While I can be a fan of taking out the extra bodybuilding stuff, and am so in high frequency stuff which is how I have been training until very recently, I find your comment about muscle imbalances being garbage and never proven troubling and rather mistaken.
Muscle imbalances exist because of differences in leverage and limb length, even if they didn’t exist for the reasons most people have them (lack of mobility, tissue creep from lack of movement, lack of mental connection leading to an inability to activate the muscles, bad firing pattern, lack of dynamic flexibility, nerve damage, or any combination of several of these as they tend to feed on each other to some degree).
I recommend use of some ancillary chest work because it is quite likely that a) his chest is going to be much weaker than his triceps/shoulders b) his chest does not have the same physical preparedness and fatigue resistance that his highly trained shoulders and triceps have c) he will have a severely shoulder/tricep dominant pressing pattern which will leave a giant sticking point in his bench press at some point or other in the future, if it is not worked on.
It is advisable to address these points, which were generated by a lack of attention over years in olympic lifting (where they were not essential to good sport performance), as soon as possible in order to bring up his lifts as soon as possible. Same goes for lats, because half the problem for most people is feeling them work, contract, squeeze, tighten, all that stuff. The OP’s lats have probably been worked quite a bit with all the Oly stuff and chins, but it is still quite possible that the mind/muscle connection is weaker than it needs to be. In any case, lat work very rarely hurt anybody’s bench press (as in, never).[/quote]
The lats get work on the negative portion of the lift. You don’t necessarily need to pull in order to build the lats or work the lats.
You can also focus on doing half reps (chest to midpoint) and keep stress on the lower half of the bench to build pop off the chest. It works very well.
I’ve just personally never seen or heard of anyone having muscle imbalances due to only doing the bench/squat/deadlift. There are several Russians including Vladimir Volkov and Alexander Faleev who only do the main lifts. They believe you only need to do supplemental work if you have some sort of health risk - which I’m understanding as some type of nagging injury or preventative maintenance, warm up type thing.
Now Sheiko implements chest flyes, which Ed Coan used for therapeutic purposes. I think those can be profitable done w/ very light weight and high reps.
I guess the point I was trying to make w/ the muscle imbalance stuff being garbage was for people to focus less on glitter and more on the gold. Some people can’t walk out of a gym w/o feeling extreme fatigue/pump/burn.
I will agree with your last two sentences. However, an olympic lifter isn’t one of those types of people. The point is that if you can’t feel something work you can’t recruit it–this is the entire point behind Dave Tate’s gluteal amnesia. He couldn’t feel them working, and he had some latent imbalances, and the process fed on itself for years until he
The whole point is that muscle imbalances TURN INTO health risks if not addressed. There are literally tens of thousands of people who live this reality. However, the same mechanisms that help move muscle imbalances into health risks or injuries are also the mechanisms that prevent optimal performance–only sub-clinically.
Have you never thought that an olympic lifter with nearly zero chest training for years might have a latent injury risk if he decided to straight max the bench every day out of the blue? Or even 2x a week? That his overwhelming tricep and shoulder strength conditioning and non-existent pectoral conditioning might create a great situation for an injury due to compensation or over-taxing an unconditioned muscle? Nobody in their right minds goes and runs the 400m sprint without making sure the muscles involved are both conditioned and working properly. They especially don’t go running 400m sprints if they are bench pressers that never stretched their legs or did any work for them.
If people did either of these things they are asking for serious injury. This is the reason I suggested that he bench only 2x a week instead of every day, that he focus more on bench volume, and that he work on pectoral activation and assistance work specifically. 1) you need to be able to feel a muscle working to activate and recruit it properly 2) you need to condition a largely UNUSED muscle to the loads and frequency you are going to be asking it GRADUALLY 3) the least taxing way to do this is to use assistance exercises with lighter weights to get into things before transitioning into only bench press or daily maxing on the bench. I am very well aware that “pecs” don’t make a big powerlifting bench. They can, however, hold you back or injure you.
- Depending on a person’s leverages they might NEVER be able to bench well without dedicated assistance work. It’s cheap insurance, especially if like I suggested you are only doing it a couple times a week. It costs next to no recovery resources and is not going to be the thing that puts you over.