T Nation

What Is A Bench Press?

[quote]Geography wrote:
Atleast you’ll never hear people bring up their squat, deadlift or cleans at a party…ever. I’m to busy hunting for the rum or whiskey at parties anyways.[/quote]

At my gym we hold a strength competition every year. It used to consist of just bench press and squats. Eventually squatting was dropped all-together because so few of the competitors actually squatted on a regular basis, if at all. Pretty sad.

Who the fuck cares? A lot of people can bench more than I can. I can do more cock pushups, though.

Its like asking somebody how long their commute is. I ask to get a rough idea, not an exact figure. So if I ask somebody who does not compete but just works out, I am asking to get a rough figure. If I have to limit my question to only people who follow a rigorous set rules then I can never ask a question about anything.

How many calories do you eat each day?
How much do you squat with?
Is your girlfriend good looking?

No exact rules. Just trying to communicate. Exact rules are for competitions.

[quote]Darren 2.0 wrote:
The Bench Press is an exercise that can be performed many different ways. There are tons of variations.

It can be done with a pause, touch and go, without touching the chest, etc…

[/quote]

I agree with you, but that is why you can give them all names like closegrip bench, illegal wide bench, partials, pause reps, etc

Where in VA are you, I am in Northern VA?

[quote]CaliforniaLaw wrote:
Why do you care how much other people can bench? Is it so you can compare yourself to every schmuck on the street.

It sounds to me like you’re lifting low numbers. Otherwise, you wouldn’t agonize over whether the guy you meet at the party can really bench 315.
[/quote]

I do compare myself to others in terms of strength. That is what competition is all about. If somebody lifts more than me that motivates me to try harder. Without competition we often do not achieve our full potential.

You assume a lot about me from a hypothetical question. This question didn’t come from a party, it came from my discussion of this point with another member on this site, so I was trying to see what other people thought about it. People have shared their opinions on it (whether a bench can count if you don’t touch your chest) and so I appreciate that. What are your thoughts on that issue? Would you say you could bench a certain weight if it didn’t touch your chest?

My lifting numbers, while they could always be better, are not low. I have been a relatively successful PLer for 11 years. I used 315 just as example, to me the question is the same if I used 135 or 545 as the weight. Actually the stronger people get the higher standards I hold them to, because they should know what is going on.

[quote]malonetd wrote:
How about this: the bench press is only an event in a powerlifting meet and that’s all. If you haven’t competed and pressed a weight in a competition, your claimed lift is bogus. If you have never competed, your bench press is ZERO as far as I’m concerned.
[/quote]

I agree with you and that is the standard that I hold myself to, but not enough people compete (unfortunately) so I think it is a little unfair to discount all of their lifts.

[quote]nptitim wrote:
People have shared their opinions on it (whether a bench can count if you don’t touch your chest) and so I appreciate that. What are your thoughts on that issue? Would you say you could bench a certain weight if it didn’t touch your chest?
[/quote]

Here’s what you don’t get: I don’t care what other people tell me about their numbers. I don’t think, “Joe can bench 300. I need to outlift him.” “Oh, wait, I wonder if he really can do that? I need to find out, to know whether I am stronger than he is.”

I also don’t compare my salary or dick size to anyone else’s.

When you are less insecure, you will understand what I have written.

“no spotter” ?

I just crushed my face this saturday by doing a 10x3 and thinking, “hey, this is my light set” (wave loading) I get 1 rep, on the second I come half-way, try and rack it on the low catches, and get 205 sittin’ on my face. For the record I don’t want anything that weighs 205 to be sittin on my face. Ever.

I’ll take credit for the fact that I look around before I started to make sure there were people around. That way I was just shamed instead of dead.

[quote]nptitim wrote:
malonetd wrote:
How about this: the bench press is only an event in a powerlifting meet and that’s all. If you haven’t competed and pressed a weight in a competition, your claimed lift is bogus. If you have never competed, your bench press is ZERO as far as I’m concerned.

I agree with you and that is the standard that I hold myself to, but not enough people compete (unfortunately) so I think it is a little unfair to discount all of their lifts.[/quote]

You seem to be doing just fine on that. I mean, that is what you are doing, right? Trying to discount other people’s lifts if they don’t fit your own personal definition?

Everyone understands that powerlifting meets have rules that need to be followed. That doesn’t mean I didn’t really do a bench press because I brought the bar damned close to my chest but just didn’t let it touch.

