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  1. #1
    Registered User Event22's Avatar
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    Bench Press Form

    Hey there - Been lifting for about 6 years pretty consistently, and I'm happy overall with my development, currently sitting at 202 lbs, 6'2", with 9% bodyfat.
    My main concern is my lack of chest development. I have tried every trick in the book, supersets, drop sets, 5x5, hit it from every imaginable angle. I have come to realize that my problem may be in form.
    I read an article someone wrote in the articles section about contrasting powerlifting bench press form vs. bodybuilding form. According to the article, for overall chest development, it is better to bring the weight down to your clavicle/lower neck, whereas powerlifters would bring it to their nipples (as i have always done) because they are less concerned with muscle size development.
    Any credence to his arguement? sorry, dont have the link ready.
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  2. #2
    I rep what you max! XXX666's Avatar
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    NEVER BENCH TO YOUR NECK! NO NO NO NEVER NEVER NEVER NO NO NO!

    There is no "bodybuilding" or "power lifting" type of benching. Benching is benching, most of the crap you read is CRAP. you always want to lower the bar down to your sternum or lower. mainly because of your shoulder and how it works. granted bench is primarly chest but you have to use your joints correctly in order to grow correctly. below is why:

    Because your shoulder joint rotates, hence why people get rotator cuff injuries. by keeping your elbows in close this allows the shoulder to rotate. the further away your elbow is away from your torso the more it begins to hinge, this will result in a shoulder injury over time. Also, the synergy of the shoulder and elbow joint are greatest when the elbow is close to the body, as the elbow travels away from the body the weaker the synergy of the this compound movement; its a simple fact that the closer your elbow gets to your head the weaker your entire arm will become.

    RECAP:
    1. if you flare your elbow you remove the shoulder joint out of its natural movement and make the shoulder move in a way it was not designed
    2. if you flare your elbow the weaker the synergy of the compound movement because you arm will not be able to extert force through the hand as effectively
    3. flaring your elbows causes your shoulder joint to hinge more than rotate which directly puts stress on the rotator cuff which could lead to injury
    4. flaring your elbows puts more strain on your shoulders and triceps and isolates the pecs from the overall movement

    Watch this video, its a starting point.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vUcjOIZc80c

    your grip is another area, try this to figure out your best grip. stand up with your arms held out to your sides make a fist and your palms are facing the floor so your body makes a "T" *pretend your in the village people for a second* pull your shoulders back by flexing your traps and pull your shoulders down by flexing your lats. try to contract your chest, as you can tell its damn near impossible, now slowly bring your fists closer together, keep your elbows locked and keep trying to contract your pecs. as you your fists get closer you will notice your pecs start to contract harder, they will be contracted the hardest right about at shoulder width.
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  3. #3
    Registered User Event22's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by XXX666 View Post
    NEVER BENCH TO YOUR NECK! NO NO NO NEVER NEVER NEVER NO NO NO!

    There is no "bodybuilding" or "power lifting" type of benching. Benching is benching, most of the crap you read is CRAP. you always want to lower the bar down to your sternum or lower. mainly because of your shoulder and how it works. granted bench is primarly chest but you have to use your joints correctly in order to grow correctly. below is why:

    Because your shoulder joint rotates, hence why people get rotator cuff injuries. by keeping your elbows in close this allows the shoulder to rotate. the further away your elbow is away from your torso the more it begins to hinge, this will result in a shoulder injury over time. Also, the synergy of the shoulder and elbow joint are greatest when the elbow is close to the body, as the elbow travels away from the body the weaker the synergy of the this compound movement; its a simple fact that the closer your elbow gets to your head the weaker your entire arm will become.

    RECAP:
    1. if you flare your elbow you remove the shoulder joint out of its natural movement and make the shoulder move in a way it was not designed
    2. if you flare your elbow the weaker the synergy of the compound movement because you arm will not be able to extert force through the hand as effectively
    3. flaring your elbows causes your shoulder joint to hinge more than rotate which directly puts stress on the rotator cuff which could lead to injury
    4. flaring your elbows puts more strain on your shoulders and triceps and isolates the pecs from the overall movement

    Watch this video, its a starting point.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vUcjOIZc80c

    your grip is another area, try this to figure out your best grip. stand up with your arms held out to your sides make a fist and your palms are facing the floor so your body makes a "T" *pretend your in the village people for a second* pull your shoulders back by flexing your traps and pull your shoulders down by flexing your lats. try to contract your chest, as you can tell its damn near impossible, now slowly bring your fists closer together, keep your elbows locked and keep trying to contract your pecs. as you your fists get closer you will notice your pecs start to contract harder, they will be contracted the hardest right about at shoulder width.
    Thanks for the quick reply. I was skeptical as well, just wanted to hear some opinion. I guess my problem is not properly contracting my chest, which is frustrating- i can rep out 315 for 4 clean reps yet my chest size lags.. i guess my problem would most likely by that I dont isolate chest enough, even though i favor 3 inch outside shoulder width grip.

