T Nation

No Recent Bench Pressing

when i used to lift in high school, the bench press was by far the most popular exercise, next to curls. people formed lines waiting for their chance to get under the bar. but now, 5 years later, my favorite has become my least favorite.

so since october of last year to febrauary of 08, my workouts consisted mainly of only two exercises. pull ups and deadlifts.
i benched maybe twice in each of those months and it only consisted of 2 sets every time.

my bench max in october was about 185lbs.
currently it is 245lbs, tested last week. so simply put, ive put on 60lbs onto my bench press hardly ever working chest!

in the words of penn & teller, is this bullshit?

I’m the same way.

I would do chest twice a week in HS, now I’m not fan of it as much, even more so the bench press.

why are you calling BS on yourself? lol

I rarely bench anymore either. If I do, its with dumbbells and usually just a couple sets. I did a lot of rock climbing in college and trained pretty much pullups and pushups. My last max was 235 at that time. Since then, I did mostly circuit training in my apartment, more pushups on parrallete bars, and pull ups.

I started going back to the gym not too long ago, probably 3 weeks to a month. I started squatting and working on my OH press. A kid in the gym asked me for a spot last week sometime, and I took the opportunity to get a spot from him to see what my max was. I got 265, so it went up 30 lbs.

Its funny though, because every time I go to the gym, I see the same group of guys come in. They do flat bench, decline bench, then db inclines. Friday, I went upstairs to do some rower intervals after my workout, and after they finished with the free weights they were on the nautilus machines doing machine benches. I kind of chuckled to myself and went back to my workout. I want to say something like you guys might get better results mixing it up a bit, but I don’t and probably never will.

cool, after all, everything is a fuggin hypothesis anyway watever works bro

[quote]ZeusNathan wrote:
when i used to lift in high school, the bench press was by far the most popular exercise, next to curls. people formed lines waiting for their chance to get under the bar. but now, 5 years later, my favorite has become my least favorite.

so since october of last year to febrauary of 08, my workouts consisted mainly of only two exercises. pull ups and deadlifts.
i benched maybe twice in each of those months and it only consisted of 2 sets every time.

my bench max in october was about 185lbs.
currently it is 245lbs, tested last week. so simply put, ive put on 60lbs onto my bench press hardly ever working chest!

in the words of penn & teller, is this bullshit?[/quote]

I wish my bench would go up 60 pounds without me working on it. My bench is in a rut as of now. In order to keep a good muscle balance, you should do bench presses. Just because you want to stand apart from the embarrassing crowd of bench-happy weekend warriors doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bench. The fact that you work out your entire body from chest to calves is what sets you apart from them.

And yes, that is complete bullshit and I hate you.

lmao. Get your back muscles stronger, the more you can bench. Tate has gone on about this before. But you probably could of benched more if you just added the right bench training after your pull ups and deads.

[quote]ZeusNathan wrote:
when i used to lift in high school, the bench press was by far the most popular exercise, next to curls. people formed lines waiting for their chance to get under the bar. but now, 5 years later, my favorite has become my least favorite.

so since october of last year to febrauary of 08, my workouts consisted mainly of only two exercises. pull ups and deadlifts.
i benched maybe twice in each of those months and it only consisted of 2 sets every time.

my bench max in october was about 185lbs.
currently it is 245lbs, tested last week. so simply put, ive put on 60lbs onto my bench press hardly ever working chest!

in the words of penn & teller, is this bullshit?[/quote]

Shit with squats and milk you would be putting up 3 plates by now. Seriously though, have you done any pressing at all(overhead, incline, decline, db, push press, jerks, etc) or tricep work?

Same here. I’ve benched twice in the last 3 years or so. I still have a 275 close grip with my max ever being 300 close grip (only ever did close grip for athletic purposes then realized dips were better).

Now I only do o-lifts (and their accessory lifts), squats and pullups.

I also have a crusade against barbell bench for anyone other than powerlifters. I just do not see it as being worth a shit to anyone in sports beside football O-line and D-line. There are less shoulder destroying lifts that can have those sets and make a client (or me) better at sports.

