05-28-2002, 10:28 AM
Brent Vlcek relates to what others have to say on what is better quality or quantity. What do you think?
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First of all thank you for writing the article. It has pretty good basic info.
One thing I will have to disagree is your conclusio that free weights are better than machines.
This has been an ongoing debate forever and usually can't be narrowed downed to which one is better.
Some of the excercises are more effective with free weights (squat, bench press -- basically excercises with vertical movement) while others are better with machines (any excercise involving some kind of arc movement.
This is because of PHYSICS, plain and simple Gravity pull.
05-31-2002, 02:12 PM
My opinions come with an Asterick..
School is over and what a year it was in regards to lifting. I'm glad to be back on the circuit writing articles for teenbodybuilding.com. Within the past school year, I have learned many new and, sometimes, damaging lifting habits. Fortunately, I have also gained more insight in how to correct these dangerous habits and I wish to share them with you.
For my first article back, I want to update everyone on my new chest routine. This article basically dispels the wrongful teachings of my last article. In my last chest article, I was adamantly opposed to the bench press, for I believed that the bench press was overrated and involved too much shoulder. Furthermore, of all the people I have seen performing the bench press, only handfuls have mastered the perfect form desired. Novice lifters, even some advanced, tend to push the philosophy of quantity over quality. Their form is horrible, but that's all right…they can lift a lot! Nonetheless, I want you to forget what I wrote in my last article because I have now become an ardent believer in the bench press and am sorry for even writing what a horrible exercise it is.
A Change in Environment
When I arrived at college, my chest routine was nothing different from the one I had always practiced: dumbbell presses and flyes. Yes, my chest had achieved a better form than most lifters, but it lacked something. That something was size. I liked the shape and all, but it would never…come out. I searched for more exercises, but I was already doing all of them except the bench press. I chose to vary my grip, my form and even my poundage yet, nothing worked and my chest remained stagnant.
More towards the end of the year, I decided to try the smith machine bench press. I thought 'what the hell, what have I got to lose?' After my first run-in with the smith machine press…WOW! My chest was pumped, blood was rushing everywhere and my chest looked huge! The next day, inevitably, my chest was sore like no other. My friends kept asking my why I chose to do bench press on the smith machine and not on free weights and I gave them the explanation that it is easier to control the smith machine in terms of proper form. I shrugged it off and kept doing my smith machine presses coupled with my dumbbells and flyes.
*Smith machines, in my opinion, are dangerous, because they have a pre-arranged motion that your body has to move in. They don't allow for the contours of everyone's body, and has only one range of motion. This can lead to injury. Also, free weights work the synergetics (stabilizint muscles) a whole lot better than smith machine..
Also, like I mentioned before, you shouldn't judge growth and "good workouts" by soreness. In actuality, soreness is a warning factor that your body gives off when too much stress was applied and muscle fibres were torn. You should take precautions to prevent soreness, and when it does come about, take precautions to treat it.
A couple months passed and my chest grew a little while everyone else was moving up in weight and poundage. Still, I feared the bench press for its susceptibility to improper form. After one arm workout, I was jacking around waiting for one of my friends to finish up his workout when I decided to give the bench press a shot. I was just fooling around but being careful to exercise proper form at the same time. I did a couple sets and I truly felt great. Although it was only one exercise, my chest was pumped. This was a breakthrough…according to me, at least. After this, I decided to begin my next chest workout with the bench press. A couple days went by and needless to say, I was excited about beginning this new chest workout. Monday came and I was ready.
I began my chest workout with the bench press. The first set was done with a really light weight. I cranked out 15 reps but I really concentrated on proper form. I did another set of 15 reps and again concentrated on perfect form. After a couple more sets, I was truly proud of what I have discovered. After working out the chest for only a month with the bench press, I have increased my size and have found an increase in striation in the area.
*Form is critical. I agree the bench is an ego-lift, but do to it's effectiveness I believe it is crucial, as long as proper form accompanies it.
Several lessons I have learned are:
1) Never neglect any exercise;
2) Free weights are better than machines;
3) After giving up the bench, even close-grip bench press for triceps, I noticed a loss in striation;
4) Perfect form is key still to any workout;
5) The bench press is a basic compound exercise that should be included in every workout.
*Granted, the bench press should be included, it does not need to be included in every workout. Dumbell bench press is more effective, from personal experience, to work the synergetics and to increase size in the chest region. Due to a fuller range of motion which is allowed.
My next article shall outline my entire NEW chest routine…stay tuned.
Keep learning and have an open mind when lifting,
Pretty good article..