T Nation

Olympic Lifters & The Bench Press

How is it that Oly lifters can just bench for shits and put up big numbers? This vid is just an example but I’ve heard of many other scenarios where oly lifters just decide to bench for fun and they lift loads more than many people who bench on the regular, in some cases these lifters haven’t benched in AGES…how do they do it? What wizardry is this?

CNS. The central Nervous System and its activation to a high level is what olympic lifting is all about. So when you get an oly lifter on the bench press its almost a walk in the park exercise for them (From a neural stand point) as the degree of complexity of the movement is uncomparable to oly lifts.

Plus dont forgert the role of the deltoids and shoulder girdle in oly ifting meaning
the shoulder girdle of oly lifters is very well developed which is a major
pre requisite for success in the bench press. oly lifting is simply the king of all exercises
fuck working chest and biceps, Back and triceps IF your goal is POWER. Smash out compunds with tempo and youll acquire the ceiling level your gentics allow.

If you can press 150kg over your head, you will be able to bench it.

Do oly lifters really press? Like strict press? Isn’t most of what they do push press and jerks?

I don’t get the whole CNS thing tbh…

as john broz once said if you squat 1000kg you will bench 500kg for sure

Yes a lot of oly lifters strict press as well. Aldo don’t underestimate the tricep strength required to lock out a heavy jerk. And bench is more tricep and shoulder/back than chest, of which oly lifters train extensively

Some lifters press. There are videos of Klokov pressing, push pressing, and bench pressing, for instance. Look at a lot of the Russian and Chinese guys. Many are well muscled in the upper body and clearly do a lot of accessory work for it. Many of them can also bench/press respectable weights, not by magic, but because they have performed the exercises for years as they clearly believe they have some positive effect on their lifts (stability overhead, injury prevention maybe?).

The whole thing about the CNS and Oly lifters having very well developed shoulder girdles doesn’t sound very plausible to me…a guy who believes in the Bulgarian system probably isn’t going to have a very big bench press. Broz says on that video caption that he has been training the bench since May, and he is already a naturally big guy so this 170 isn’t surprising.

HGH (HatersGunaHate lol) is right that anything you can STRICT press you will be able to bench, but not all Oly lifters strict press.

Can’t speak for naturally big and/or gifted Olympic lifters, however I’ve seen more than a few 77kg and below local/state level Olympic lifters get buried under 225lbs! However, most of these guys were average at best as Olympic lifters (most could snatch bodyweight and clean& jerk close to 1.5x bodyweight.) I knew one 77kg lifter who could routinely clean and jerk 253lbs very powerfully. What was his bench press? 170lbs x 5 VERY hard reps. He would describe any exercise where he had to lie on his back as feeling like a fish out of water!

Once an O-lifter told me that if O-lifters bench regularly they risk losing their shoulder and chest flexibility necessary for the overhead portions of the contested lifts.

[quote]goose64 wrote:
Once an O-lifter told me that if O-lifters bench regularly they risk losing their shoulder and chest flexibility necessary for the overhead portions of the contested lifts.
[/quote]

It’s possible…but something tells me that if you’re snatching everyday or nearly everyday, it wouldn’t matter if you were benching 1-2x a week. Besides, if you’re that worried, just do sets of shoulder dislocates in between sets of bench presses. Problem solved.

During the light week I took after nationals in 2011, when my best lifts were around 125/160, I was kind of screwing around in the gym and wound up benching twice (having not benched in . . . I dunno, probably over a year at least). First time I worked up to a heavy double at 315 (was supposed to be a triple, but oh well) and later that week repped out at 225 and got 20ish reps, I think.

I don’t really do any strict pressing or push pressing in my training, and haven’t really benched since then so I have no idea where I’m at. Maybe I’ll get under the bar after provincials though and let you know how it goes haha.

To be fair, I did bench a fair bit before I started o-lifting when I was still wrestling, so I’m sure there’s some sort of advantage there.

