T Nation

Specificity vs. Variety

#1

Hello guys, I’ll jump right in. When doing high frequency training for let’s say bench press (3 times a week), would you rather do the same exact exercise in order to train neural efficiency or would you do three different bench variations to hit different angles and protect your lift from any weaknesses? Both approaches seem to be popular. Some say you have to do exactly the same in order to ger better at it while others will say you have to do a variation of the same exercise to fix any shortfalls. Thanks in advance for any input.

#2

I try to get more specific the closer I am to a meet. I can do lot’s of variations of bench in the off season, but when peaking nothing beats comp bench.

Another reason for variation is injury prevention. 3X/week benching comp style is a lot of stress on the shoulders. Using things like narrow grip, boards, and bands can help keep you lifting in the long run.

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#3

Thanks brother, appreciate your input. I guess for me the greatest concern would be overusing the same muscles and injuring myself (like you said) if going for the same exercise three times per week. Otherwise I really like tge idea of just nailing the same exercise until it becomes my second nature. It has worked for my squat in the past. But bench press is more dangerous here cause shoulders are just so prone to get injured.

#4

Sounds like someone has discovered conjugate.

#5

Specificity for better, variety for stronger.

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#6

Except for when I’m peaking I wouldn’t normally do the exact same lift multiple times per week. You can work on technique without doing the actual comp lift by using close variations, like touch and go or long pauses for example. Unless you are totally new to lifting I wouldn’t recommend doing comp bench press 3x/week.

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#7

If you’re not in prep mode, I highly recommend variation and lots of bodybuilding focusing more on higher repetitions. As someone who was too heavy too often and too specific, listen to what I’m telling you. You will inevitably get hurt sooner if you don’t.

Focus on building muscle, not strength when you are not prepping for a contest. That doesn’t mean you can’t practice the competition lifts as done at the meet, but looking back, I never should have made them my main focus when not in prep mode.