As far as training for chest size goes there are tons of better lifts that help people actually get work out of their chest as opposed to arms.

So yeah. learning to lever yourself for dips is much funner anyhow.

-chris

[quote]drummerofgod89 wrote:
ZeusNathan wrote:
when i used to lift in high school, the bench press was by far the most popular exercise, next to curls. people formed lines waiting for their chance to get under the bar. but now, 5 years later, my favorite has become my least favorite.

so since october of last year to febrauary of 08, my workouts consisted mainly of only two exercises. pull ups and deadlifts.
i benched maybe twice in each of those months and it only consisted of 2 sets every time.

my bench max in october was about 185lbs.
currently it is 245lbs, tested last week. so simply put, ive put on 60lbs onto my bench press hardly ever working chest!

in the words of penn & teller, is this bullshit?

I wish my bench would go up 60 pounds without me working on it. My bench is in a rut as of now. In order to keep a good muscle balance, you should do bench presses. Just because you want to stand apart from the embarrassing crowd of bench-happy weekend warriors doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bench. The fact that you work out your entire body from chest to calves is what sets you apart from them.

And yes, that is complete bullshit and I hate you.[/quote]

Maybe you should try nixing the mighty BP for a month and replace it with more weighted chins. Stimulus is the independent variable, recovery is the dependent or the goal. Or just Nix it and see if it goes up. Initially it might go down because it is a very neurally dependent lift but once you get your motor patterning back (1 weekish) it might rocket right up there. I know that kind of shit happens to my clean when I leave it alone. diminishing returns I reckon.

Also, “in order to keep a good muscle balance” why should he “do bench presses?”

A) If he can still press more than he can pull the imbalance leans towards the back. He may or may not be able to pull 245#.

B)Why bench? why not another chest movement or press besides bench? Does he really need bench or is there other lifts that can keep him away from a debatable muscle imbalance?

Not to be adversarial but It’s a good discussion to have and I believe this variety of discourse is what T-Nation is really for. All the hilarious “rate my hawt abz” threads in the world can’t come close to a topic as interesting as this.

let me know,

-chris

I’ve cut my bench press out recently because it seems like a big psychological drain vs what it actually does physically or for my strength (for me, personally).

I’ve been hitting overhead presses, pushups, chins, and some dips, and a ton of snatches, overhead squats, high pulls, cleans…and feel way better than when I tried to do max effort bench weekly, or when I used it in bodybuilding type workouts. Definitely haven’t lost size off my chest or triceps, and my shoulders, back, and legs are growing way faster.

It just seems like low return for hard work to me. The pushups and dips seem to offer more in return.

It seems like if I just concentrate on upping a few lifts with a lot of carryover, bench excluded, I get much stronger. Bench seems not to carry over well for me.

Last max I believe was about 235x3, 3 months ago or so.

Also I believe strongly in just simplifying your training as much as possible. It’s a lot better psychologically and lets you progress better when you do finally need to make it more complex.

I agree with avocado about neural efficiency vs actual strength. Dan John spoke of never benching for years, then working on it for a couple months and hitting 400 with a fair amount of ease.

[quote]conwict wrote:
Also I believe strongly in just simplifying your training as much as possible. It’s a lot better psychologically and lets you progress better when you do finally need to make it more complex.

I agree with avocado about neural efficiency vs actual strength. Dan John spoke of never benching for years, then working on it for a couple months and hitting 400 with a fair amount of ease.[/quote]

I would also say that it is neural efficiency that facilitates strength (or rather fiber development/turnover). You have to gain the neural ability to press more resulting in “overload” not of your CNS but of your muscle fibers. then your muscle fibers grow to catch up to your CNS. after that your fascia follows up last to allow your muscles to grow per se.

So if your bench is stalled out (or any lift for that matter) then think about the fact that you may be going on a ton of motor patterning and not allowing enough time for your muscle structures to grow along with. Because like I said the patterning can come back within a week and then go beyond what you had it at before a long lay off.

who knows,

-chris

Yeah, I should have specified…I meant strength as in a measure of overall physical strength, vs neural specificity on specific exercises. If that makes sense.

