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Thread: The Bench Press

  1. #1
    Registered User adamgentile's Avatar
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    The Bench Press

    Last set for 185lbs x 6.

    The barbell bench press gets a back rap today in the fitness world, in fact most workout advice in today's world is horrible. You need to really shift through the sands to find some sound advice. Or to make it easier just only read about old school bodybuilding.

    I’m going to be 50 years old in a few months and a very high percentage of people my age don’t bench anymore, it’s either bad shoulders, mobility issues, or just bad form. Yes the shoulders do come into play but if your shoulders hurt from bench pressing your form is way off.

    A lot people say you need to switch things up to keep the muscles guessing, that’s new age crappy advice. The old schoolers stuck to the basics and learned how to perfect an exercise. In fact, the great Danny Padilla stuck with the same routine, sets and reps for 20 years. Stick with the compound basics, especially as you get older!

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    Originally Posted by adamgentile View Post
    Last set for 185lbs x 6.

    The barbell bench press gets a back rap today in the fitness world, in fact most workout advice in today's world is horrible. You need to really shift through the sands to find some sound advice. Or to make it easier just only read about old school bodybuilding.

    I’m going to be 50 years old in a few months and a very high percentage of people my age don’t bench anymore, it’s either bad shoulders, mobility issues, or just bad form. Yes the shoulders do come into play but if your shoulders hurt from bench pressing your form is way off.

    A lot people say you need to switch things up to keep the muscles guessing, that’s new age crappy advice. The old schoolers stuck to the basics and learned how to perfect an exercise. In fact, the great Danny Padilla stuck with the same routine, sets and reps for 20 years. Stick with the compound basics, especially as you get older!

    https://youtu.be/qe2Ut3BY_s8
    Well I don't agree with variety. The reason most ovr 50 don't bench is fear, my experience is opposite I find many over 50 benching... I for one have been benching forever and wong ever stop, I work thru and past injuries and bench
    As a side note I am 62 yrs old and steadily increasing my bench to a current 287 and a rep max of 225x12 all filmed and posted
    Keep pushing
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    Registered User adamgentile's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by charlievanriper View Post
    Well I don't agree with variety. The reason most ovr 50 don't bench is fear, my experience is opposite I find many over 50 benching... I for one have been benching forever and wong ever stop, I work thru and past injuries and bench
    As a side note I am 62 yrs old and steadily increasing my bench to a current 287 and a rep max of 225x12 all filmed and posted
    Keep pushing
    Nice numbers!
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    I just started bench pressing a couple months ago. I've been lifting on and off for quite a few years, seriously within the past year or so.

    I was doing mostly isolation exercises but also dumbbell pressing consistently. Lifting heavy dumbbells because too cumbersome after a while so I decided to switch it up and start benching (still work in the dumbbells periodically).

    I'm glad I did. I'm still adjusting my technique as I go along. Now all I can think about is getting back to the bench to progress. It took a while getting used to at first especially after dumbbell pressing for so long but I've already added 25lbs to my bench in six weeks.
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  5. #5
    anonymous
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    I'm 6 years younger than you and the reason I don't bench is potential pec tears, even with a tuck, and general shoulder pain in my repaired left shoulder

    I dropped the bench in my late 30's after hitting 455 so I don't feel like there's any real point adding it back in, but if it works for you keep on keepin on
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    Originally Posted by Halfway View Post
    I'm 6 years younger than you and the reason I don't bench is potential pec tears, even with a tuck, and general shoulder pain in my repaired left shoulder

    I dropped the bench in my late 30's after hitting 455 so I don't feel like there's any real point adding it back in, but if it works for you keep on keepin on
    There is no rule saying you HAVE to bench heavy Moderate weight and reps will get the job done.
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    Originally Posted by adamgentile View Post
    There is no rule saying you HAVE to bench heavy Moderate weight and reps will get the job done.
    I'm kind of plotting this out in my mind as I go along. I almost wonder if when I start plateauing doing 5x5s if I should just drop a little weight and stick with increased reps and not worry about throwing more weight on the bar after that.
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    Adaptive resistance is a thing for hypertrophy, but it takes quite a while and even small variations can help keep things moving. There are many exercises that can build your pecs, it doesn't always have to be standard barbell bench. That said, it seems sub-optimal to avoid it completely.
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    Originally Posted by xTeTe View Post
    I'm kind of plotting this out in my mind as I go along. I almost wonder if when I start plateauing doing 5x5s if I should just drop a little weight and stick with increased reps and not worry about throwing more weight on the bar after that.
    One week do low reps heavy weight, another week high reps lower weight. It's a good combo.
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  10. #10
    anonymous
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    Originally Posted by adamgentile View Post
    There is no rule saying you HAVE to bench heavy Moderate weight and reps will get the job done.
    There's no rule saying you have to bench press either, lol. I'd rather incline the 100s for 20 than do high reps with 225 to be honest.

