bench press technique, what grip hits what

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Bananas
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bench press technique, what grip hits what

Post by Bananas » Mon Jan 15, 2007 3:46 am

ok, i have long arms and am wondering about bench press grips.

what is the all around grip?
what grip focuses on pecs?
what grip focuses on triceps?
what grip focuses on front delt?

(length or grip, elbows in/out at bottom of rep, angle of lower arm to upper arm, angle of upper arm to lats, etc).


im trying to figure out what grip i need to work on. i want to do a general grip to work everything and gain strength. once i do a general grip, if i stick in a certain spot i want to do a grip that will help strengthen the sticking point

so far i remember sticking on the last half of myreps. i believe my elbows were OUT at the bottom of those reps, but i could be mistaken. my upper arm was at aout a 45 degree angle from my lats. again, i have long arms.

edit: another quick question. one of my friends pushes the bar up and tehn curves towards his head, does this have anything to do with certain muscles being stronger than others? what about curving towarsd your feet?

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Post by Matt Z » Mon Jan 15, 2007 12:03 pm

With a standard bench press grip your elbows should be at about a 90-degree bend when the bar touches your chest. Going wider than this will shorten your range of motion and probably allow you to move a little more weight, but it won't engage your pectorals any more than a standard grip. Also, a very wide grip can be rough on the wrists, so unless your looking to get into powerlifting competition, stick to a standard grip.

Meanwhile, close-grip bench presses can be done with a shoulder-width or slightly narrower grip to target the front delts and triceps (and improve the top half of your regular bench press). However, don't move your hands in any narrower than the sides of your ribcage or you'll place excess stress on your wrists and elbows.

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Post by Matt Z » Mon Jan 15, 2007 12:15 pm

"edit: another quick question. one of my friends pushes the bar up and tehn curves towards his head, does this have anything to do with certain muscles being stronger than others? what about curving towarsd your feet?"

Lifting the bar in an arch is the most natural and strongest path for the bar to travel. This will varry somewhat from person to person, but once you find your grove it will become second nature.

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Post by Bananas » Mon Jan 15, 2007 4:11 pm

thanks for the reply matt, especially about the arch. i'll have to let my friends know its ok to do that and we shouldnt help each other to not do it.

another quick question. should my upper arms be straight out, making a straight line from elbow to elbow, or should my upper arms be pulled in towards my lats a little?

trying to figure out that dimension of benching still.

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Post by jwcalla » Mon Jan 15, 2007 7:11 pm

Bananas wrote:another quick question. should my upper arms be straight out, making a straight line from elbow to elbow, or should my upper arms be pulled in towards my lats a little?
The exercise description on this site clearly says to lower the bar to the upper chest (upper arms more straight out). Others (like a Stuart McRobert) claim that that can be bad for the shoulders and argue that the weight should be lowered to the lower chest (upper arms more like 45° out from your sides).

Whichever is more comfortable, I guess. I personally do the latter, but now that you've brought it to my attention, I'm going to try the former for a set or two and see how I like it. :)

John

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Post by Bananas » Mon Jan 15, 2007 8:21 pm

ok i guess i will have to see what works my pecs best.



i just got home from the gym and im tired and shakey. does this mean i over trained? after i dead lifted i felt really worn out, and would of thrown up if i didnt wait 4 minutes between the sets. im really getting pissed at the progress im making. i even started eating at least 3,000 calories a day and i feel no different when i go in. i also only work out 3 times a week, give a whole week for recovery for each muscle group. how come it feels like its so hard to do 3 sets of rows, but i come back next week and im on the same weight? what is this dizziness coming from?

how come my friends can do like 10 more sets than i can, and tbarely start to feel like i do?

sorry for ranting guys, i just cannot get into a good grove while working. out. its been taking along time to find it.

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Post by jwcalla » Mon Jan 15, 2007 11:47 pm

Well, I guess what you're finding is that doing this is actually very difficult. And for some, more difficult than others.

