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 Post subject: Comment on Floor Press
PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 2:10 pm 
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This is more of a comment than a question. I did DB Floor presses yesterday and was surprised at what I learned about shoulder position. One of those cases of being able to give the lecture, but not doing it.

Basically I know well that the goal of a bench is not to get the bar as high as possible, but rather to get the arms to lock-out. Its easier, and much better for you, if your shoulders are down (toward the floor) at the top of the movement. I can tell anybody that.

But as soon as I did floor press I was surprised at the subconscious/reflex tendency to lift my shoulders at the top of the motion. It required concentration on every rep to stop doing it.

Its also surprising how much it effects the entire ROM when you're focusing on ending up with your shoulders still touching the floor.

Like I said, just a comment really...

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 2:35 pm 
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hmm, sounds like a good cue.
Maybe reason for me to practice, warmup with these?


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 3:49 pm 
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btw, i'm loving these shoulder-related posts you've been putting up recently.

I love the floor press for various reasons. I only every used to use it for myself and training partners, and the odd person i trained who specifically wanted a big bench and we were able to rotate "special" exercises, plus people who had shoulder issues but still wanted to bench. However, i've started just using it for beginner bench pressers, too. I'm always looking for ways to keep people progressing, without over complicating and most of all, not spending a large portion of the workout tweaking technique and not getting a decent training effect (I could bang on about technique for hours).

A trend with me recently is, I teach someone to bench. We go through the motions with basic technique. They get the hang of it, then they get overzealous. Start diving bombing the weight down, losing tightness between reps (shoulders protracting at the top, as you pointed out), losing the bar bath on the eccentric or as the bar changes direction (especially on the change of direction). I then just switch bench press for floor press. I force a slower eccentric and a pause on the floor. I also tell them not to let the shoulders fly off the floor at the top.

Honestly, every time we go back to bench there's a significant improvement. More weight on the bar with better, more "cemented" form.

On another note my floor press and bench press progress concurrently. I could almost exclusively train the floor press and I know if it goes up, my bench is most likely up, too.

Oscar, if your training program allows for the flexibility, I would simply switch bench for floor press. Lower slower than normal and pause for a split second. Give it 4-6 weeks - you just want to see a significant improvement on week one, and that feeling where you have really sussed the lift. Then switch back. I would almost guarantee you'll be stronger on bench press, especially if you've never trained the floor press. Also, I would be even surer of an improvement if you use leg drive on bench press. Personally I get good pop from my legs on bench press, I think it accounts for a lot. Floor press forces me to muscle it up almost exclusively with the upper body.

As an aside, as I try various other training approaches, and try out others with clients, I just can't see passed "variation without change". There is something about training other variations of the same lift, getting better at them, then switching back which makes you better. Louis Simmons in a video somewhere said you need to become more "skilled", which makes sense. If a variation makes you uncomfortable, then mastering it, forcing the groove and making it comfortable will make you a better lifter. Many of his analogies stick with me but one in this regard was, paraphrased,

"training the same variation over and over again is like learning to spell your own name. You can only learn how to spell it correctly, and that's it. You can't learn how to spell it any better than the correct spelling. You can only spell it wrong after that".

He also said it's like being stuck on a desert island with one book. You'll get smarter but, your capacity to get more intelligent is limited. However, if you were stuck on a desert island with 500 hundred books, you'll end up far smarter than in the first example.

Many people either forget or don't realise that strength training is a skill.

Just a perspective that has always stayed in my mind.

KPj

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 10:51 pm 
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good stuff.

Maybe use it for assitance on Bench or Press day?
Right now Im' just starting my 3rd 4-week 531 cycle and am making progress with Bench. But I am always looking for new variations like you said. And, keeping shoulders back and down is not automatic for me.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 11:39 pm 
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Kenny, my reaction was the same as Oscar's. I immediately though of using in my bench accessory slot, rather than in place of flat barbell bench. I'm currently doing flat bench DB presses as my accessory. Would it be better to keep that as accessory and switch in floor press in place of BB bench? And do you usually do BB floor press or DB?

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2012 3:51 pm 
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KPj wrote:
btw, i'm loving these shoulder-related posts you've been putting up recently.


Cool!

KPj wrote:
...Start diving bombing the weight down, losing tightness between reps (shoulders protracting at the top


Makes my shoulder hurt just thinking about it.

So here's something tangential. My sometime training partner showed up at the gym for a session with my trainer on squats, so we went together. The trainer noticed he "twisted" a final squat rep at high intensity, that is, shifted his weight around to put the weight on his stronger side so that side could do the work. I've always believed my shoulder issues were caused by shifting weight to my stronger side, "dive-bombing" the weight, losing tightness, and trying to move the bar as high as possible, shoving my shoulders high.

KPj wrote:
Personally I get good pop from my legs on bench press, I think it accounts for a lot. Floor press forces me to muscle it up almost exclusively with the upper body.


Hmmm, what about the rest of it like arch in back? I was keeping an arched back and pinched shoulder blades, as best as I could anyway getting into position by myself.

KPj wrote:
As an aside, as I try various other training approaches, and try out others with clients, I just can't see passed "variation without change". There is something about training other variations of the same lift, getting better at them, then switching back which makes you better.


Have been meaning to start another thread on this...

KPj wrote:
Many people either forget or don't realise that strength training is a skill.


