Bench Press: How low should I go?

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mikegray
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Bench Press: How low should I go?

Post by mikegray » Fri Sep 29, 2006 4:15 am

Hi guys!

I'm an older guy - 34 - and I've been lifting regularly for about five months now after going at it sporadically for years.

Something I'm curious about:

How low am I supposed to go on bench presses? I shoot for 8 reps. With 65K (I weigh 75K) I can do 8 presses all the way down until the foam padding on my bar touches my chest. When I move up to 80, OTOH, I can only get about half-way down before I really struggle and wobble to get the bar back, particularly toward the end.

Since I train alone in the basement (scheduling and money just don't make a gym situation possible), I'm scared to go much lower with 80 - even at the beginning - since there's a definite chane I'd get stuck.

What should I do? Is it better to stick to weights at which I can do the whole lift and wait with heavier stuff till Ican do it right, or is it good to lift up around 80 and just take it down as far as I can without putting myself in danger?

BTW, I have foam padding on the bar for squats. Is that actually a bad idea??

TIA!

Mike

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Post by Matt Z » Fri Sep 29, 2006 7:46 am

Partial reps are okay once in a while, but generally, it's much better to use a full range of motion with less weight, and work up from there. Also, if possible, it's probably a good idea to remove the foam padding while benching. Meanwhile, if your doing high-bar squats you may want to consider investing in a device called the Manta Ray. I been using one for quite some time now and would highly recomend it.

Basically, it's a peice of hard synthetic that snaps onto the bar and distrubutes the weight over a much larger area. I find it's much more comfortable and secure than a neck roll. The only disadvantage is that you can't use it for low-bar powerlifting style squats.

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Stephen Johnson
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Post by Stephen Johnson » Fri Sep 29, 2006 10:44 pm

Padding on the bar or not, I''m not that crazy about the idea of benching alone in the basement. At the very least you should have someone within earshot when you work out

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Post by Drew » Sat Sep 30, 2006 10:38 am

Stephen Johnson wrote:Padding on the bar or not, I''m not that crazy about the idea of benching alone in the basement. At the very least you should have someone within earshot when you work out
I train alone in my basement, but I used dumbbells exclusively for upper body exercises until I got a rack. Now I position the pins in the rack just above my chest when I bench. I may not go all the way down, but it's better than pressing without the pins and risking serious injury or worse.

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Post by mikegray » Sat Sep 30, 2006 3:33 pm

Hmm.

Thanks for the input guys.

I am starting to get the idea that I need to be careful with this stuff. A couple weeks ago I had a snatch go wrong and ended up with a lot with iron falling on my left index finger, which was very unpleasant. I missed the joint and it doesn't hurt any more, but there's an odd sort of lump on it. (Of course, my worst injury so far came from droppinga 5 kilo bin of protein powder on my big toe ... )

A question: what *is* the benfit of a full range of motion?

Peace,

Mike

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Post by mikegray » Sat Sep 30, 2006 3:42 pm

Drew wrote: I train alone in my basement, but I used dumbbells exclusively for upper body exercises until I got a rack. Now I position the pins in the rack just above my chest when I bench. I may not go all the way down, but it's better than pressing without the pins and risking serious injury or worse.
You know, dumbells is something I have thought about - but I can't figure out where to put them when I'm trying to lie down and get ready to lift. How do (did) you manage that??

Mike

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Post by Stephen Johnson » Sat Sep 30, 2006 3:49 pm

mikegray wrote:
Drew wrote: I train alone in my basement, but I used dumbbells exclusively for upper body exercises until I got a rack. Now I position the pins in the rack just above my chest when I bench. I may not go all the way down, but it's better than pressing without the pins and risking serious injury or worse.
You know, dumbells is something I have thought about - but I can't figure out where to put them when I'm trying to lie down and get ready to lift. How do (did) you manage that??

Mike
Try this

http://www.exrx.net/AnimatedEx/Pectoral ... hMount.gif

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Post by TimD » Sat Sep 30, 2006 3:50 pm

I'm not Drew, but I use DB's a lot. I put two chairs or cinder blocks down at the side of the bench and put DB's on them . I sit down on the bench, trunk upright, grab the DB's, put them on my knees, and kick them up while lying down. The DB's end up being positions while lying right about shoulder level. A much more convenient method is to go out and by these hook devices they make special for this. One end fits around the DB, and the larger end is a J type of hook that you can hang on a barbell. Just clamp the hook onto the DB, then hang it on a barbell , and lift the DB's off the BB.
Tim

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Post by Drew » Sat Sep 30, 2006 4:26 pm

mikegray wrote:
Drew wrote: I train alone in my basement, but I used dumbbells exclusively for upper body exercises until I got a rack. Now I position the pins in the rack just above my chest when I bench. I may not go all the way down, but it's better than pressing without the pins and risking serious injury or worse.
You know, dumbells is something I have thought about - but I can't figure out where to put them when I'm trying to lie down and get ready to lift. How do (did) you manage that??

Mike
That's pretty much how I do it. In order to not have to bend over and pick them up in the first place, I add the plates with the DB on the bench. Then after the lift I'll lay them down on the bench behind me once I reach a standing position.

The closer you can put the DBs to your center of gravity, the easier it is to lie down and get up with them in your hands.

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