It might take a good week or two to get into the "rhythm", but honestly, it doesn't get much easier as time goes on.

J

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Post by Bananas » Tue Jan 16, 2007 12:15 am

yeah i guess i just have to slow down and wait for the results to come. its hard to wait a week, and when you go back to push the same weight again. then you have to spend time figuring out what you are doing wrong, and wait another week before you can test it. but i guess when i do figure it all out, it will be nice.

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Post by hoosegow » Tue Jan 16, 2007 9:19 am

Eat more and eat better. Also it sounds like you hit a plateau (sp?). Completely change up your routine. If you are doing 3X12's, go heavier and do 4X6s. Do drop sets. Pyramid. Try some HIIT or periodization. Use dumbells and kettlebells instead of barbells and machines. CHANGE.

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Post by Matt Z » Tue Jan 16, 2007 10:50 am

"another quick question. should my upper arms be straight out, making a straight line from elbow to elbow, or should my upper arms be pulled in towards my lats a little?"

You can definitely move more weight if you lower the bar to your lower chest with your elbows somewhat closer to your body (about a 45-degree angle). Meanwhile, I find this method feels much more comfortable, natural and stable. Plus it builds muscle well. In fact, I believe this method is better for building both size and stregth.

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Post by Matt Z » Tue Jan 16, 2007 11:06 am

PS.) As for the shakyness, you might want to see your doctor to rule out mono, lymes disease, diabetes, etc.

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Post by Ryan A » Tue Jan 16, 2007 12:04 pm

Well I agree with the plateau thing. I would do this:

(1) Start benching twice per week not to failure on either day but just a hard workout. You dont have to completely change up whatever routine you are doing, just add the extra exercises as follows,

On the day you did your chest workout, do pause bench presses instead ( I would start with about 70% of whatever you were doing regular presses with) and do 2-4 sets depending on how you respond to training twice per week. Pause bench press: lower to your chest level and pause as close to touching as possible for about 3 seconds (dont shortcut this), no push it up as fast as possible (it will likely crawl up on your first time doing this) and dont pause too much at the top, lower down and do your next rep.

I would train triceps on this day 4-5 sets total (no warmup needed) on whatever exercises you want; probably split over 2 exercises, 2 and 3 respectively. If this is too much, cut it back a bit.

Now on another day of training, I would do DB bench presses or DB incline Bench presses. 2-3 sets of 6-10 reps.

Make sure you are getting plenty of upper back work as a weak upper back can kill a bench press.

As for technique, I would prescribe to lowering the bar to the lower chest (about nipple level or below your pecs, find a groove that works for you). This is easier on your shoulders and you can lift more.

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Post by jwcalla » Tue Jan 16, 2007 12:40 pm

Wait... didn't we just give this guy a new routine to try, and we're suggesting to mix it up again already?

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Post by hoosegow » Tue Jan 16, 2007 1:46 pm

How much sleep are you getting?

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Post by Bananas » Tue Jan 16, 2007 4:48 pm

may grandfather was diabetic, and i think i may have some kind of disorder that may be along the lines of that. hypoglycemic or something. i get pale really fast when working out. and i really dont think its so much of my diet, my friends are right next to me and i know they eat way worse than i do, less calories and worse food, and doing fine. the more and more i get into this, the more i think there is something different/wrong about me.

im getting around 10 hours of sleep each night, so im guessing plenty.

ill try working my chest a little more than once a week, but if my pecs get sore then i'll wait until they recover. i actually may try rowing more than once a week since i have absolutely never felt my lats get pumped, or have them be sore the day after a back workout. and rows are not coming a long either. the only thing that is, is legs, and my legs freaking kill for the next 1-3 days after working out.

i was starting to think that since my arms give out before my back (well, i never felt my back in the first place) that im not doing the exercises correctly to hit the right spot. this is mainly for rows but also a little for chest too. guess its time to go super light weight and figure out how to pump my lats and chest better.

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