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  1. #1
    Registered User asdfdrummer's Avatar
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    elbows tucked on dumbbell bench?

    is it necessary to do dumbbell bench press with your elbows tucked?

    the reason i ask is because after reading some articles about how benching with elbows tucked can save your shoulders from getting fcked, ive been trying to change my technique from elbows flarred to elbows tucked.

    i didn't have much of a problem benching with elbows tucked on barbell bench,

    but when i tried it today with dumbbells it felt really akward and i had to drop my weight by 20 lbs.

    is this normal?

    i know you should tuck your elbows when doing barbell bench, but is it necessary to use this elbow tucked technique even with dumbbells?
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  2. #2
    Registered User poloboy406's Avatar
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    I guess I am confused by what you mean by tucked... if you mean tucked into your sides, then no don't do that unless you are going for bigger triceps. Keep your elbows out, they should form a 90 deg angle with the side of your body, and be parallel to the ground.

    What you may have read and misunderstood, is that people tuck their shoulder-blades back to isolate the chest and take strain off of the shoulders.
    Check out Milos Sarcev on the fit show episode 3. That should help.

    http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/fitshow3.htm
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    Registered User asdfdrummer's Avatar
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    no by tucked i mean your upper arm at a approx. 45 degree angle with body, NOT 90 degrees.

    the reason why is becuase this is safe for your shoulders
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    Long arm of the law. Attacus's Avatar
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    The OPp is right, ideally you aren't supposed to have your elbows completely flared during a bench. It's recommended to tuck them in slightly, particularly to preserve your shoulders. It also helps you lift more.

    The extra strain on your shoulders is not as present during a DB bench. Your shoulders can slightly rotate during the lift because each arm is independent.
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  5. #5
    Registered User BrettT07's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by poloboy406 View Post
    I guess I am confused by what you mean by tucked... if you mean tucked into your sides, then no don't do that unless you are going for bigger triceps. Keep your elbows out, they should form a 90 deg angle with the side of your body, and be parallel to the ground.

    What you may have read and misunderstood, is that people tuck their shoulder-blades back to isolate the chest and take strain off of the shoulders.
    Check out Milos Sarcev on the fit show episode 3. That should help.

    http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/fitshow3.htm
    I'd recommend using a ~45 degree angle. 90 degree can be horrific on the shoulders.

    I had a RC injury last year from flared elbows on the bench. Eventually led to me taking a long break, and got back into in almost 3 months ago and I did the 45 degree angle thing and reached a new bench PR already and have no shoulder pain anymore.
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    Registered User TheRagingboxer's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by BrettT07 View Post
    I'd recommend using a ~45 degree angle. 90 degree can be horrific on the shoulders.

    I had a RC injury last year from flared elbows on the bench. Eventually led to me taking a long break, and got back into in almost 3 months ago and I did the 45 degree angle thing and reached a new bench PR already and have no shoulder pain anymore.
    Do you keep your elbows to your sides when performing db presses, rather then putting your elbows to a 90 degree angle when perfroming db presses? I wasn't sure if you were just specifically talking about bb presses?
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  7. #7
    Registered User djansen's Avatar
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    ok, not to threadjack but what about elbows on a decline bench? I always flared them a bit on decline dumbell but I tried barbell and I found it hard not to flare them too. Would the decline take away alot of stress on the RC?
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    Registered User Caracalla's Avatar
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    in my experience its takes a bit to get used to tucking in your elbows for db bench but you should get used to it. i personally think that a 45 degree angle may be too steep, i just try and make sure to tuck as much as possible while focussing on the chest.,
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  9. #9
    Registered User BrettT07's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by TheRagingboxer View Post
    Do you keep your elbows to your sides when performing db presses, rather then putting your elbows to a 90 degree angle when perfroming db presses? I wasn't sure if you were just specifically talking about bb presses?
    I go about 45 degrees on DB bench too. I also twist the dumbells as I go down and back up.
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  10. #10
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    Originally Posted by poloboy406 View Post
    I guess I am confused by what you mean by tucked... if you mean tucked into your sides, then no don't do that unless you are going for bigger triceps. Keep your elbows out, they should form a 90 deg angle with the side of your body, and be parallel to the ground.

    What you may have read and misunderstood, is that people tuck their shoulder-blades back to isolate the chest and take strain off of the shoulders.
    Check out Milos Sarcev on the fit show episode 3. That should help.

    http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/fitshow3.htm
    Hey I watched that, thanks for posting
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  11. #11
    I rep what you max! XXX666's Avatar
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    read this! the vid the guy is using a barbell but the same technique applies

    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 your 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, it is 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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    Originally Posted by djansen View Post
    ok, not to threadjack but what about elbows on a decline bench? I always flared them a bit on decline dumbell but I tried barbell and I found it hard not to flare them too. Would the decline take away alot of stress on the RC?
    decline bench is almost like the regular bench press, just watch the video that triple x posted. Also if you are going to stress your RCs do RC work.
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  13. #13
    Registered User StarScream_F22's Avatar
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    I'm seriously worried. I tried Milos's technique and I've never felt my chest like I did after his advice, it was awesome. On the other hand we have Milos and others saying keeping your elbow out is the way to bench and then we have other bodybuilders and people saying keeping your elbows in is the right way to bench. I really don't know what method to use now.
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  14. #14
    Registered User djansen's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by StarScream_F22 View Post
    I'm seriously worried. I tried Milos's technique and I've never felt my chest like I did after his advice, it was awesome. On the other hand we have Milos and others saying keeping your elbow out is the way to bench and then we have other bodybuilders and people saying keeping your elbows in is the right way to bench. I really don't know what method to use now.
    well in the video what was Milos recommending? to use heavy weight for full ROM with low reps? or lighter weight with more "feel" on the chest.