[quote]drummerofgod89 wrote:
ZeusNathan wrote:
when i used to lift in high school, the bench press was by far the most popular exercise, next to curls. people formed lines waiting for their chance to get under the bar. but now, 5 years later, my favorite has become my least favorite.

so since october of last year to febrauary of 08, my workouts consisted mainly of only two exercises. pull ups and deadlifts.
i benched maybe twice in each of those months and it only consisted of 2 sets every time.

my bench max in october was about 185lbs.
currently it is 245lbs, tested last week. so simply put, ive put on 60lbs onto my bench press hardly ever working chest!

in the words of penn & teller, is this bullshit?

I wish my bench would go up 60 pounds without me working on it. My bench is in a rut as of now. In order to keep a good muscle balance, you should do bench presses. Just because you want to stand apart from the embarrassing crowd of bench-happy weekend warriors doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bench. The fact that you work out your entire body from chest to calves is what sets you apart from them.

And yes, that is complete bullshit and I hate you.[/quote]

man you def hit that one on the head. at my gym the benches are usually packed like a high school gym… that leaves the power rack and pull up bars open allllll day. i never have to wait to squat pull up or dead.
on the other hand as you mentioned, i should definitely work on other aspects of my body, although i seriously would be happy with just pull ups and deads. but since the beginning of april i have been doing some chest and shoulder work outs.
proof… http://www.T-Nation.com/tmagnum/readTopic.do?id=2049353

[quote]Scrotus wrote:
ZeusNathan wrote:
when i used to lift in high school, the bench press was by far the most popular exercise, next to curls. people formed lines waiting for their chance to get under the bar. but now, 5 years later, my favorite has become my least favorite.

so since october of last year to febrauary of 08, my workouts consisted mainly of only two exercises. pull ups and deadlifts.
i benched maybe twice in each of those months and it only consisted of 2 sets every time.

my bench max in october was about 185lbs.
currently it is 245lbs, tested last week. so simply put, ive put on 60lbs onto my bench press hardly ever working chest!

in the words of penn & teller, is this bullshit?

Shit with squats and milk you would be putting up 3 plates by now. Seriously though, have you done any pressing at all(overhead, incline, decline, db, push press, jerks, etc) or tricep work?[/quote]

at the time, no. my gyms usually slow around 2pm so i would do a quick 15 reps on 135lbs here and there, but that was also on rare occasions. i usually did 15 pull ups here and there.

[quote]Avocado wrote:
Same here. I’ve benched twice in the last 3 years or so. I still have a 275 close grip with my max ever being 300 close grip (only ever did close grip for athletic purposes then realized dips were better).

Now I only do o-lifts (and their accessory lifts), squats and pullups.

I also have a crusade against barbell bench for anyone other than powerlifters. I just do not see it as being worth a shit to anyone in sports beside football O-line and D-line. There are less shoulder destroying lifts that can have those sets and make a client (or me) better at sports.

As far as training for chest size goes there are tons of better lifts that help people actually get work out of their chest as opposed to arms.

So yeah. learning to lever yourself for dips is much funner anyhow.

-chris[/quote]

tell me about it. i just started benching and my right rotator cuff is acting up already. btw, i do 2 - 3 sets of external rotations and 12 reps with the bar to warm up, and still there is discomfort. i personally prefer the dumbbells.

[quote]Avocado wrote:
drummerofgod89 wrote:
ZeusNathan wrote:
when i used to lift in high school, the bench press was by far the most popular exercise, next to curls. people formed lines waiting for their chance to get under the bar. but now, 5 years later, my favorite has become my least favorite.

so since october of last year to febrauary of 08, my workouts consisted mainly of only two exercises. pull ups and deadlifts.
i benched maybe twice in each of those months and it only consisted of 2 sets every time.

my bench max in october was about 185lbs.
currently it is 245lbs, tested last week. so simply put, ive put on 60lbs onto my bench press hardly ever working chest!

in the words of penn & teller, is this bullshit?

I wish my bench would go up 60 pounds without me working on it. My bench is in a rut as of now. In order to keep a good muscle balance, you should do bench presses. Just because you want to stand apart from the embarrassing crowd of bench-happy weekend warriors doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bench. The fact that you work out your entire body from chest to calves is what sets you apart from them.

