Random Questions About Presses

Ask or answer questions, discuss and express your views

Moderators: Ironman, Jungledoc, parth, stuward

Porovoz
Rookie
Rookie
Posts: 48
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 11:47 pm

Random Questions About Presses

Post by Porovoz » Sun Apr 12, 2009 3:05 pm

Sorry if I am becoming a bother with my incessant barrage of questions, but you guys are too good a source of information to resist! :smile:


1. Is doing both flat bench presses and decline bench presses redundant?
-I've read on these boards that the two exercises are one and the same in terms of targeting different portions of the pectorals; ie both work the sternal head of the pectoralis major and do so the exact same way. My trainer, however, keeps insisting that I do both. According to him, the flat bench press primarily targets the middle of your chest, while the decline is more for the lower chest. Similarly, I've also read on these forums that the lower chest can be targeted, and that dips are a good way to do it. So, what's the definitive answer, can the lower chest be targeted or not? The expert bloggers on the various bodybuilding sites can't seem to reach a consensus about this one either. For what it's worth, the two exercises do feel different in terms of how my pecs contract. :con:


2. What is the appropriate angle for the incline bench press?
-Both the machine and barbell stations at my gym are set up at a fixed 45 degrees. I do it with dumbbells, and go for the 45 degree angle as well. However, many of the guys who do the dumbbell variant seem to go much steeper than that and end doing something in between a shoulder press and what I'm doing. Are they out to lunch, or should I be copying them?


3. Is the shoulder press enough for both anterior and lateral deltoids?
-I understand that the anterior head is the target, and the lateral is the synergist. However, unlike most other shoulder exercises, the "other" delt is at the top of ExRx's synergist list and thus, I assume, is heavily involved. So, is the shoulder press enough to work both muscles, or is a lateral delt exercise needed as well?
Last edited by Porovoz on Sun Apr 12, 2009 11:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.


drummaniac
Rookie
Rookie
Posts: 26
Joined: Mon Feb 18, 2008 12:24 pm

Post by drummaniac » Sun Apr 12, 2009 10:25 pm

1. I think you pretty much answered your own question with your last sentence. While they do work the same muscle they work it in different ways which is good for the growth of the muscle. It's not extremely different but enough to keep encouraging growth. Dips are also a good way to target the lower chest as long as your form is good.

2. 45 degrees is a good angle maybe even a little less. somewhere between 30 and 45. They guys that are doing it almost upright are just wasting there time. Sure it's doing something for them but not what they want. The more upright the bench is the more it works your shoulders. The flatter it is the more it works your chest, so you should aim for something in between.

3. The anterior head is the target but the lateral gets a ton of work from the exercise too. If you to this version of the shoulder press the lateral head will get worked slightly more ( http://exrx.net/WeightExercises/Deltoid ... Press.html ) than when you do it in front of your head. In my work outs i usually throw in upright rows with a slightly wider than shoulder width grip because that will make it target the lateral head more. I might do lateral raises instead though just to hit that muscle a little more. I've been told that since bench works your anterior delt more and rows work you posterior delt more to work the lateral a little harder to keep them even. I also believe that out of the 3 that one should be the biggest but that's just me.

Sorry that last one has a lot of info I hope it answered your question.

User avatar
Jungledoc
moderator
moderator
Posts: 7578
Joined: Thu Feb 07, 2008 7:11 am
Location: Kudjip, Papua New Guinea

Post by Jungledoc » Mon Apr 13, 2009 12:31 am

I'm confused by the division of the chest into "upper", "middle", and "lower". By "chest" most people mean pecs, and they have 2 divisions, not 3. Flat bench works both, decline works the sternal more than the clavicular heads. So flat bench probably is more useful in most people's workouts, most of the time, but decline is useful sometimes. Unless your trainer can give you a reason why your sternal head needs to be isolated, don't let him talk you into something illogical. For most of us, time in the gym is precious, and should be used efficiently. Isolating a muscle that can be worked well by a less-isolating exercise is usually not efficient. If there is a particular need to isolate that muscle, so be it, otherwise forget it.

I suspect that you are smarter than the trainer.

pdellorto
Deific Wizard of Sagacity
Deific Wizard of Sagacity
Posts: 5252
Joined: Mon May 28, 2007 8:43 am
Location: New Jersey
Contact:

Re: Random Questions About Presses

Post by pdellorto » Mon Apr 13, 2009 8:24 am

Porovoz wrote:1. Is doing both flat bench presses and decline bench presses redundant?
See Jungledoc's answer.
Porovoz wrote:2. What is the appropriate angle for the incline bench press?
I've done these from a very slight angle (15 degrees above level) all the way to nearly vertical (75-80 degrees). The more angled the bench, the more emphasis on the shoulders and sternal head of the pectorals. If you go steep enough it basically becomes a shoulder press. So "appropriate" is going to depend on what you want.

