T Nation

Bench to Your Chest?

I’ve always been benching to my chest but recently a female personal trainer told me to not touch your chest while benching becuase it tears up your shoulders, telling my to to stop a few inchest above my chest.

I have heard of this before but does stopping above your chest provide any additional benefits?..other than a shortened ROM.

any suggestions…

Unless the female trainer looked like she benches, ignore her.

And using a shortened ROM in weightlifting actually limits flexibility. Also, if the trainer asks you again, ask her what muscles it will tear up. If she can’t give you a name, its likely she doesn’t know what she’s talking about.

Ignore her. She knows not of what she speaks;^x

[quote]Hagar wrote:
Ignore her. She knows not of what she speaks;^x[/quote]

This is true.If you want pecs like mine stop five inches from the chest or better yet make that eight.

Seriously, bring the bar to your chest.

Cheers

D

You my friend just touched on my biggest pet peave. Look at anyone who does the half-press as I like to call it. They never have large well developed pec muscles. Instead they’re measly weak, and soft.

It depends. If you have no preexisting shoulder problems, and you can go down to your chest pain free, then you’re fine.

If it hurts and you have a feeling like your shoulders don’t want to go down that low, then truncate the range until you feel safe and try to lower it gradually over weeks and months.

Anyone who blanket says “don’t do it” is pretty misguided if they know nothing of you or your exercise history.

Paul Check would tell you to do board presses off an apple as that is the perfect distance from your chest to bench without tearing up your shoulders.

Fuck that. How can a contest-legal lift be bad for you? I bet this trainer would say that Squatting below parallel tears up your knees, that Deadlifts are dangerous, that snatches tear up your shoulders as well, and that cleans shouldn’t be performed with more than 95lbs, ever.

[quote]Sxio wrote:
It depends. If you have no preexisting shoulder problems, and you can go down to your chest pain free, then you’re fine.

If it hurts and you have a feeling like your shoulders don’t want to go down that low, then truncate the range until you feel safe and try to lower it gradually over weeks and months.

Anyone who blanket says “don’t do it” is pretty misguided if they know nothing of you or your exercise history.

[/quote]

Ya I knew some older guys who had some shoulder injuries and could only go to around parallel or they risked injury.

Simply put, go as low as you can as long as it isn’t painful.

[quote]FightingScott wrote:

Fuck that. How can a contest-legal lift be bad for you? I bet this trainer would say that Squatting below parallel tears up your knees, that Deadlifts are dangerous, that snatches tear up your shoulders as well, and that cleans shouldn’t be performed with more than 95lbs, ever.

[/quote]

Well, I agree with you FC, but it also depends on how you perform the lift. Powerlifters’ style of benching (the kind they do in competitions) is very different from the traditional BB style of benching.

Powerlifters use body mechanics that greatly alter both the stroke and leverages involved during the bench. This places much less stress on the shoulder joints and pecs. They also often times use bench shirts that help them lift the weight in the bottom of the lift (off the chest).

To be honest I’m not a big fan of flat BB presses. They are indeed responsible for a lot of injuries (everything from pec tears to shoulder problems). Of course many of these are probably due to improper form, or ego lifting. But, it’s not like one absolutely needs to do flat BB presses to build the chest either.

So, I personally don’t do them. I’d rather do DB presses, incline and decline BB, and machine chest presses. Those will all build the pecs and tend to have less injuries attributed to them.

Just my two cents.

[quote]Sentoguy wrote:
Well, I agree with you FC, but it also depends on how you perform the lift. Powerlifters’ style of benching (the kind they do in competitions) is very different from the traditional BB style of benching.

Powerlifters use body mechanics that greatly alter both the stroke and leverages involved during the bench. This places much less stress on the shoulder joints and pecs. They also often times use bench shirts that help them lift the weight in the bottom of the lift (off the chest).