That other thread that started this discussion had NOTHING to do with powerlifting and EVERYTHING to do with why touching your chest isn’t necessary for gaining the most physical benefit from that movement.

While some skinny newbies may be cheating their asses off just to press more weight with a spotter, that isn’t what I was referring to. I’m not a newbie. I’m not skinny. The way I train has worked for me. Therefore, obviously to look at the way I train and try to discredit the lift is pointless…because it works for my own goals.

I started lifting with powerlifters. I always lifted for size AND strength. You don’t have a point if it works.

[quote]CaliforniaLaw wrote:
When you are less insecure, you will understand what I have written.[/quote]

If everyone follows the same guidelines, why is it negative to compare? To me comparing myself is not about insecurity, it is about forming an accurate assesment of yourself. The beauty (and the brutality) of weights is that they let you know right where you stand.

You have had two posts with a hostile tone toward me. Why?

[quote]Professor X wrote:
You seem to be doing just fine on that. I mean, that is what you are doing, right? Trying to discount other people’s lifts if they don’t fit your own personal definition?

Therefore, obviously to look at the way I train and try to discredit the lift is pointless…because it works for my own goals.

I started lifting with powerlifters. I always lifted for size AND strength. You don’t have a point if it works.[/quote]

Prof - I am not trying to discredit your lift, just trying to get you to qualify it. Since you haven’t specified how much you stop short on the bench, it is hard to know how much to qualify it. If you are really 1/2 inch short then little qualification is necessary, you may only be making the lift 0~3% easier. If you (or anybody) was stopping short several inches (I know you said you don’t do that) that would require a larger qualification.

I have said a million times that stopping short can be effective for increasing size and it is not bad. There is a huge difference between not fitting the definition of a specific exercise and being a bad or useless exercise. Some exercises have pretty set definitions. I see no problem with encouraging people to try to use those standard definitions.

If I practice with a 12 lb shot put and get bigger and more powerful with that, that is fine. But if I say I threw the shot 60 feet, which is true, but it was only a 12 lb shot put instead of a 16 lb shot put, it changes the equation a little bit. It doesn’t do anything to take away from the size and power I built using the 12 lb shot, but I should qualify what I was doing if I was talking with somebody else who threw the shot. That is all I am saying on that issue, nothing more and nothing less.

Now, if you want to talk about pausing a bench… :wink:

[quote]taylorsj wrote:
Geography wrote:
Atleast you’ll never hear people bring up their squat, deadlift or cleans at a party…ever. I’m to busy hunting for the rum or whiskey at parties anyways.

At my gym we hold a strength competition every year. It used to consist of just bench press and squats. Eventually squatting was dropped all-together because so few of the competitors actually squatted on a regular basis, if at all. Pretty sad.

[/quote]

Thats really sad.

[quote]malonetd wrote:
How about this: the bench press is only an event in a powerlifting meet and that’s all. If you haven’t competed and pressed a weight in a competition, your claimed lift is bogus. If you have never competed, your bench press is ZERO as far as I’m concerned.

[/quote]

This is a bullshit attitude. The bench press is not ‘only an event in a powerlifting meet’; it is an exercise used to build the body and a feat of strength. It is used in Powerlifting as one of three events used a means to test the athlete’s over all strength - it shouldn’t simply be a sport-specific skill.

While many gym bench presses wouldn’t pass in a PL meet; a shirted bench wouldn’t pass with anyone that’s not a geared powerlifter. Even a gym bench with a bounce often has more credibility than a bench in a 2-ply shirt or even some of the stronger 1-plies: few if any get a full 100lbs or more out of a bounce.

This is one of the big problems with PL (or more importantly, the attitudes of PLers like you) - it is becoming more and more of a sport-specific skill where once it was supposed to be a test of brute strength.

[quote]bigjoey wrote:
malonetd wrote:
This is one of the big problems with PL (or more importantly, the attitudes of PLers like you) - it is becoming more and more of a sport-specific skill where once it was supposed to be a test of brute strength. [/quote]

What’s wrong with powerlifting being about skill and not just brute strength? I think that is a good thing, just like any other sport the athletes train to compete. Therefore they try to perfect their technique as much as possible to get the best possible lifts.

[quote]PaulR wrote:
bigjoey wrote:
malonetd wrote:
This is one of the big problems with PL (or more importantly, the attitudes of PLers like you) - it is becoming more and more of a sport-specific skill where once it was supposed to be a test of brute strength.