[quote]HatersGunaHate wrote:
If you can press 150kg over your head, you will be able to bench it.[/quote]
this

lol at benching over 300 lbs because of a really really activated CNS

[quote]Egg Head wrote:
Can’t speak for naturally big and/or gifted Olympic lifters, however I’ve seen more than a few 77kg and below local/state level Olympic lifters get buried under 225lbs! However, most of these guys were average at best as Olympic lifters (most could snatch bodyweight and clean& jerk close to 1.5x bodyweight.) I knew one 77kg lifter who could routinely clean and jerk 253lbs very powerfully. What was his bench press? 170lbs x 5 VERY hard reps. He would describe any exercise where he had to lie on his back as feeling like a fish out of water![/quote]

[quote]ape288 wrote:
Some lifters press. There are videos of Klokov pressing, push pressing, and bench pressing, for instance. Look at a lot of the Russian and Chinese guys. Many are well muscled in the upper body and clearly do a lot of accessory work for it. Many of them can also bench/press respectable weights, not by magic, but because they have performed the exercises for years as they clearly believe they have some positive effect on their lifts (stability overhead, injury prevention maybe?).

The whole thing about the CNS and Oly lifters having very well developed shoulder girdles doesn’t sound very plausible to me…a guy who believes in the Bulgarian system probably isn’t going to have a very big bench press. Broz says on that video caption that he has been training the bench since May, and he is already a naturally big guy so this 170 isn’t surprising.

HGH (HatersGunaHate lol) is right that anything you can STRICT press you will be able to bench, but not all Oly lifters strict press.[/quote]

Apart from EggHeads example, am I that off in my assumptions?

Ape, I was always under the assumption that Oly lifters, if and when they benched did it to ‘‘balance out’’ all the pulling they did with pushing. I can’t remember exactly where i read it though…

[quote]TheJonty wrote:
During the light week I took after nationals in 2011, when my best lifts were around 125/160, I was kind of screwing around in the gym and wound up benching twice (having not benched in . . . I dunno, probably over a year at least). First time I worked up to a heavy double at 315 (was supposed to be a triple, but oh well) and later that week repped out at 225 and got 20ish reps, I think

I don’t really do any strict pressing or push pressing in my training, and haven’t really benched since then so I have no idea where I’m at. Maybe I’ll get under the bar after provincials though and let you know how it goes haha.

To be fair, I did bench a fair bit before I started o-lifting when I was still wrestling, so I’m sure there’s some sort of advantage there.[/quote]

From the last time you benched (if you can remember) did you keep most of that strength? Is a 315 double something you could easily do while you still benched regularly?

There’s no magic involved. There are no secret tricks weightlifters are using. If you talk about a normal gym guy benching then an oly guy coming and benching more it’s not really a fair comparison. Olympic lifting requires a good amount of dedication even to just become reasonably ok at it, so chances are the Oly lifter is a more committed athlete in general, who does work the muscles required for benching. Even if they don’t press the Oly lifts do require a certain amount of upper body strength. If an oly lifter can snatch 120, c+j 140, fs 170 and bs 200 you would think he would be able to play around with a reasonable amount of weight on the bench without too much trouble.

When you compare an oly lifter to a powerlifter with the same sort of dedication and time training the powerlifter is going to piss all over the weightlifter.

[quote]lumbahjack wrote:

[quote]TheJonty wrote:
During the light week I took after nationals in 2011, when my best lifts were around 125/160, I was kind of screwing around in the gym and wound up benching twice (having not benched in . . . I dunno, probably over a year at least). First time I worked up to a heavy double at 315 (was supposed to be a triple, but oh well) and later that week repped out at 225 and got 20ish reps, I think

I don’t really do any strict pressing or push pressing in my training, and haven’t really benched since then so I have no idea where I’m at. Maybe I’ll get under the bar after provincials though and let you know how it goes haha.

To be fair, I did bench a fair bit before I started o-lifting when I was still wrestling, so I’m sure there’s some sort of advantage there.[/quote]

From the last time you benched (if you can remember) did you keep most of that strength? Is a 315 double something you could easily do while you still benched regularly?[/quote]

Heaviest I ever benched, last month of the offseason before my last stint as a wrestler, I hit 325 for a triple. That was more of an elbows flared pec focused bench though, the few times I’ve played around with it since starting o-lifting I’ve put a lot more focus on getting a real tight setup and keeping the elbows tucked. Really not sure what kind of difference that might have made, but figured I’d mention it. Think I brought my grip in a tad too.