And yes, that is complete bullshit and I hate you.

Maybe you should try nixing the mighty BP for a month and replace it with more weighted chins. Stimulus is the independent variable, recovery is the dependent or the goal. Or just Nix it and see if it goes up. Initially it might go down because it is a very neurally dependent lift but once you get your motor patterning back (1 weekish) it might rocket right up there. I know that kind of shit happens to my clean when I leave it alone. diminishing returns I reckon.

Also, “in order to keep a good muscle balance” why should he “do bench presses?”

A) If he can still press more than he can pull the imbalance leans towards the back. He may or may not be able to pull 245#.

B)Why bench? why not another chest movement or press besides bench? Does he really need bench or is there other lifts that can keep him away from a debatable muscle imbalance?

Not to be adversarial but It’s a good discussion to have and I believe this variety of discourse is what T-Nation is really for. All the hilarious “rate my hawt abz” threads in the world can’t come close to a topic as interesting as this.

let me know,

-chris[/quote]

A ) I would shit my pants if he could press more than he can pull, especially when he has been doing back exercises like crazy. No offense if he can’t. I can’t bench 245 (I bench maybe 215, and that could be pushing it), but I can not only pull 245, but 545 raw and no straps. I do 3 sets of 12 for deadlift per week with a test on max, and same for squats, and each exercise gains 10 - 20 pounds a WEEK on max. 3 sets is nothing, yet it seems like my back and legs are progressing like a runaway freight train on full speed towards the twin cities of strength and size. But my bench has barely moved since December. It’s ridiculous. Even if this were true, just because he can bench more than he can pull doesn’t mean that he should stop benching and work more on his back.

B ) Because bench is a really damn good exercise for chest. I would find it hard to argue against that. But one’s chest routine should not be limited to barbell bench. Obviously add in other things. Yes, you can avoid benching and still have a strong/large chest, but there’s no reason to do so unless you are injured. And yes, there’s the decline and incline bench as well and all variations of those in dumbbells as well, but it’s all still benching.

As for my bench, it’s gone up maybe 10 lbs, if that, since December. I think it might be because I’m off my creatine, I don’t know. I was making great gains on creatine, but I’m broke so I can’t afford it right now.

[quote]Avocado wrote:
conwict wrote:
Also I believe strongly in just simplifying your training as much as possible. It’s a lot better psychologically and lets you progress better when you do finally need to make it more complex.

I agree with avocado about neural efficiency vs actual strength. Dan John spoke of never benching for years, then working on it for a couple months and hitting 400 with a fair amount of ease.

I would also say that it is neural efficiency that facilitates strength (or rather fiber development/turnover). You have to gain the neural ability to press more resulting in “overload” not of your CNS but of your muscle fibers. then your muscle fibers grow to catch up to your CNS. after that your fascia follows up last to allow your muscles to grow per se.

So if your bench is stalled out (or any lift for that matter) then think about the fact that you may be going on a ton of motor patterning and not allowing enough time for your muscle structures to grow along with. Because like I said the patterning can come back within a week and then go beyond what you had it at before a long lay off.

who knows,

-chris[/quote]

that is awesome insight, which i believe many beginners should familiarize themselves with.

neural efficiency allows total strength. one without the other is like a bugatti without a driver… and there’s numerous ways of building up your cns, or what i would say to someone new, building up your body’s confidence. read on for my experimental/hypothetical observation.

you’re muscular system, or rather your entire kinetic chain will not allow you to perform movements that it doesn’t feel would be possible or safe. (golgi complex/tendons, spindle cells)

Therefore, building up your body’s “base” or foundation before trying to increase the load would be logical. Not only will this increase your strength, but i believe it will also reduce your chance of injury.

For example, Poliquin suggested loading about 120% of your max output on the squat, getting it on your back and just standing there for a couple of seconds. and ultimately, this should lead to a higher output on the actual squats. sounds stupid? no, your cns is registering the weight the whole time that the load is on your back. from there, your muscle savers (golgi tendons) will be better prepped for your PR, or high intensity workout.

its a good potentation technique to get your body for action.