    That is an interesting demonstration you suggested about chest contraction though. I'll try and use some alternating grip widths based on that, see if it feels any different.

    Thanks
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  4. #4
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    the best thing to do is find what grip works best from you then hone in your form using light weight.

    you may need to drastically reduce the weight you use BUT it is NOT about how much weight you push its how you push the weight. in the long run you will be much better off, i promise.
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  5. #5
    Registered User Cfrisco415's Avatar
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    hey guys when ur Bench Pressin does your arms go outwards or inwards because when am going down they go outwards and i see videos that there elbows come ver close to there body
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  6. #6
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    Originally Posted by Cfrisco415 View Post
    hey guys when ur Bench Pressin does your arms go outwards or inwards because when am going down they go outwards and i see videos that there elbows come ver close to there body
    read
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    Registered User Cfrisco415's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by XXX666 View Post
    read
    mybad just seen that right now.. am going the gym in 20 going to try out my new technique thank god i leanred the right way i used to open my elbows.. thanks for the video
    Last edited by Cfrisco415; 02-23-2009 at 06:15 PM.
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    Originally Posted by XXX666 View Post
    NEVER BENCH TO YOUR NECK! NO NO NO NEVER NEVER NEVER NO NO NO!

    There is no "bodybuilding" or "power lifting" type of benching. Benching is benching, most of the crap you read is CRAP. you always want to lower the bar down to your sternum or lower. mainly because of your shoulder and how it works. granted bench is primarly chest but you have to use your joints correctly in order to grow correctly. below is why:

    Because your shoulder joint rotates, hence why people get rotator cuff injuries. by keeping your elbows in close this allows the shoulder to rotate. the further away your elbow is away from your torso the more it begins to hinge, this will result in a shoulder injury over time. Also, the synergy of the shoulder and elbow joint are greatest when the elbow is close to the body, as the elbow travels away from the body the weaker the synergy of the this compound movement; its a simple fact that the closer your elbow gets to your head the weaker your entire arm will become.

    RECAP:
    1. if you flare your elbow you remove the shoulder joint out of its natural movement and make the shoulder move in a way it was not designed
    2. if you flare your elbow the weaker the synergy of the compound movement because you arm will not be able to extert force through the hand as effectively
    3. flaring your elbows causes your shoulder joint to hinge more than rotate which directly puts stress on the rotator cuff which could lead to injury
    4. flaring your elbows puts more strain on your shoulders and triceps and isolates the pecs from the overall movement

    Watch this video, its a starting point.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vUcjOIZc80c

    your grip is another area, try this to figure out your best grip. stand up with your arms held out to your sides make a fist and your palms are facing the floor so your body makes a "T" *pretend your in the village people for a second* pull your shoulders back by flexing your traps and pull your shoulders down by flexing your lats. try to contract your chest, as you can tell its damn near impossible, now slowly bring your fists closer together, keep your elbows locked and keep trying to contract your pecs. as you your fists get closer you will notice your pecs start to contract harder, they will be contracted the hardest right about at shoulder width.
    Interesting read and video thanks....One question though, do you still lower the bar to your sternum on incline bench press?
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  9. #9
    I rep what you max! XXX666's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by RCATES View Post
    Interesting read and video thanks....One question though, do you still lower the bar to your sternum on incline bench press?
    no, if you keep your form by lowering your arms into your torso the bar will end up higher on the chest.

    apply the same technique even though your laying at an angle
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    Originally Posted by XXX666 View Post
    no, if you keep your form by lowering your arms into your torso the bar will end up higher on the chest.

    apply the same technique even though your laying at an angle
    I hear you thanks....I've always preferred decline over flat bench because the more stress and pump on my chest and now i see why. It forces you to have both good arc and lowering the bar right to your sternum. But I realize now on incline i haven't been lowering it as much basically doing the L movement explaining the shoulder pains after a heavy set. Thanks again...
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  11. #11
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    came back from the gym have some questions still why does my inside shoulder hurt when am pulling the bar down is that normal... and u keep the same form in incline press? thanks
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    Registered User Cfrisco415's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Cfrisco415 View Post
    came back from the gym have some questions still why does my inside shoulder hurt when am pulling the bar down is that normal... and u keep the same form in incline press? thanks
    Is this normal?
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    Originally Posted by XXX666 View Post
    NEVER BENCH TO YOUR NECK! NO NO NO NEVER NEVER NEVER NO NO NO!