To be honest I’m not a big fan of flat BB presses. They are indeed responsible for a lot of injuries (everything from pec tears to shoulder problems). Of course many of these are probably due to improper form, or ego lifting. But, it’s not like one absolutely needs to do flat BB presses to build the chest either.

So, I personally don’t do them. I’d rather do DB presses, incline and decline BB, and machine chest presses. Those will all build the pecs and tend to have less injuries attributed to them.

Just my two cents.[/quote]

I agree. If I am lifting for a bench press contest, my elbows are tucked in. If doing a traditional Bodybuilding style bench press your elbows are out wide, which puts a lot of strain on the shouders regardless of how low you come. Also if you have a tendency to bounce the bar I think it is good idea to stop about an inch off your chest, NOT 3 to 5 inches like I see a lot of guys doing.

Another thing to remember for those talking about shortening the ROM, techniques used in a bench press competition like arching the back, intentionally shortent the range of motion and it is still a legal lift.

Bench with your elbows tucked in (not all the way in, mind you, but moreso than your average gym-goer does), shoulder blades squeezed back and using your hips for thrust.

Advanced trainers will board press to get past the ‘sticking point’. I’m not there, I’m guessing you’re not there, so leave that to the advanced trainers. They don’t do it to protect shoulder stability, they do it for mechanical reasons. Bench to your chest if it isn’t painful, leave the half presses to those trying to put more weight on the bar for the females.

All that said, don’t even bother with the flat BB bench. I’m a big fan of incline DB’s, decline bench and weighted dips. I think you activate the pecs much more with these movements than the flat bench.

The problem is not the bench press movement per se. The problem is that 80+% of trainees out there have weak, underdeveloped upper backs and lengthened and weak external rotators. If everyone spent more time strengthening the musculature around the scapulae and improving shoulder joint mobility, there’d be much less internet bitching about how awful the bench press is. Look at most people’s routines: usually at least twice as much emphasis on the bench vs the upper back.

[quote]Radjxf wrote:
The problem is not the bench press movement per se. The problem is that 80+% of trainees out there have weak, underdeveloped upper backs and lengthened and weak external rotators. If everyone spent more time strengthening the musculature around the scapulae and improving shoulder joint mobility, there’d be much less internet bitching about how awful the bench press is. Look at most people’s routines: usually at least twice as much emphasis on the bench vs the upper back. [/quote]

I agree on one point, not on the other. You’re 100% correct that most people have weak rotator cuffs and don’t develop their upper back as consistently as their chest, both of which can directly lead to shoulder issues on a lift such as the bench press.

However, I disagree regarding your assertation of the bench press. Granted, this is only my opinion, but I’ve found the three exercises I listed to be better at developing my chest than a flat bench press. That isn’t to say the BB isn’t a good exercise, simply that there are better lifts out there for the pecs (again, imo).

Hambone, I think we are in total agreement here. Didn’t mean to sound like a BP proponent. My point was that if people concerned themselves with balanced development and mobility, they could perform almost any exercise safely.

Yes, there are many excercises better at developing the pecs. I myself prefer dumbbell movements with the palms either parallel or 45* to my sides, either low incline, flat or decline. Hanging ring pushups IMO are better than all of the above if you have access to them (rigged up a set in my basement!).

I can’t bench past parallel. I’ve had 2 surgeries for my rotator cuff. My orthopedic surgeon told me to not go past parallel, and to bench on the floor; I just use 2 or 3 benches lined up next to each other and DB bench from them. I haven’t BB benched in 7 or 8 years.

You can still get a good chest workout by only going halfway down. I learn a lot from my friend at my gym. Think he has an under developed chest?

I blocked his face out cuz these aren’t my pictures.

His chest is underdeveloped in comparison to his “sag.”

[quote]saroachman wrote:
His chest is underdeveloped in comparison to his “sag.”[/quote]

haha…

she told me that it tares up your rotator cuff, and if it hasn’t already it will in the near future

whats wrong with bringing in your grip and tucking your elbows, that probably makes 10000000% difference in shoulder discomfort