I can’t bench (injury), I just do db floor presses, but I’ve seen the same thing. I’ve gone for a few months without doing any kind of horizontal pressing or chest exercise but was able to add weight when I got back to it.

Of course the fact that I had gained a few kilos of muscle in the meantime might be involved.

[quote]drummerofgod89 wrote:
Avocado wrote:
drummerofgod89 wrote:
ZeusNathan wrote:
when i used to lift in high school, the bench press was by far the most popular exercise, next to curls. people formed lines waiting for their chance to get under the bar. but now, 5 years later, my favorite has become my least favorite.

so since october of last year to febrauary of 08, my workouts consisted mainly of only two exercises. pull ups and deadlifts.
i benched maybe twice in each of those months and it only consisted of 2 sets every time.

my bench max in october was about 185lbs.
currently it is 245lbs, tested last week. so simply put, ive put on 60lbs onto my bench press hardly ever working chest!

in the words of penn & teller, is this bullshit?

I wish my bench would go up 60 pounds without me working on it. My bench is in a rut as of now. In order to keep a good muscle balance, you should do bench presses. Just because you want to stand apart from the embarrassing crowd of bench-happy weekend warriors doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bench. The fact that you work out your entire body from chest to calves is what sets you apart from them.

And yes, that is complete bullshit and I hate you.

Maybe you should try nixing the mighty BP for a month and replace it with more weighted chins. Stimulus is the independent variable, recovery is the dependent or the goal. Or just Nix it and see if it goes up. Initially it might go down because it is a very neurally dependent lift but once you get your motor patterning back (1 weekish) it might rocket right up there. I know that kind of shit happens to my clean when I leave it alone. diminishing returns I reckon.

Also, “in order to keep a good muscle balance” why should he “do bench presses?”

A) If he can still press more than he can pull the imbalance leans towards the back. He may or may not be able to pull 245#.

B)Why bench? why not another chest movement or press besides bench? Does he really need bench or is there other lifts that can keep him away from a debatable muscle imbalance?

Not to be adversarial but It’s a good discussion to have and I believe this variety of discourse is what T-Nation is really for. All the hilarious “rate my hawt abz” threads in the world can’t come close to a topic as interesting as this.

let me know,

-chris

A ) I would shit my pants if he could press more than he can pull, especially when he has been doing back exercises like crazy. No offense if he can’t. I can’t bench 245 (I bench maybe 215, and that could be pushing it), but I can not only pull 245, but 545 raw and no straps. I do 3 sets of 12 for deadlift per week with a test on max, and same for squats, and each exercise gains 10 - 20 pounds a WEEK on max. 3 sets is nothing, yet it seems like my back and legs are progressing like a runaway freight train on full speed towards the twin cities of strength and size. But my bench has barely moved since December. It’s ridiculous. Even if this were true, just because he can bench more than he can pull doesn’t mean that he should stop benching and work more on his back.

B ) Because bench is a really damn good exercise for chest. I would find it hard to argue against that. But one’s chest routine should not be limited to barbell bench. Obviously add in other things. Yes, you can avoid benching and still have a strong/large chest, but there’s no reason to do so unless you are injured. And yes, there’s the decline and incline bench as well and all variations of those in dumbbells as well, but it’s all still benching.

As for my bench, it’s gone up maybe 10 lbs, if that, since December. I think it might be because I’m off my creatine, I don’t know. I was making great gains on creatine, but I’m broke so I can’t afford it right now.[/quote]

LOLrus. When I said pull I meant like row or chinup. My badness. I bet he and almost anyone else can “pull” (ie. deadlift) more than they can bench.

whoops.

And as far as barbell bench (to be specific) goes I still wonder if the cost/benefit ratio is worth while for it. What I eman by that is if the benefits of using BB bench instead of another safer movement will out weigh the negative training effects of a shoulder strain. I find that shoulder strains are a very debilitating injury for many lifters. It detracts you from doing OH press, upper body pulling, and many other movements. I would say that something such a DB bench would likely prove the better option. that or levered dips, or if you can’t lever then use chains around your neck to create a lever.

-chris