    There is no "bodybuilding" or "power lifting" type of benching. Benching is benching, most of the crap you read is CRAP. you always want to lower the bar down to your sternum or lower. mainly because of your shoulder and how it works. granted bench is primarly chest but you have to use your joints correctly in order to grow correctly. below is why:

    Because your shoulder joint rotates, hence why people get rotator cuff injuries. by keeping your elbows in close this allows the shoulder to rotate. the further away your elbow is away from your torso the more it begins to hinge, this will result in a shoulder injury over time. Also, the synergy of the shoulder and elbow joint are greatest when the elbow is close to the body, as the elbow travels away from the body the weaker the synergy of the this compound movement; its a simple fact that the closer your elbow gets to your head the weaker your entire arm will become.

    RECAP:
    1. if you flare your elbow you remove the shoulder joint out of its natural movement and make the shoulder move in a way it was not designed
    2. if you flare your elbow the weaker the synergy of the compound movement because you arm will not be able to extert force through the hand as effectively
    3. flaring your elbows causes your shoulder joint to hinge more than rotate which directly puts stress on the rotator cuff which could lead to injury
    4. flaring your elbows puts more strain on your shoulders and triceps and isolates the pecs from the overall movement

    Watch this video, its a starting point.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vUcjOIZc80c

    your grip is another area, try this to figure out your best grip. stand up with your arms held out to your sides make a fist and your palms are facing the floor so your body makes a "T" *pretend your in the village people for a second* pull your shoulders back by flexing your traps and pull your shoulders down by flexing your lats. try to contract your chest, as you can tell its damn near impossible, now slowly bring your fists closer together, keep your elbows locked and keep trying to contract your pecs. as you your fists get closer you will notice your pecs start to contract harder, they will be contracted the hardest right about at shoulder width.

    This is the best description and explanation on proper bench form I have ever read.

    I've seen so many people with their elbows flared way out, sometimes past shoulder level. Oddly enough, these are the same people that always complain about shoulder pain. Go figure......

    repped.
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    very informative video, got my legs in 2 days.. will try this out.. ill just dl this video on to my cell phone and watch there for confirmation .. heh.
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    some weightlifters when the press was a competitive lift used to bench to the neck and they were ok; there is a difference between PL and BB style bench, most of the people who have incured shoulder problems from benching have inflexible/stiff/weak shoulders, I get more pain in my elbows than my shoulders from benching flared, I don't think it's necessary to tuck just like I don't think its necessary to sit back in a squat (though both are valid ways of performing the exercises)
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    Thumbs up

    Originally Posted by XXX666 View Post
    read
    Today was chest day and on your recommendation I focused on keeping my elbows tight (I thought I was already, but I found I could bring them in more). I could not push as much weight, but I was able to go all the way to my chest (which I haven't been able to do due to my RCs). Very satisfying.

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    How about just going with dumbbells?

    ^ good idea.
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    Originally Posted by Vitruvian View Post
    How about just going with dumbbells?

    ^ good idea.
    does the same apply to dumbbels
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    If this is true, then why are some pro's press with elbows out and half way (till elbows are 90 degrees).

    heck, even on BB.com, there are several BP videos showing that technique, and not with the elbows close to the body.
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  20. #20
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    I am also a little confused. I always dumbell press with arms close to 90degrees to my torso and from what i can see on all instructional videos this should be the case. Never caused me any problems.

    I do understand you shouldn't do this with barbell but can't understand why it seems acceptable wth dumbbells.
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    Encyclochuzzle chazzy1864's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by MeMojo View Post
    If this is true, then why are some pro's press with elbows out and half way (till elbows are 90 degrees).

    heck, even on BB.com, there are several BP videos showing that technique, and not with the elbows close to the body.
    Flaring can isolate the chest as much as possible. XXX666 even said that. Just flaring is hard on the shoulders.
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