What’s wrong with powerlifting being about skill and not just brute strength? I think that is a good thing, just like any other sport the athletes train to compete. Therefore they try to perfect their technique as much as possible to get the best possible lifts.[/quote]

What’s wrong with it is the use of all of the shirts, outfits and “technique” allows people without the “brute strength” of past powerlifters or the size to still compete. Many feel it is like allowing someone who has paid less dues to jump in the game as long as they have “help” outside of themselves.

I have no desire to spark another debate on that issue, but that is why there is controversy. It is also why someone claiming that no one’s bench press is worth anything unless they compete is a lame concept. That is like saying no one can be into “bodybuilding” unless they actually jump on stage. We all know this isn’t true. Look at Vic Richards who doesn’t compete but still got paid to do guest posings for bodybuilding. Would anyone be stupid enough to say he isn’t a bodybuilder just because he never had a goal of being Mr. Olympia? Hell, he’s bigger than most Mr. Olympias ever were.

Some people get off on trying to discredit the attempts of everyone else if it doesn’t fit into their narrow perspective…just like the concept that started this thread.

[quote]PaulR wrote:
bigjoey wrote:
malonetd wrote:
This is one of the big problems with PL (or more importantly, the attitudes of PLers like you) - it is becoming more and more of a sport-specific skill where once it was supposed to be a test of brute strength.

What’s wrong with powerlifting being about skill and not just brute strength? I think that is a good thing, just like any other sport the athletes train to compete. Therefore they try to perfect their technique as much as possible to get the best possible lifts.[/quote]

The point is that PL was never supposed to be a ‘game’ sport, it was supposed to be a sport which tested ability - like running. In running, the fastest man wins. In powerlifting, the strongest man should win - and in the past, they did.

The current WPO champ is Jeff Lewis. Jeff is one strong hombre - but his fatness lets him make better use of the gear; and a greater proportion of his total comes from the gear than a guy like Andy Bolton. I don’t think he’s stronger than Andy; but he has a bigger total.

In any case, you can’t really know for sure - and that’s the sad thing. I think that Mendy’s holding both records in the bench is good for the sport and proof that geared lifters are still often the strongest in the world - but I doubt that Lewis would be able to get the raw squat record, and his deadlift doesn’t begin to compare with Bolton’s or that of a host of other lifters.

By the way, I am not against geared lifters or 100% against geared lifting. But I think that rubbishing the lifts of others because they haven’t done it in a comp is stupid - and somewhat hypocritical since most gym lifts aren’t assisted by gear.

[quote]rrjc5488 wrote:
Who the fuck cares? A lot of people can bench more than I can. I can do more cock pushups, though.[/quote]

Because you handle so many cocks?

[quote]
malonetd wrote:
How about this: the bench press is only an event in a powerlifting meet and that’s all. If you haven’t competed and pressed a weight in a competition, your claimed lift is bogus. If you have never competed, your bench press is ZERO as far as I’m concerned.[/quote]

For those that missed it, the above statement was made sarcastically. I was taking the original poster’s idea of pushing powerlifting rules and standards into people’s gym lifts one step further. I would think by reading my other posts people would have gotten this. But alas…

[quote]nptitim wrote:
CaliforniaLaw wrote:
When you are less insecure, you will understand what I have written.

If everyone follows the same guidelines, why is it negative to compare? To me comparing myself is not about insecurity, it is about forming an accurate assesment of yourself. The beauty (and the brutality) of weights is that they let you know right where you stand.

You have had two posts with a hostile tone toward me. Why?[/quote]

He is concerned that you have the same avatar as him.

[quote]Taquito wrote:
“no spotter” ?

I just crushed my face this saturday by doing a 10x3 and thinking, “hey, this is my light set” (wave loading) I get 1 rep, on the second I come half-way, try and rack it on the low catches, and get 205 sittin’ on my face. For the record I don’t want anything that weighs 205 to be sittin on my face. Ever.

I’ll take credit for the fact that I look around before I started to make sure there were people around. That way I was just shamed instead of dead.[/quote]

Okay, I just have to comment. Throwing a failed lift up towards the low catches does not sound like a good plan… holy shit! If you failed a squat would you throw it forward into the rack hoping it would hit a catch?

If I was going to fail a bench I’d rather keep it in the groove and under control, setting it back down on my “chest”.

If there is a point where I’m benching enough I can’t set it down safely (temporarily), then it’s time to lift with spotters or in a rack or cage setting.

I hear Darwin calling…

While I’m bitching, I also get paranoid when I hear about people with little kids crawling around or on them while they lift.