Porovoz wrote:3. Is the shoulder press enough for both anterior and lateral deltoids?
Good question. On the anterior deltoid, I think it's probably enough, because you're also doing incline bench presses and bench presses. The anterior deltoid does a lot of work in those exercises.

As for the lateral deltoid, opinions on that are mixed. But I've noticed that at my gym, the coaches don't have you do extra work for the lateral head of the deltoid if your main work was vertical pressing. For example, military pressing or push pressing. If your main work was horizontal pressing, like bench pressing or incline bench pressing, there is always extra lateral work thrown in.

So at least as far as I can observe, they seem to go with the idea that overhead pressing hits the lateral head of the deltoid sufficiently, but if you're not pressing overhead you need to throw in some extra work. Again, that's just my observation based on my own workouts and the others I've seen.

Hope that helps.

User avatar
Stephen Johnson
Exalted Seer
Exalted Seer
Posts: 2097
Joined: Sun Mar 12, 2006 11:20 pm
Location: New York City

Re: Random Questions About Presses

Post by Stephen Johnson » Mon Apr 13, 2009 12:22 pm

The others have already hit the major points. The following is just my 2 cents :
Porovoz wrote:
Q: Is doing both flat bench presses and decline bench presses redundant?

A: Most trainees have lower chests that are overdeveloped when compared to their upper chests. Doing two lower chest exercises in the same workout will heighten that imbalance.

Q: What is the appropriate angle for the incline bench press?

A: At about 45 degrees the upper chest is in the best position to do work. Lower than 45 degrees increases the involvement of the lower chest, and higher than 45 degrees turns the exercise into a shoulder press.

Q: Is the shoulder press enough for both anterior and lateral deltoids?

A: It depends on the rest of your workout. Like pdell said, if you're doing a lot of horizontal pressing, probably not.

The lateral delt is capable of both pushing (shoulder press) and pulling (upright row). But with the exception of the upright row, the lateral deltoid doesn't benefit from vertical pulling as much as it does from vertical pressing. You might want to add some vertical pulling for variety.


Halfbreed
Apprentice
Apprentice
Posts: 116
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2007 12:41 pm
Location: Top Left Region of this great nation

Post by Halfbreed » Mon Apr 13, 2009 12:51 pm

Jungledoc wrote:I'm confused by the division of the chest into "upper", "middle", and "lower". By "chest" most people mean pecs, and they have 2 divisions, not 3.
Have you ever seen the seperation between Franco Columbu's chest??? There is a clear seperation between groupings of muscles in the pectoral. It depends on what the goal is in working out. If the guy wants to really develop his body, and make his muscles proportionate, working a decline bench will help develop the chest, and he would need to do more than just hitting a press to develop the lateral delts. In other words, it would be "good enough" if his only goal were developing some strength and promoting some growth, but not if he wanted proportion, and even then it would only be good enough if he incorporated something like a seated row or a bent lateral raise to get the rear delts, depending on how much he wanted to isolate them. Again, if development and asthetics aren't as important then pull-ups and seated rows should be sufficient to balance the muscle groupings between the deltoid muscles. This, primarily, for safety's sake as an overbalance in the muscles, especially with something like a shoulder, can cause injury. Going behind the head is hard on the rotator cuff with exercises like pull-downs and presses. It's great for the muscles, but bad for the shoulders.

Matt Z
Deific Wizard of Sagacity
Deific Wizard of Sagacity
Posts: 4505
Joined: Tue Apr 25, 2006 1:19 pm
Location: Pennsylvania
Contact:

Post by Matt Z » Mon Apr 13, 2009 7:48 pm

"Have you ever seen the seperation between Franco Columbu's chest???" - Halfbreed

The separation you're refering to was between his upper and lower pecs. No one is disputing that the each pectoral is divided into two heads.

As for lateral delts ... I don't think overhead pressing alone is enough for most people. However, that doesn't necessarily mean you need to isolate the lateral delts, if you're also doing exercises like high pulls, cleans and snatches.

User avatar
Stephen Johnson
Exalted Seer
Exalted Seer
Posts: 2097
Joined: Sun Mar 12, 2006 11:20 pm
Location: New York City

Post by Stephen Johnson » Mon Apr 13, 2009 8:53 pm

Halfbreed wrote: Going behind the head is hard on the rotator cuff with exercises like pull-downs and presses. It's great for the muscles, but bad for the shoulders.
If I could go back in time to when I started weight training, I would begin with learning the Olympic lifts rather than bodybuilder-type training. Olympic lifters do behind the neck pressing (once they develop enough shoulder flexibility) with no long term ill effects. When the military press was the measure of upper body pushing strength, rotator cuff problems were relatively rare. But in the current bench press era they are an epidemic.

