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PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2006 5:59 pm 
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I seem to remember reading, in more than one place, that when performing the bench press you should not allow your elbows to drop lower than your shoulder. I think the reason was to minimize the risk of shoulder injuries. If you shouldn't dip lower than your shoulder, then why is it people say you must lower the bar to your chest? In order to do this you must be lowering the elbows below the shoulder line. The directions for the bench press on this site indicate (by video) the bar down to the chest method.

Can anyone explain this apparent contridiction?

And while I'm here. Has anyone got any good chest workout routines?
I recently read part of an article saying that the best workout consisted of:

Mon 2x5 reps heavy
wed 2x10 reps medium
fri 2x15 reps light

The reason was something to do with the fact that the body grows muscle in two ways.
1. I think was something to do with load.
2. Something about with the length of time the muscle is contracted.
I may be remembering wrong. I only got a quick glance at the article.
But it said that this kind of routine made the best of the two growing methods.

Thanks
D


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 09, 2006 8:55 am 
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The big difference between a bench press and a parallel bar dip is the angle. You would have to bench press at a steep decline to mimic the angle of a dip, in which case you would be using a shorter range-of-motion.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 09, 2006 8:57 am 
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Overhead presses = longest ROM
Incline presses = longer ROM
Flat presses = medium ROM
Declines/Dips = shorter ROM


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2006 2:56 pm 
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I'm very sorry, but I didn't understand either of those relplies.
Could someone attempt to explain it in dummy terms please.
Thanks though.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2006 10:40 pm 
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They can go just a slight bit lower, but not much. Don't let the bar touch your chest, just get it close.

As for a good routine, that depends on your goals.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2006 10:58 pm 
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I think you should touch the bar to your chest unless you have shoulder problems already.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2006 8:10 am 
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I agree, touching the bar to your chest is fine for most people, just don't bounch the weight.


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 Post subject: Bench Press Control
PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2006 2:19 pm 
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At the bottom of the bench press, wherever that is, your elbows should not be pointing down. Control is the key to bench pressing. Until you feel you have complete control of the weight, I would focus on medium to heavy dumbell presses, both flat and incline. As with barbell presses, you want your triceps parallel to the floor before you push the dumbells (not elbows pointing downward). I, for one, have achieved more chest development with heavy dumbells, as opposed to barbell benching.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2006 7:45 pm 
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Triceps parallel to the floor would be the same as keeping the bar from touching your chest and would eliminate one added benefit of pressing with dumbbells: the ability to get a bigger ROM.

here is a nice link to a competitive style bench press picture:

http://www.weighttrainersunited.com/compbench.html

and here is one of someone doing Close grips with the needed elbow range of motion to get the bar to his chest:

http://www.weighttrainersunited.com/closegripbench.html


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2006 10:17 pm 
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The width with which you grip the bar would make a difference in your range of motion. I prescribe to the theory that load, not range of motion, calls the most muscle fibers into play. There is a point of contraction where one can support the most weight. If the ROM includes this point, muscle growth will be more likely to occur, regardless of how limited the range may seem. There are many published materials on this subject which often refer to it as "static contraction."

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 13, 2006 7:44 am 
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I disagree. Partial reps are best used in moderation (if at all). Meanwhile, doing extra-heavy partials on a regular basis would subject the body to more wear and tear than using lighter weights with textbook form.


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 Post subject: Partial Reps
PostPosted: Fri Oct 13, 2006 10:43 am 
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Matt, I must respectfully disagree with your comment. Less risk of potential injury lies in peforming heavy, partial reps (performed in the body's best leverage and strength range) than full range movements that can weaken joints and connective tissues by exceeding their structural integrity. Training with heavy weight actually strengthens connective tissues around the joints. Extreme stretching, which often results from lack of control and "poor form," can cause the real damage. While I incorporate full-range movements into my exercises, I always finish my sets with a few partial reps and at least one brief hold or squeeze in the range I feel strongest. At age 65, I can keep up with 19 and 20-year olds, on the bench or off the bench.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 13, 2006 12:00 pm 
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I don't see how lowering a barbell to the chest constitutes extreme stretching. This is a very natural range of motion, and well within the range of what most healthy men and women can do comfortably.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 13, 2006 12:13 pm 
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Also, I agree that heavy lifting strengthens connective tissues and joints. It can even improve bone density. However, going very heavy every workout may not allow for adaquate recovery. For example, I would never recommend doing a 1RM in every workout.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 13, 2006 1:06 pm 
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So I would like to chime in as I see some good points here and would like to see if I can make some distinctions.

First of all, some common problems with both methods: if you do static holds or partial reps, usually the latter, then you are going to use more weight. This is fine if you have prepared yourself and built up gradually, but if you just throw on 125% of your 1rm and start rolling partial reps off the line, then you are looking to get injured because your joints take time to adapt. Now the same is true for touching the chest, if you are weak at the bottom and try to get around this by slamming the weight toward your chest at mach 1 and then rebound through the sticking point, then you are looking to hurt your shoulders and probably a lot of other things. This is just to say, newbies in the gym can get injured doing just about anything not because of some inherent flaw with the exercises but because they are just stupid and don't understand something they read in a magazine. They here, more "weight is superior" out of context and just load up.

Now for the experience trainee, I think both methods are good and individual results may very with some mix of the two methods. So I wanted to clarify one point, Keith when you say you do static holds and partial reps, these dont need to be 1RM but just more weigh than you can carry through a full range of motion? Now if this is the case Matt, then I dont see a problem because a 1RM is extremely relative to the specifics of the exercise. I mean you dont hear people saying you are "maxing out" on dumbbell flys because you are db bench pressing with 3x your fly weight. partial reps and full ROM reps are different exercises and you should treat percentages of 1RM differently for each.

Keith, another question, I understand the idea of maximum leverage but in the bench press, you have maximum leverage at the very top, so I am not sure of how you are training your point of maximum leverage somewhere in the middle. The worst leverage is in the middle somewhere (depending on the person) and that is where most people have their "sticking point". The advantage to working out naer this position is that upon reversal of the weight, you must produce the most force, so doing so at your weakest point will make that point stronger. I know for me, I probably have to use less weight if I take a bench press to this point, rather than all the way down. Usually partial reps stop well sort of this sticking point and that is what allows more weight, but they do nothing to help your strength in the full ROM. I find doing static holds at this weak point to be a great help as a static hold builds the ability to strain against a weight without movement and during a maximum bench press, you will do exactly this straining near your sticking point.

Now, I can see problems training with full range of motion if you have a big deficit between what you can hold at different points in the bench because some points will not gain any strength as they wait around for the weaker ones to catch up.

So my thoughts are in short, that you should train with both methods based on your needs and be smart about recovery and load as to avoid injury.


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