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    Bench presses and rows enough for upper body?

    If you think about it Bench works the chest, shoulders and triceps which constitutes the front, and the barbell row works the entire posterior chain: traps, rear delts, erectors, lats and biceps.

    So I'm kind of curious what would happen if I just picked those 2 exercises for upper body and progressed on them till I hit 315 lbs.

    And as accessories maybe alternate incline, dips and pull ups.
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    Above average Junsuiakai's Avatar
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    I do bench and row combo twice a week and chin up and dip once a week.

    I learned fast that it's better to progress on a few exercises than many different exercises.

    Good luck rowing and benching 315 if you are doing 5-6 extra accessories.
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    not if you want arms that people are impressed by.

    You need to add arms. Yes rows work [part of] the biceps some, and bench works [part of] the triceps some. There is also the variations of bench - flat, incline, decline, dumbbell, and the many variations thereof.

    you should be incorporating arms, shoulders, and core dedicated exercises, and also more variation.

    keep in mind your body will quickly adapt if all you do is bench and rows, and soon you will stop seeing results. Also, you'll get too bored to go back on a daily basis with only the same two exercises.

    also, by not targeting each body part, you are very prone to injury and muscle imbalances.
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    You'd be fine for the most part. I would definitely switch it up by doing a Bench/Row day, then a OHP/Chin Up day though.
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    temporary illusion supramax's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ZT89 View Post
    You'd be fine for the most part. I would definitely switch it up by doing a Bench/Row day, then a OHP/Chin Up day though.
    If you throw in deadlifts and dips, you could lose the bench press and row.
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    Originally Posted by Fitness0101 View Post
    keep in mind your body will quickly adapt if all you do is bench and rows, and soon you will stop seeing results.
    I thought that is why we add weight.
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    Registered User TAWS6's Avatar
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    I like simple routines but I think its important to add face pulls in there.
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    Above average Junsuiakai's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by TAWS6 View Post
    I like simple routines but I think its important to add face pulls in there.
    Yes some accessories are neccesary.

    And fitness numbers is talking out his butt

    You won't stop progressing on rows, bench if you keep getting stronger.
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  9. #9
    Team Monkey Arms TheGymJim's Avatar
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    For Upper Body..

    Required:

    - Horizontal push (bench press variation)
    - Horizontal pull (row variation)
    - Vertical push (OHP variation)
    - Vertical pull (pull up/pulldown variation)

    Highly recommended for joint health:

    - Face pulls
    - Hammer curls

    Optional but recommended, depending on goals, which other variations you're doing (above) and total volume accrued for each muscle:

    - Triceps variation
    - Lateral raise
    - Additional curl variation

    Completely optional, and only if additional volume is both required and carefully programmed:

    - Variations for training the lats through shoulder extension (straight arm pulldowns/pullovers)
    - Variations for training the pecs through adduction of the humerus (flyes/cable crossover)
    Current PRs: (S/B/D) 145kg / 100kg / 180kg // 2018 goal PRs: 160kg / 110kg / 190kg

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  10. #10
    Moderator SuffolkPunch's Avatar
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    I'm never convinced by these kinds of minimalist arguments - I think they have a certain appeal because they appear like an elegant solution when written on paper. But in actual real life training, you would get bored quickly, would be concerned that you might be missing out (which I think you would be). And you could even suffer overuse injuries if you persisted with it.

    I would think lats and lateral delts would be left underdeveloped. Arms are not activated as fully as they could be. And that's before you consider shoulder issues and remedial action that might be necessary for those. Posterior delts and upper traps are not really worked through a decent range of motion by rows - it does a good job of being a jack-of-all-trades but is a master-of-none.
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    Above average Junsuiakai's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by SuffolkPunch View Post
    I'm never convinced by these kinds of minimalist arguments - I think they have a certain appeal because they appear like an elegant solution when written on paper. But in actual real life training, you would get bored quickly, would be concerned that you might be missing out (which I think you would be). And you could even suffer overuse injuries if you persisted with it.

    I would think lats and lateral delts would be left underdeveloped. Arms are not activated as fully as they could be. And that's before you consider shoulder issues and remedial action that might be necessary for those. Posterior delts and upper traps are not really worked through a decent range of motion by rows - it does a good job of being a jack-of-all-trades but is a master-of-none.
    I must have misunderstood the OP. I thought he said do main compounds and only use bench/row as accessory

    I Bench and row 2x a week, but I also do face pulls x1, ohp 2x, push press x1, chin and dip 1x, deadlift x1, squat x2. I started adding in cheat curls and tricep push downs once a week to balance myself out a bit. Also good mornings x1, reverse hypers x2, and glute-ham x1, romanian x1

    That is about all I do atm. I do agree with you that eventually I'll get bored and rotate some of the exercises, but for now it seems to work.