    Bench locks your hands into a position I don't really love anymore
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    Originally Posted by Halfway View Post
    There's no rule saying you have to bench press either, lol. I'd rather incline the 100s for 20 than do high reps with 225 to be honest.

    Bench locks your hands into a position I don't really love anymore
    I guess it's the teenage bro still in me that prefers to bench, but when my shoulders hurt and I can't bench (actually, incline bench seems to be more shoulder friendly than flat benching), I can usually incline DB bench. You are much stronger than I am, but I have incline benched 90's before:

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  12. #12
    anonymous
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    Originally Posted by Payton1221 View Post
    I guess it's the teenage bro still in me that prefers to bench, but when my shoulders hurt and I can't bench (actually, incline bench seems to be more shoulder friendly than flat benching), I can usually incline DB bench. You are much stronger than I am, but I have incline benched 90's before:

    Good set! I can't stand those db hooks but they seem to be working for you! I always got messed up liftint them off so I stick to the roll back method

    I hear you, there's something about throwing a lot of weight up especially in a commercial gym that is fun

    Although a dude in my gym, maybe 50s,maybe 60s, hotdog skin and looking horribly unhealthy from mega dosing juice was bouncing 365 off his chest the other day for horrible choppy half reps. I was openly staring in awe that his shoulders could handle that kind of abuse, and bewilderment why anyone that age would train like that (or take enough androgens to make their head swell up like an over ripe pumpkin). Unfortunately I think he thought I was admiring him because he visibly puffed up afterwards

    I have no idea how some people can survive that kind of abuse for so long but then again my grandad smoked 40 a day for decades and lived to be 96
    Last edited by Halfway; 09-03-2020 at 07:12 PM.
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    I'm 42 and BB Bench and Incline DB Bench are still my fave exercises. If I don't add a lb or two every workout I spend the next few days gutted. I think as long as you train sensibly and accept you are not in your 20s anymore, then there is no reason to stop if you enjoy it. My goal is to bench 400 and I know I'll get there in the next couple of years. Age won't stop me.
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    Originally Posted by Halfway View Post
    . . . I stick to the roll back method
    It's impressive that you can even get the 100's into position. I've had occasional back issues in the past, and I think I'd be much more likely to cause a flare up trying to manipulate those big DBs

    Originally Posted by Halfway View Post
    there's something about throwing a lot of weight up especially in a commercial gym that is fun
    My wife and I dropped our Planet Fitness membership when the 'rona hit, but lifting at PF (ADMITTEDLY, not a gym that attracts many serious lifters) was such an ego boost. The average gym goer there can't do a single pull-up, and I'd receive compliments frequently as I'd bang out sets of 15 or so. And to do a set with a 35# DB cradled in your crossed ankles? There' was almost an audible "wow" murmured from the masses
    Last edited by Payton1221; 09-04-2020 at 07:42 PM.
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  15. #15
    anonymous
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    Originally Posted by Payton1221 View Post
    It's impressive that you can even get the 100's into position. I've had occasional back issues in the past, and I think I'd be much more likely to cause a flare up trying to manipulate those big DBs


    My wife and I dropped our Planet Fitness membership when the 'rona hit, but lifting at PF (ADMITTEDLY, not a gym that attracts many serious lifters) was such an ego boost. The average gym goer there can't do a single pull-up, and I'd receive compliments frequently as I'd bang out sets of 15 or so. And to do a set with a 35# DB cradled in your crossed ankles? There' was almost an audible "wow" murmured from the masses :P
    Getting them into position is a big part of why I only do a 15 degree incline - the more steep incline requires me to kick back each DB one at a time which feels very bad for the shoulders!

    100s and occasionally 110s are the heaviest I go since getting them into position can indeed be very dangerous.

