Is The Bench Press Good For Functional Strength?

Create: 01/19/2006 - 08:53
Most everyone in the gym likes to bench press. The first question you're often asked when someone finds out you're a weightlifter is "how much do you bench?". The bench press has attained a certain status, but is it deserved? For instance, a poster at Dragon Door wonders whether the bench press builds functional strength. The answers are somewhat mixed but come down on the side that there are many other lifts which produce far better functional strength gains:

Depends on what function you need. plan on pushing something heavy off of your chest? True it is the classic chest exercise and I'm sure there is a reason for its dominance in about 90% of peoples training plans but I just never got it. To answer your question I personally dont feel it is a very functional exercise.

Official Gym Morons Thread

Create: 01/19/2006 - 08:37
Elite Fitness has an ongoing thread which is being used to chronicle the wierd things which are seen in the gym. Check it out for a chuckle or perhaps a groan. Here's a few of the stories:

Several sets into my squats I loaded more weight, unracked the bar, walked out, set my feet and... Somebody is tapping my back!!! I ignore the taps and squat deep. As soon as I hit bottom I realized I was still being tapped on the back! WTF!!! Pause at top and somebody behind me is saying: "Buddy, buddy, yo buddy." Okay next rep I go down and this fool is now yelling at the top of his lungs for me to listen to him. I rack the weight and you can imagine the look on my face when I turn around. The guy says: "Your going to hurt yourself. The bar should rest on your shoulders and don't go past parallel." Briefly I thought about shoving a 45 up his ass but instead said "Hmmm... good advice. Why don't you show me? I'll spot you." The guy said he was just trying to keep me from hurting my self and walked off.

Forearm Pain

Create: 01/19/2006 - 08:16
A poster at Ryan Kennelley's forum is experiencing some forearm pain. He writes:

Been hitting the weight pretty hard the past couple of months, and I seem to have done something to my forearms. The underside specifically. No problems during benching, but when I curl, do lat pull downs and bent over rows it feels like they are going to tear. Don't realy work my grip to speak of cant figure out what the hell is going on. Been icing and heating back and forth to no avail. Did a deload week last week and really didn't touch that much weight since it was time to give the CNS a breather. I usually work up pretty heavy on the trap bar shrugs, but 315 made the forearms feel pretty ragged. This happen to anyone else? What did you do to get this cleared up? The pain is not in the elbow, more like 4-5 inches from the elbow, in the middle of the forearm (palm side down). Feels more of a muscular-ligament problem but in the middle of the forearm. Did speed bench today with no trouble, but it seemed to be a little sore. After that I did some triceps with moderate weight, and it felt like some of my fingers were going numb. I also felt a little ligament popping in my hands when I squeezed them. I know about tennis elbow all too well, or some variation of it since I have played baseball and softball my whole life. I am no professional but I would say that I am 95% sure that this is not tennis elbow. A little confused.....

Early Deaths Of Powerlifters

Create: 01/19/2006 - 08:04
A thread at Dr. Squat looks at the premature deaths of powerlifters. Its start was stimulated by a PLUSA article by Marty Gallagher. His conclusions why powerlifters suffered early deaths included obesity and bad diet, steroids and other drugs, and genetics. Some thoughts:

Powerlifters, we eat big, sleep big and lift big. AFter being in competitive powerlifting for a while one will make an assessment of your own physical body. Meaning if you are under 6 foot, you will probably have to get to 242lbs, which is a lot of weight for someone 5Æ‹". If you are over 6 foot, you had better be 300+ to be competetive with those leverages. This all entails eating big to gain the weight and muscle to be strong/competitive and it takes it toll on your body.

Sore Elbows From Squatting

Create: 01/18/2006 - 10:20
An APF Outlaws poster is experiencing sore bicep tendons from squatting which is even effecting his bench. He asks what he can do to prevent it. Some helpful responses:

I had a similar problem when I started PL. It was from holding the bar with too narrow of a grip while squatting, and "clamping" the bar to your back as you come up. The pain is probably not elbow, but forearm muscle overuse isometrically flexed holding the bar. Concentrate on pushing back on the bar with your shoulders, not pulling the bar to your back.

Shoes And Deadlifting

Create: 01/18/2006 - 09:09
When lifters step on the deadlifting platform they often wear a wide variety of footwear: Chuck Taylor's, boots, Olympic shoes, sneakers, socks, wrestling shoes and deadlifting slippers. So which are the best? A poster at Power and Bulk specifically wants to know whether he would be better served to lift in his Chuck Taylor's or a pair of Olympic shoes. Most vote for dumping the Oly shoes:

Heels just make the pull longer and tip you forward. Neither of those are going to help your pull. Chucks are fine for pulling.

Rychlak's Bench Shirts

Create: 01/18/2006 - 08:07
The reigning master of shirted benching is Gene Rychlak. A poster Gene Rychlak's forum looks for a little insight into Rychlak's shirt mastery. He asks Rychlak:

Have you been using the same shirt for a long time? like when you did 875 till the time you did 1005 were you using the same shirt, at least with respect to design, or do you constantly modify and change it?

Retracting Shoulder Blades When Benching

Create: 01/17/2006 - 08:02
A poster at Fortified Iron is a bit confused with a part of his bench setup. He asks:

when you retract your shoulder blades, should you retract them upwards towards your upper traps? i think i did this yesterday and it made a huge difference. then after one of my teammates told me how good my arch looked, i totally lost it on the next couple sets. its only now that i think on that good set i might have been retracting upwards (towards the bench) instead of downwards (which what i thought was away from the bench.

Do You Train In A Garage Gym?

Create: 01/17/2006 - 07:47
For some, the New Year's rush to the gym is already subsiding. But there are still a number of issues for powerlifters who lift in commercial gyms. Because of these issues, a poster at Monster Muscle wonders how many lifter work out in garage or basement type gyms. From the responses, there seem to be a whole lot of lifters who at least spend some of their workouts away from a commercial gym:

I can honestly say I have never set foot in a commercial gym to workout. I have done a meet at a gym but that's it. I have everything I need in my basement. I don't have to worry about people curling in the squat cage. I don't have to worry about taking too long between sets and having people waiting. I don't have to deal with any jerks. I wouldn't have it any other way.

Knee Wraps 101

Create: 01/17/2006 - 07:19
A poster at has just started using knee wraps and is having some problems getting used to them. He asks:

When I first tried on my knee wraps to squat with them it was the most awkward thing I had done in lifting. I feel that the pounds I might have put on my squat are cancelled out in that I am not used to the wraps. Are there any ways that I can get used to the knee wraps outside of max attempts? Did you experience similar issues the first few times you used the wraps?


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