    Now that I think about it.. It sounds like a lot lol but I wanted to make sure I have balance. I was considering to add seated leg curls, for knee extension of hammies, but not sure if it is important with my current routine.
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  12. #12
    Moderator SuffolkPunch's Avatar
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    Meh, I missed the accessories part.
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    If you did want the minimalist approach... Why pull ups when you can do chin ups instead and work more muscle mass?
    I'd almost go as far as to put chin ups as a main lift, if you were a minimalist...
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    Originally Posted by maddog352002 View Post
    I thought that is why we add weight.
    Ridiculous... you'd need something like a big metal stick, and shove weights on the ends. That'll never catch on.
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    Originally Posted by OldFartTom View Post
    If you did want the minimalist approach... Why pull ups when you can do chin ups instead and work more muscle mass?
    I'd almost go as far as to put chin ups as a main lift, if you were a minimalist...
    Uhm yes when I said "Pull-ups" I was referring to pull up variations (chins, wide grip, hammer grip).

    IMO rows>pull ups. Rows definitely work more back muscles because you're using the same muscles that the pull up uses, plus traps plus rear delts plus it's a nice accessory for the deadlift, and it's also way easier to progress on (for me)

    Problem is most people do them with awful technique with a lot of cheating. I don't. I pull them off the floor, with no momentum, bar to waist, completely horizontal.
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    Moderator SuffolkPunch's Avatar
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    The range of motion and the force curve of a row is not as good for the lats as a pullup IMO.
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    Yes, but a row pulling directly toward chest (not upwards and towards) is great for e.g. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhomboid_muscles in a way that pull-ups etc just don't train.

    Even if I was looking for a minimalist approach I'd definitely have some row in there as well as a downward pull.

    Despite some obvious overlap I'd say row and pull-ups are too different to directly compare - and both are needed. IMHO

    Edit: we're definitely straying into "how to balance a program" which is maybe better covered in several existing threads
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    Originally Posted by Fingertipgrip View Post
    But this isn't a powerlifting forum.....it's a bodybuilding website.
    And that somehow invalidates the reason to progressively overload on your compound lifts because.....?

    Also, since when did getting strong at rows become a powerlifting-specific thing?
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    Originally Posted by Fingertipgrip View Post
    As if benching and rowing 315 was the end to all way to build muscle.... I said this is not a powerlifting website because powerlifters do that.... focus only on 3 few movements and use accessories to build those movements.
    Nobody said that a row and benchpress was the end all to building muscle. That being said, a horizontal pull and a horizontal push is pretty much almost necessary to building muscle in the grand scheme of things. And while the number 315 may not matter, lifting more than you did last week does. It doesn't make someone a powerlifter just because of that.

    Secondly, the 3 main movements that powerlifting focuses on doesn't involve rows (in the event that we're limited to 3 core movements).

    Originally Posted by Fingertipgrip View Post
    Where bodybuilding is using any movement not to become stronger but to build muscle, and getting more efficient on certain movements is a factor that will increase growth.
    Common misconception. While the intention of a bodybuilder may be size over strength, as a natural, its still going to boil back down to getting stronger at the movement or overloading it by increasing volume.

    Originally Posted by Fingertipgrip View Post
    Also, where did I stated that bodybuilders don't use progressive overload?
    Well I don't assume people are going to get to benching or rowing or doing anything with 315 without progressive overload now are we? If you want to grow then you're going to have to go stronger, if you want to get stronger you're going to have to apply progressive overload.

    Focusing on getting stronger on all your compounds doesn't make one a powerlifter. Focusing on squat,bench and deadlift at their 1 rep maxes alone while having a diet fixated around making a particular weight class makes on a powerlifter (along with all the technical requirements of the sport, which once again, is by passed here).
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  20. #20
    Above average Junsuiakai's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Fingertipgrip View Post
    ''Good luck rowing and benching 315 if you are doing 5-6 extra accessories.''

    As if benching and rowing 315 was the end to all way to build muscle.... I said this is not a powerlifting website because powerlifters do that.... focus only on 3 few movements and use accessories to build those movements.

    Where bodybuilding is using any movement not to become stronger but to build muscle, and getting more efficient on certain movements is a factor that will increase growth.


    Also, where did I stated that bodybuilders don't use progressive overload?
    OP asked if he could get bench and row to 315lb, I said that good luck focusing on that goal if you are doing too many accessory lifts.

    It has nothing to do with powerlifting, it has to do with progressive overloading. Which means... more reps, more sets, less rest time, more weight, ect ect. If his goal was to get 315 on bench and row, I simply made a remark that it would be quite difficult if you are trying to reach those goals and also adding in extra accessories and progressing on those too.
    Bodybuilding does not automatically equate to many different accessories. It means to build your body, and how do we build our bodies? We get stronger.

    Now stronger isn't a blanket term that means you can lift more weight, it means you have become better over time, more reps, sets ect ect, on and on and on. I think it is funny that you associate powerlifting with intermediate weights.

    and I can only imagine what your training is like.
    FS/ S/ OHP/ B/ DL
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    Originally Posted by rsid97 View Post
    Nobody said that a row and benchpress was the end all to building muscle. That being said, a horizontal pull and a horizontal push is pretty much almost necessary to building muscle in the grand scheme of things. And while the number 315 may not matter, lifting more than you did last week does. It doesn't make someone a powerlifter just because of that.

    Secondly, the 3 main movements that powerlifting focuses on doesn't involve rows (in the event that we're limited to 3 core movements).



