Dr says no more bench!! Need alternative Chest exercise

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hillrunner
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Post by hillrunner » Sun Jan 11, 2009 10:33 pm

To get stronger, bigger, faster... To look better naked, to feel better about yourself, to do something other than sit on his rump all day...

I don't know, I just think that telling someone to forget one of the big three because he isn't competing, especially if the second opinion comes back with better results, is sort of ridiculous. He came here with an issue, because he WANTS to bench (well an alternative to it for now), not because he wants an excuse not to.
Stronger at what...bench pressing? It is an exercise that has been around 50 - 70 years, so, what makes it part of being stronger? Look at what the strongmen of yore did--all kinds of standing presses and I'd say most of them look a lot better than guys who do a ton of bench presses, etc., and had more all around strength and fitness.

Faster? Via a bench press? Speed is being blessed with a combination of top notch gross & fine motor skills and a higher than average percentage of fast twitch fibers. If I wanted to get faster, I'd do what sprinters do and focus on speed work, speed lifts, etc.

Back around 1998, there was a college professor by the name of Arthur DeVany who taught economics...he emerged on the strength and fitness scene saying, amongst other things, the bench press isn't the valuable of an exercise. In Power to the People, Pavel Tsatsouline adds more perspective to this and even Paul Chek pointed out the concerns (and fallacies) of bench pressing.

IMHO, if you want to get big, if you want real strength, use whole body exercises where you're not supported and stabilized by a bench. :wink:

Remember, the "big three" of powerlifting have only been around since the late 50s/early 60s. Clean and jerks, snataches, side presses, deadlifts of various kinds--strength moves which demand speed, skill and coordination--have been around for a heckuva a lot longer.


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Post by Jungledoc » Mon Jan 12, 2009 7:15 am

Hill, I think you're right, but that you take your point a bit further than necessary. I agree that bench press isn't a real important exercise. Most members here remember when I was goaded by my teenage son into doing a bench specialization program with him to reach new bench goals before he left home. It didn't do me much good. Didn't even improve my bench press that much. Guys here patiently gave me advice.

But if the bench press is just one exercise among many, it has value. It builds strength in muscles that stabilize other exercises. It's a movement that does get used in real life, pushing to move heavy things. It contributes to punching strength. Pushing opponents can be useful in fighting. Don't defensive linemen push on defensive linemen? Seems that a strong horizontal push would be an advantage to them.

Besides, one could argue that bench pressing is just something they like to do. Is that so different from the reason you run?

By the way, why do you run?

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Post by KPj » Mon Jan 12, 2009 10:47 am

I actually agree that the bench press is overrated. And the bench press makes up one third of my training goals, so it's not like i'm biased or anything. I've also heard from competing bodybuilders that it's overrated for mass gains (although I do question that, but i'm not bothered enough to look into it).

More importantly, there's a lot of strength and conditioning coaches who won't have their athletes bench with a barbell. Simply to save the shoulders, though. Which makes sense, especially with throwing athletes or NFL or Rugby players who's shoulders get plenty of abuse on the park.

I disagree on the comment on 'real strength'. It's relative. If i want a big bench press, and I get a big bench press, then for me, that strength is 'real' strength. I also feel that even if a big bench wasn't my goal, then a program that focused, pressing wise, entirely on standing cable variations, would be somewhat limited. I'm not really sure if you were just criticising the bench press, or critcising horizontal pressing altogether, though.

I also disagree on the speed/power comment. Your speed and power potential is technically limited by your max strength (same can be said for endurance). You get strong, then you get fast i.e. you build a big engine, then you tune it. A lifter or athelte concerned more with power should primarily focus on speed lifts, but not exclusively. Max/limit strength needs to be worked on from time to time. It's all part of the same spectrum. I've yet to see a program aimed at athletes that focuses on just one thing (like speed). What you're essentially saying is that real strength for real athletes will come from a program that only addresses speed/power. It works boths way, too. A Powerlifter, 'technically' only concerned with limit strength, will benefit from speed work. if he/she doesn't do any speed work, then they won't perform to their full potential, hence the popularity of powerlifters doing 'dynamic' lifting days, along with sprint work, and jumps.


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Post by Ironman » Wed Jan 14, 2009 4:37 am

I don't agree. There aren't many things better for that part of the chest. Just dumbbells, and maybe chest dips. All that isolation crap does nothing. Horizontal pressing of some kind is a vital movement and part of a complete program. People who shun barbell bench, generally do dumbbells and/or chest dips.

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Post by stuward » Wed Jan 14, 2009 4:53 am

Ironman wrote:I don't agree. There aren't many things better for that part of the chest. Just dumbbells, and maybe chest dips. All that isolation crap does nothing. Horizontal pressing of some kind is a vital movement and part of a complete program. People who shun barbell bench, generally do dumbbells and/or chest dips.
I agree, you need a horizontal press. The OP needs to find out what kind pf press he can do safely. In the meantime, subing flys and other isolation moves should be considered a stop gap measure only.


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Post by KPj » Wed Jan 14, 2009 5:57 am

I do agree you need a horizontal "press". It was the "Barbel" bench press I was criticising, if you can even call it a criticism. The alternative i've seen from coaches who don't use it with their athletes is with DB's, or these bars you get that make you able to bench with a neutral grip. Or doing close grip BP.

The thing about mass gains is just something I was told, from a guy who competes (albeit for Mr Scotland, but still...). I actually have no opinion on that...

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Post by Ironman » Thu Jan 15, 2009 4:22 am

Personally, while I like a mix, I lean more towards dumbbells.

People always want to know what I bench. But I haven't done barbell much lately, so my barbell bench is down a little, despite my dumbbell being up. So I'm like, well, I can do 220 for 1RM with dumbbells, (a pair of 110's). Last time I did barbell I did 225 for 5. I might have been able to do 6 though, but I didn't try because I wasn't going all the way to failure. So maybe 250 to 265? They were usually expecting a short answer.


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