User avatar
TimD
In Memoriam: TimD
In Memoriam: TimD
Posts: 3129
Joined: Mon Dec 19, 2005 8:04 am
Location: Va Beach, Va

Post by TimD » Mon Apr 13, 2009 10:15 pm

Stephen's absolutelely correct.
On to Halfbreeds's response to Jungledoc. He's right too. ack in the day, everyone trained pretty much the same, that being with the large compound lifts, BUT the bodybuilders broke off and did isolation IN CONJUNCTION with compounds when going for a contest, for the reasons Halfbreed stated. It only makes sense.
Tim

KPj
Deific Wizard of Sagacity
Deific Wizard of Sagacity
Posts: 3482
Joined: Thu Mar 02, 2006 5:49 am

Post by KPj » Tue Apr 14, 2009 3:18 am

To be honest I question whether a beginner should even be asking the question about chest seperation and delt proportion.... I think whether your goal is bodybuilding or not, if you've not got a good few years of training with a good base of strength and size already, then you're missing the point...

You also won't see any chest seperation, regardless of how much you think you're hitting the 'heads' if you're carrying excess body fat...

My advice would be to evaluate exactly where you are just now, and where you want to be 6 months from now.

For example, if your 150lbs, and your ideal weight is 190, but at your current 150lbs you're asking these questions, I would say your missing the boat. A better question may be, "i'm struggling to put on mass, here's my program, here's my diet, where am I going wrong?"

If your ~180-190, and for example, you notice that the upper portion of your pecs are underdeveloped, then I would advise you put some emphasise on them.

I'm no bodybuilder, I just can't help but think the OP is getting too ahead of himself.

KPj

User avatar
Ironman
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 3991
Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2006 11:40 am

Post by Ironman » Tue Apr 14, 2009 4:37 am

I don't understand how your muscle can NOT come in proportionate. It shouldn't take much isolation at all. If you craft your routine carefully it shouldn't be a problem.

1 yes

2 45 degrees

3 no

hoosegow
Veteren Member
Veteren Member
Posts: 2003
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2005 6:40 am
Location: Texas

Post by hoosegow » Tue Apr 14, 2009 8:54 am

Sorry for injecting my 2 cents, but my answer is:

Do them all switching everything all the time.

I get irritated when people start asking about which is the best and what is targeted. Incorporate it all into your training.

Same thing with the incline question. Change it up.

Same thing with the shoulder press. Change it up.

Don't get stuck in a rut.

Porovoz
Rookie
Rookie
Posts: 48
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 11:47 pm

Post by Porovoz » Tue Apr 14, 2009 9:48 pm

KPj

Height: 5'9
Age: 21

Untrained:
Weight: 165-170lb
Bodyfat: ~15%

Currently:
Weight: 155-160lb
Bodyfat: ~9%

Goal:
Weight: 180-185lb
Bodyfat: ~8%

User avatar
Stephen Johnson
Exalted Seer
Exalted Seer
Posts: 2097
Joined: Sun Mar 12, 2006 11:20 pm
Location: New York City

Post by Stephen Johnson » Tue Apr 14, 2009 10:22 pm

Porovoz wrote:
Currently:
Weight: 155-160lb
Bodyfat: ~9%

Goal:
Weight: 180-185lb
Bodyfat: ~8%
Bulking up while cutting fat is almost impossible to do without chemical assistance. You might consider bulking up to 190# @12-13% bodyfat and then paring down to your desired weight

KPj
Deific Wizard of Sagacity
Deific Wizard of Sagacity
Posts: 3482
Joined: Thu Mar 02, 2006 5:49 am

Post by KPj » Wed Apr 15, 2009 4:11 am

Porovoz - I would like to think most here would agree with me that your better off forgetting about the different pec or delt heads and just concentrate on getting bigger. Also, as Hoosegow said - do them all. In order to get bigger you're going to naturally switching things up from time to time anyway, so most bases should be covered. Remember as well that you don't need to hit everything you can think of in one work out or even one program. If you have a well balanced routine then everything will get hit and as you change routine things will get hit in different ways. Everyone has certain stubborn muscles that'll need some extra work but you won't know what they are until you actually pack on some size overall...

So, you have ~30lbs to gain. Sounds like your body fat is quite low already which means if you eat clean, eat big and train hard you won't put on much bodyfat a long the way.

Why don't you tell us what your doing, training and diet wise already, and i'm sure you'll get some great advice. Other guys here are better versed than me to give you advice on bullking up but i'm sure all the answers will be quite similar anyway - eat big and lift big :)

KPj


Post Reply