    Common misconception. While the intention of a bodybuilder may be size over strength, as a natural, its still going to boil back down to getting stronger at the movement or overloading it by increasing volume.



    Well I don't assume people are going to get to benching or rowing or doing anything with 315 without progressive overload now are we? If you want to grow then you're going to have to go stronger, if you want to get stronger you're going to have to apply progressive overload.

    Focusing on getting stronger on all your compounds doesn't make one a powerlifter. Focusing on squat,bench and deadlift at their 1 rep maxes alone while having a diet fixated around making a particular weight class makes on a powerlifter (along with all the technical requirements of the sport, which once again, is by passed here).
    I'll rep you when I can, thanks for explaining it to the guy in the box.
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    Originally Posted by Gearmuscle View Post
    Also are you a power lifter or a bodybuilder?
    If you are a bodybuilder then its not all about weight you push
    Try telling that to Ronnie Coleman
    http://www.azquotes.com/author/24655-Ronnie_Coleman look at his number 1 quote

    "Everybody wants to be a bodybuilder, but don't nobody want to lift no heavy ass weight"

    Not only was he the undisputed king of the triple negative, he also was good at bodybuilding too. A renaissance man of such diverse talents!
    Faith in Jesus first and faith in squats second.
    Then other details will start to slot themselves into place.
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    Originally Posted by Gearmuscle View Post
    Also are you a power lifter or a bodybuilder?
    If you are a bodybuilder then its not all about weight you push, but about working different muscles in order to build a good proportioned body.
    For a body builder you should at least add:
    Shrugs
    Dumbbell lateral raises a/ military press
    Close grip bench presses
    Dumbbell curls a/ hammer curls
    -I do shrugs every once in a while but not that important
    -Lateral raises once every blue moon
    -Close grip bench is just useless, since I already do bench with a medium grip
    -Curls are a waste of time, I'd rather do tricep extensions.

    Tbh I think that doing too many exercises is bad for a begginer. IMO one should only worry about lacking aspects once he has reached a later stage
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    Originally Posted by MarusDod View Post
    -I do shrugs every once in a while but not that important
    -Lateral raises once every blue moon
    -Close grip bench is just useless, since I already do bench with a medium grip
    -Curls are a waste of time, I'd rather do tricep extensions.

    Tbh I think that doing too many exercises is bad for a begginer. IMO one should only worry about lacking aspects once he has reached a later stage
    You seem to know it all,
    So I'm struggling to see the point of this thread at all tbh
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    I think bench press isn't enough for a good upper body. You should use pull-down for shoulders and triceps. For biceps, weight preacher curl machine is the best options. You can also do bench presses but by this combinaion of exercise you'll get the best results in very short time.
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    Originally Posted by WolfRose7 View Post
    You seem to know it all,
    So I'm struggling to see the point of this thread at all tbh
    The guy I replied to said I needed a ton of isolations which I don't think were all that important because that would be too much for a person taking a minimalistic approach like me.
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    Originally Posted by MarusDod View Post
    The guy I replied to said I needed a ton of isolations which I don't think were all that important because that would be too much for a person taking a minimalistic approach like me.
    FWIW I agree.

    I would throw in OHP and pullups and call it good.
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    Originally Posted by MarusDod View Post
    The guy I replied to said I needed a ton of isolations which I don't think were all that important because that would be too much for a person taking a minimalistic approach like me.
    It's not that I agree with all his points, It's the ridiculous attitude in your response.

    He even asked what your goals were and you din't reply.

    Cg bench is useless because you bench already? is it?
    Cg Bench is a great supplementary exercise if your goal is to increase bench, it's also a great triceps builder so works for the bodybuilding side of goals too.

    Hammer curls are well reputed for elbow health and anyone pressing a lot, and bodybuilding goals will require some arm isolation. (go watch some Jeff Nippard).

    Lateral raises I'd sub for face pulls, but you should be doing face pulls. Rows will not be hitting your rear delts sufficiently.

    Minimalism just for the sake of minimalism is just as ridiculous as doing a **** load of junk volume.

    Extremism in anything is usually a poor life choice...
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    Alternate bench with OHP, alternate Barbell rows with dumbbell rows and alternate wide and narrow grips and i think you will be good. For what its worth i only bench,ohp,row and throw in some hammer curls as the end of my work out. Literally haven't done a single other exercise for upperbody in the last few years.
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    Originally Posted by TheGymJim View Post
    For Upper Body..

    Required:

    - Horizontal push (bench press variation)
    - Horizontal pull (row variation)
    - Vertical push (OHP variation)
    - Vertical pull (pull up/pulldown variation)

    Highly recommended for joint health:

    - Face pulls
    - Hammer curls

    Optional but recommended, depending on goals, which other variations you're doing (above) and total volume accrued for each muscle:

    - Triceps variation
    - Lateral raise
    - Additional curl variation

    Completely optional, and only if additional volume is both required and carefully programmed:

    - Variations for training the lats through shoulder extension (straight arm pulldowns/pullovers)
    - Variations for training the pecs through adduction of the humerus (flyes/cable crossover)
    ^^^ Great write up
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