid/upper pec and with smith incline, the clavicle - i have noticed a discernable difference.

It is the angle of the upper arm in relation to the torso also that changes the stress on the muscle head, as well as the angle… so i do both. Lower to clavs when using inc, and lower to mid/low chest when flat.

Incidentally i lower the bar to the upper chest when doing declines too… in increases the ROM, gives me a stretch in the chest and makes the move harder. great for bodybuilding purposes.

JJ

I do triceps extension movements to/from the neck. similar, but I don’t flare my elbows, nor wide grip, so its a completely different movement I guess.

and they are more effective lowered to the head or behind too

[quote]rsg wrote:
Nope, varying degrees on the bench (flat, decline and incline) hits muscle enough from different angles for me - including the upper parts.

That looks a bit dangerous, to be honest. Anyone pressing large numbers would be taking a big risk if the weight was to drop.[/quote]

Just being sarcastic. But driving is dangerous too.

Again, just a joke- take it as such

Be prepared to kiss your shoulders goodbye with that one.

It also seems like you would be just begging for a pec tear if you benched to the neck with your elbows out. Flat bench is bad enough done bb style, this is even worse.

[quote]Stronghold wrote:
Be prepared to kiss your shoulders goodbye with that one.

It also seems like you would be just begging for a pec tear if you benched to the neck with your elbows out. Flat bench is bad enough done bb style, this is even worse.[/quote]

huh

Flat bench press done bodybuilding style (elbows out) puts a great deal of strain on the pecs and the attaching tendons. I know several guys who have torn their pecs benching this way (as the powerlifting style is not as effective for developing the chest).

Combine this with the increased stress benching placed on your shoulders by benching to the neck rather than the sternum and its just not a good exercise to me when I consider risk v. benefit.

We call these Gironda’s and sometimes throw them in with a lighter weight say 185 or even 135 after our heavy regular sets of flat bench. We do a burnout hitting as many reps as we can. I tell you they make your chest burn and hurt like nothing else as a finisher.

D

That depends really IMO. If you try to max out at 3-6 reps then i would wholeheartedly agree - but if you are bodybuilding with quality reps, intensity techniques and only go as low as 8 occasionally then i think it is another effective way to exercise the chest.

i think that is the key, to not think of it as a bench, but another way to train chest. because if you think of it as a bench, you automatically want to load on the plates!

If you use it as it is best, light weight and a finisher/mid session exercise for quality contractions with moderate weight then it can be a good variation.

I ALSO think that the bench in general is bad for the shoulder due the the positioning and the weights involved. But so is the behind the neck work etc and they have a place in some trainees arsenal. SOME.

I do inc benches to the clavs, behind neck pull down but dont touch behind neck presses - they just feel “off”.

JJ

I do them, including fairly heavy(4-6reps), but I never max or train for speed/power on the movement. Use them when you are focusing on bodybuilding and chest specialization. To me that means slower and controlled movements that focus on stretching and feeling the muscle work. I haven’t found them to be the shoulder disaster that some fear. I would not do them when my shoulders aren’t healthy and pain free however.

In my experience my joints generally only ache when I focus long and hard on a single movement variation in pursuit of a new PR. No matter what the technique or form at some point if you push your limits on strength and volume on a lift your joints will eventually get sore or over trained.

Cycling lift variations in an intelligent manner is all it takes for me to avoid joint pain at this point. Of course the basic health protocols of being flexible and balanced in strength development should be part of the equation as well.

If a joint aches find variations that target the same movements or muscle groups that are pain free. For bench my favorite shoulder saver is neutral grip elbows tucked dumb bell presses, all angles.

I don’t know how dangerous they are but I know I have done them and I am WAY weaker with them. I actually did them while doing Thibaudeau’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde program last year. I trudt Thibaudeau not to give out a program that would lead to injury so I have to assume it has to do with being flexible enough and propery warmed up to avoid injury.

this is a Vince Gironda must… Yes you use a bit lighter weight but if done with a wide grip you get the pump of your life… and unlike regular flat bench you feel it almost entirely in your pecs… not your shoulders or Tris…

This done right will bring up your regular bench press…

As for me I only do wide grip bench presses to the neck… love them…

[quote]yogaroots wrote:
Old school lifters like Arnold etc. Used to do bench presses to the neck (bringing the bar to the throat area) to build upper pec muscle. Anyone do these? If so, what are your results?

abcbodybuilding.com/exercise3/benchpresstoneck.htm [/quote]

i always thought that was for triceps, not pecs. isnt it called the California Press?

It’s an awesome exercise. I never do regular barbell bench press anymore. Neck presses work the pecs WAY more.

Cool repsonses…good to know peeps are ding them and still living, i think ill give em a whirl.

TC talks about using them in his push/pull workout, he suggested that you do them in the smith machine, because its a better way to insure of not dropping it on your neck.

I havent given it a shot yet, but TC says it turns benching into a good chest builder instead of a decent chest builder, great triceps and front shoulder builder.

–JB

As long as your holding onto the bar and not using thumbless grip they seem good, I would still want to have a spotter when trying something new like this.

I dont see how people are scared of dropping it on the neck… thats like saying skull crushers are dangerous.

And what about the shoulder angle? What about wide grip barbell rows to the chest?!