[quote]The Ox Man wrote:
There’s no magic involved. There are no secret tricks weightlifters are using. If you talk about a normal gym guy benching then an oly guy coming and benching more it’s not really a fair comparison. Olympic lifting requires a good amount of dedication even to just become reasonably ok at it, so chances are the Oly lifter is a more committed athlete in general, who does work the muscles required for benching. Even if they don’t press the Oly lifts do require a certain amount of upper body strength. If an oly lifter can snatch 120, c+j 140, fs 170 and bs 200 you would think he would be able to play around with a reasonable amount of weight on the bench without too much trouble.

When you compare an oly lifter to a powerlifter with the same sort of dedication and time training the powerlifter is going to piss all over the weightlifter.

[/quote]

Powerlifters look at the snatch and their balls shrink.

I know of a fair few powerlifters who can put up big numbers but they cant even overhead squat a bar.

Dont compare apples to oranges, if anything strongmen and powerlifters should be compared, not weightlifters unless its even ground with the front squat.

[quote]The Ox Man wrote:
There’s no magic involved. There are no secret tricks weightlifters are using. If you talk about a normal gym guy benching then an oly guy coming and benching more it’s not really a fair comparison. Olympic lifting requires a good amount of dedication even to just become reasonably ok at it, so chances are the Oly lifter is a more committed athlete in general, who does work the muscles required for benching. Even if they don’t press the Oly lifts do require a certain amount of upper body strength. If an oly lifter can snatch 120, c+j 140, fs 170 and bs 200 you would think he would be able to play around with a reasonable amount of weight on the bench without too much trouble.

When you compare an oly lifter to a powerlifter with the same sort of dedication and time training the powerlifter is going to piss all over the weightlifter.
[/quote]

Basically this.

It’s their front delt + triceps strength. AAS usage helps also. In this particular case, I wouldn’t be surprised if Broz uses himself, given he helped his lifters out.

@Harry: You sir are a retard. Ox of course meant the last bit regarding the bench press. Those oly lifters who actual bench (and put vids up) display decent numbers but not great numbers by PL standards.

Yep, it’s all the massive tricep and shoulder strength accrued from being so adept in overhead pressing. I wouldn’t quote yourself on them putting up big numbers really; it’s all on the fitness level of the athlete. Most amateur and competitive olympic weightlifters who can jerk around 150-200kg really won’t be benching anywhere near that area. However, a world class jerk of 250kg would probably give off one hell of a bench press, just due to the maturity level of the lifter and his muscles/nervous system. Most guys with that good of a jerk would be benching around/at least 200kg.

I find it goes that way with any athletes who don’t prioritize the bench press into their routines, even strongmen. It’s just something that if you don’t train it, it will not have any weight to it, UNLESS you’ve got a mature and attuned nervous system.

[quote]strongmanvinny wrote:
Yep, it’s all the massive tricep and shoulder strength accrued from being so adept in overhead pressing. I wouldn’t quote yourself on them putting up big numbers really; it’s all on the fitness level of the athlete. Most amateur and competitive olympic weightlifters who can jerk around 150-200kg really won’t be benching anywhere near that area. However, a world class jerk of 250kg would probably give off one hell of a bench press, just due to the maturity level of the lifter and his muscles/nervous system. Most guys with that good of a jerk would be benching around/at least 200kg.

I find it goes that way with any athletes who don’t prioritize the bench press into their routines, even strongmen. It’s just something that if you don’t train it, it will not have any weight to it, UNLESS you’ve got a mature and attuned nervous system.[/quote]

The only guys who can throw 250+ over their heads are superheavies. Look at the size of these men and tell me that the reason they may be able to bench press so much without training it directly is strictly because their nervous systems are peaked.

As a powerlifter doing weightlifting now I can say that an elite powerlifter in 95% of the time, or something like that, can not do the snatch or clean and jerk within a large amount of what an equivalent weightlifter can do. However an elite weightlifter without much work will put up close to what an elite raw powerliter can bench. That being said most weightlifters can not back squat what a powerlifter can or deadlift even close. I’m finding the training for weightlifting much more demanding in the area of technique than powerlifting however I feel I will do well with dedication and smart, hard work. As a powerlifter I always incorporated front squats in my routines so I had a large front squat coming in to weightlifting and the powerlifting world embraces front squats now more that ever for body conditioning and crossover effects.