    my point is you could prob get away with elbows flared with lighter weights and maybe dont bring the bar all the way down, or only to where you get a good stretch in the pecs and comfort in the delts.
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    Registered User brava's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by StarScream_F22 View Post
    I'm seriously worried. I tried Milos's technique and I've never felt my chest like I did after his advice, it was awesome. On the other hand we have Milos and others saying keeping your elbow out is the way to bench and then we have other bodybuilders and people saying keeping your elbows in is the right way to bench. I really don't know what method to use now.
    Indeed you should be worried...bench it with flared elbow and you'll screw your shoulders...just what I did already...I wish I knew before about benching with tuck elbows

    I hope I only have a light restraint and nothing more than that on my shoulder
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  16. #16
    Registered User BrettT07's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by brava View Post
    Indeed you should be worried...bench it with flared elbow and you'll screw your shoulders...just what I did already...I wish I knew before about benching with tuck elbows

    I hope I only have a light restraint and nothing more than that on my shoulder
    Like I mentioned earlier, I injured my RC last year but now it's perfectly fine since I've been tucking my elbows.

    However I did take a long break from lifting regularly so that may have contributed a lot to the healing
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    Why are there people out there such as Milos promoting flared elbows if there is such a high risk of injury?
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    Bulk it and HULK it hulkinout's Avatar
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    45! 45!! 45!!! Halfway between completed flared and not flared. What's so hard to understand? B-)
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    Registered User djansen's Avatar
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    Cool

    Originally Posted by hulkinout View Post
    45! 45!! 45!!! Halfway between completed flared and not flared. What's so hard to understand? B-)
    because this is bb.com, we think in absolutes.
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    Originally Posted by hulkinout View Post
    45! 45!! 45!!! Halfway between completed flared and not flared. What's so hard to understand? B-)
    Makes sense to me. I'm wondering how this works on something like dumbell shoulder press ? Surely as soon as you start tucking your elbows in it just starts to hit the front of the shoulder rather than the whole shoulder ?
    Also when pressing the barbell behind the head to hit the rear delts it seems kind of impossible to keep the elbows tucked in then!
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    I just got this reply from Bob Cicherillo:

    "Keeping the elbows out won't cause injury....going too heavy will. The technique is actually the proper one to use for building chest. Good luck. Bob"

    Does anyone know exactly what "going too heavy" means here?

    1.too heavy for 1 rep
    2.too heavy for a few reps

    Anyone know?

    Thanks.
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    Bulk it and HULK it hulkinout's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by StarScream_F22 View Post
    Does anyone know exactly what "going too heavy" means here?
    "Going too heavy" to me means that the bar gets stuck on your chest and a guy who's missing a tooth, wearng a skullcrap and alot of bling, comes to rescue me and advises "shouldn't lift such heavy weights, dude."

    True story! Circa 1994...
    Last edited by hulkinout; 03-24-2009 at 01:46 PM.
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    I would keep them at 45 degrees. Think about how you would hold your hands if you were to push some one standing up. It's not going to be with flaired elbows. Push where you naturally would push and where you are strongest.
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    Originally Posted by dantheman999 View Post
    I would keep them at 45 degrees. Think about how you would hold your hands if you were to push some one standing up. It's not going to be with flaired elbows. Push where you naturally would push and where you are strongest.
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    Originally Posted by dantheman999 View Post
    I would keep them at 45 degrees. Think about how you would hold your hands if you were to push some one standing up. It's not going to be with flaired elbows. Push where you naturally would push and where you are strongest.
    I suppose, however you're not pushing someone to stimulate the most fibres in your chest though are you.
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    Originally Posted by StarScream_F22 View Post
    I suppose, however you're not pushing someone to stimulate the most fibres in your chest though are you.
    No but my goal in the gym is to lift more weight. More weight = more work, add in alot of eating and your chest will grow. If i were a professional body builder who was trying to sculpt my already massive chest or trying to get that last little tiny bit of development then maybe i would try to isolate my chest. Until that point I will be pushing the most weight possible.
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    Originally Posted by dantheman999 View Post
    No but my goal in the gym is to lift more weight. More weight = more work, add in alot of eating and your chest will grow. If i were a professional body builder who was trying to sculpt my already massive chest or trying to get that last little tiny bit of development then maybe i would try to isolate my chest. Until that point I will be pushing the most weight possible.
    I understand but if your doing bench press or any other exercise, you do it to stimulate the chest fibres and not the supporting muscles e.g. front delts. So as long as you do it with proper form and not overload the weight with something you cannot even do for 1 rep then I think anyone with the arms flaired out should be fine. I've seen people in my gym bench over double what I bench and yet they have no chest development. I believe it comes down to isolationg that muscle, form, weight and last but not least diet.
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    Are you supposed to keep your elbows at 45 from bottom to top? I was told to start at 45 and flare them out at the top and squeeze ? Kinda of like turning a screwdriver...???
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    TBH up until a couple of weeks ago, I was trying to keep everything square when BB and DB pressing. I found the bar would never reach my chest when lowering it. Have since switch to elbows slightly in and found the bar can go lower and hence greater ROM. Less discomfort around the shoulders. Have adapted this to DB press too.
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    Originally Posted by FLEXLUIS View Post
    Are you supposed to keep your elbows at 45 from bottom to top? I was told to start at 45 and flare them out at the top and squeeze ? Kinda of like turning a screwdriver...???
    If you dont know the answer to this then take down that avi because that aint you.
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