I tell my non-lifting friends this. When you see a ballet dancer, everybody comments on the grace, but nobody notices the strength because you aren't supposed to, it's supposed to look effortless. When you see a lifter you notice the strength but not the gracefulness, but without the gracefullness you don't get the strength, just like the ballet dancer can't have grace without strength. When skill and strength are both present, it always looks easy to the uninitiated.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2012 4:29 am 
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Jungledoc wrote:
Kenny, my reaction was the same as Oscar's. I immediately though of using in my bench accessory slot, rather than in place of flat barbell bench. I'm currently doing flat bench DB presses as my accessory. Would it be better to keep that as accessory and switch in floor press in place of BB bench? And do you usually do BB floor press or DB?


To be honest, I think both would work. What's best just "depends". If you're already doing DB bench as an accessory, then it would be really convenient to just switch that for DB floor press and have minimal impact on the set up of your current training program. I would suggest this as a first port of call, actually, to avoid that urge we lifters get when we read or hear about something that sounds good on paper and want to build our whole program around the new information.

By using DB's, all you really lose is specificity if the goal is to help increase your bench (you know, for the life of me, I always have trouble pronouncing "specificity"). However there is a trade off. If you have the notion to do this based on the shoulder-blade-feedback Ken mentioned, then DB's will be fine and I would still think you would see some carryover to BB bench if it allows you to dial in on this more. If anything, you feel what's going on with your scap a little more with DB's so it may even be a better place to start.

I usually do BB floor press, as opposed to DB's. I do use DB floor press though. I've used it on and off in my own training and also with clients. Being honest i've mostly used it with clients who have shoulder issues, we just go to floor variations to limit shoulder rotation whilst we correct the issues they have. I have intended on giving the DB variation a little more love in my training for months now but, just not had a chance to fit it in yet (my accessory choices are limited due to time constraints, so I only add things that I know I can do consistently).

In terms of the "variation without change"/switching out the main lift, sometimes I think half the benefit lies in stopping the original variation, in this case Bench Press. For example, when was the last time you went more than 1-2 weeks without BB bench pressing? Most people rarely go 1 week without BB bench pressing. I think it was Pavel, but not certain, that said (paraphrasing again), "to adapt to training is to never adapt to training". Ideally you want to be adapt-ING, but you never want to have "adapt-ED". This doesn't mean you need to change your lifts, though. Most will do this by fluctuating load, intensity, reps, rest, etc. However, we adapt to exercises, too, not just rep ranges. So changing variation is another road to go down in this respect. Sometimes i'm not sure if it's the variation that makes us stronger or the lack of training the original lift that helps, but it's probably both.

So, um, in short, I would try going down the assistance route first. Remember all you really need is to see improvement in it then see what that improvement has lead to, if anything. For example if you start off with 20KG DB's, and 8 weeks later you're doing it with 30KG DB's, what has happened, if anything, elsewhere? It can get complicated attributing improvement on one thing to just one other small part of your training but, if you add something in and something else jumps up more than usual or improvement takes place where you were otherwise relatively stagnant, then you can be sure it had "something" to do with it and gives you more reason to do more of the same.

KPj

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2012 4:40 am 
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KenDowns wrote:
So here's something tangential. My sometime training partner showed up at the gym for a session with my trainer on squats, so we went together. The trainer noticed he "twisted" a final squat rep at high intensity, that is, shifted his weight around to put the weight on his stronger side so that side could do the work. I've always believed my shoulder issues were caused by shifting weight to my stronger side, "dive-bombing" the weight, losing tightness, and trying to move the bar as high as possible, shoving my shoulders high.


I actually have the same problem as your training partner. Started a couple of years ago with a subtle shift to one side. I actually have videos of this I need to get up. Then I tore the hamstring on the side I was shifting to (not lifting heavy things, though). Now, as I start lifting heavy again, on both squat and DL, i feel the non-torn side doing more. I spent months limiting what I lifted based on how I "felt" each side was contributing. So I wouldn't go heavier if I felt I couldn't get both sides to do even work. Sumo DL's expose this the most and, after a relatively intense phase of conventional DL's and box squats, trying to get strength back, I've switched to sumo. First session (which was on friday) and I was certain I tore the GOOD hamstring. Almost spent friday just crying into my chalk bucket (I was about 1 year dealing with the other one I tore). Felt much better the next day, though, and now just feels like i've trained it, so i'm ok. However, it's definitely something to watch out for.


KenDowns wrote:
Hmmm, what about the rest of it like arch in back? I was keeping an arched back and pinched shoulder blades, as best as I could anyway getting into position by myself.


Yeh, i get a good arch, and very uncomfortable tightness, largely helped by position of the legs. I still arch and get a tight middle/uper back on floor press, but I think the inability to use leg drive in floor press is why it's a valuable lift for me because leg drive, I feel, is a "strength" on standard bench press so floor press forces me to press without one of my best assets.

KenDowns wrote:
I tell my non-lifting friends this. When you see a ballet dancer, everybody comments on the grace, but nobody notices the strength because you aren't supposed to, it's supposed to look effortless. When you see a lifter you notice the strength but not the gracefulness, but without the gracefullness you don't get the strength, just like the ballet dancer can't have grace without strength. When skill and strength are both present, it always looks easy to the uninitiated.


This is a great way of putting it, and i'm going to steal the analogy :grin: My g/f was a ballet dancer, and now a teacher, so she'll appreciate it, too.

KPj

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2012 6:50 am 
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Kenny, Thanks for the great response!

Do you use much more weight on DBs for floor press vs. bench?

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