    I can only imagine how depressing lifting at a PF must have been, we train at a 24 hour thats pretty much the same kind of crowd and it's quite awful
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    I'm 53 and bench regularly, lifting for the past 7 years and competed for the pass 4 years. I've always believed that age has nothing to do will limiting your bench as I personally never had issues making gains as I aged. Lately I've been thinking a little different as I'm helping my 50yo friend get stronger. I'm not seeing the progression I expected I would from him especially when I compare his progress to my 13 year old son. My buddy has never stopped working out since High School going 3-4 days a week and is about my size. Although I didn't start lifting serious until 49 I'm a lot stronger then he is. I attribute that to learning how to lift correctly from my powerlifting coach, while my self taught buddy has a ton of bad habits and bad form. When we are young we can get away with bad form just like we can get away with a bad diet. As we age our body is less forgiving and and less efficient in recovery. Forget what you think you know as an old school gym bro and look into the science, the bio mechanics to lifting. Leave your ego at the door and start over again with the bar to perfect the bench form. If your shoulder hurts with even just the bar practice perfect form with a dowel. My buddy been benching 30+ years and never heard about retracting the shoulder blades on the bench, he also never noticed his elbow going way out until I told him and showed him in video. Bench is still a good exercise for us still we just have to be more careful.
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    Originally Posted by PhantomMaxx View Post
    I'm 53 and bench regularly, lifting for the past 7 years and competed for the pass 4 years. I've always believed that age has nothing to do will limiting your bench as I personally never had issues making gains as I aged. Lately I've been thinking a little different as I'm helping my 50yo friend get stronger. I'm not seeing the progression I expected I would from him especially when I compare his progress to my 13 year old son. My buddy has never stopped working out since High School going 3-4 days a week and is about my size. Although I didn't start lifting serious until 49 I'm a lot stronger then he is. I attribute that to learning how to lift correctly from my powerlifting coach, while my self taught buddy has a ton of bad habits and bad form. When we are young we can get away with bad form just like we can get away with a bad diet. As we age our body is less forgiving and and less efficient in recovery. Forget what you think you know as an old school gym bro and look into the science, the bio mechanics to lifting. Leave your ego at the door and start over again with the bar to perfect the bench form. If your shoulder hurts with even just the bar practice perfect form with a dowel. My buddy been benching 30+ years and never heard about retracting the shoulder blades on the bench, he also never noticed his elbow going way out until I told him and showed him in video. Bench is still a good exercise for us still we just have to be more careful.
    Some good advice offered above. In my case, I am 71 years old and still making good progress. For about three years I have been a machine user member of Planet Fitness, but during the covid shutdown, they added a smith machine, I believe that is what it is called. It looks like a York rack on steroids. My progress on the other chest machines had plateaued for months, but soon after reopening, I spotted a guy using the smith machine for bench presses and i was curious how I might do. Back at 32 yoa I had injured my shoulders doing heavy benches, so only used machines and flies after that day and having taken years off from lifting. To my surprise, I was handling up to 185 that first day. I started doing benches and making good progress since. I keep my grip on the bar closer, stop the bar movement about an inch or two from my chest to reduce shoulder stress. I will add that I have seen two doctors about my shoulders and they told me only a shoulder reconstruction will help my condition. Also, a stem cell MD offered what they had, but I had to cancel my first treatment due to family health crisis. It seems the more I exercise my chest, taking cautionary measures, the better my shoulders feel. If it hurts, I stop and try a different grip on the bar and range of movement. At this point, I am not planning on following up on any MD advice. My most recent x-ray report says a severe condition exists, but as long as I can continue making progress without normal muscle discomfort, I will be on my normal routine. The MD profession doesn't make money unless they are treating ailments, sometimes exercise/therapy can improve conditions. Yes, you can do bench presses at any age and make progress, as long as you are physically able to do the exercise. Remember, it is progressive weight resistance exercise that takes a commitment over years, one day and one pound at a time.
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    I use exclusively DB's for bench (flat incline decline) because BB causes shoulder issues on flat bench.

    DB's allow variable handgrip. I can use palms in, 45 degree, palms forward or start palms in and turn to palms forward on the way up (or reverse). I prefer 45 degree, but rotate positioning. Palms forward with DB does not affect my shoulders like BB does, and I can get more range of motion. With DB's I can change positioning from close grip to wide grip in the same set. Sometimes when I am at failure with wide grip I will do the next rep at close grip or vice versa

    no more one rep max for me. I broke the BB 315 barrier with 320, cheered for myself, then said goodbye to ORM .... mission accomplished
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    Originally Posted by PhantomMaxx View Post
    I'm 53 and bench regularly, lifting for the past 7 years and competed for the pass 4 years. I've always believed that age has nothing to do will limiting your bench as I personally never had issues making gains as I aged. Lately I've been thinking a little different as I'm helping my 50yo friend get stronger. I'm not seeing the progression I expected I would from him especially when I compare his progress to my 13 year old son. My buddy has never stopped working out since High School going 3-4 days a week and is about my size. Although I didn't start lifting serious until 49 I'm a lot stronger then he is. I attribute that to learning how to lift correctly from my powerlifting coach, while my self taught buddy has a ton of bad habits and bad form. When we are young we can get away with bad form just like we can get away with a bad diet. As we age our body is less forgiving and and less efficient in recovery. Forget what you think you know as an old school gym bro and look into the science, the bio mechanics to lifting. Leave your ego at the door and start over again with the bar to perfect the bench form. If your shoulder hurts with even just the bar practice perfect form with a dowel. My buddy been benching 30+ years and never heard about retracting the shoulder blades on the bench, he also never noticed his elbow going way out until I told him and showed him in video. Bench is still a good exercise for us still we just have to be more careful.
    Well said! Great advice as well.
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    Barbell can be bad for shoulders.

    Dumbell can be bad for shoulders - getting the things up in the air to start.

    I have neglected machine work. Now I’m getting into the HS Decline press and I like it quite a bit.

    In the future I will give Barbell another go, but only when my shoulders are 100% and only with perfect form.

    As regards dumbells I’m tempted to do the athletic move where you rock back and throw them up - even though it’s said to be stupidly dangerous - because from my experience pushing them up from the bottom is worse at 53 years old.
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  21. #21
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    i had some foot issues that prevented me from doing a lot of exercises, among them the bench. I usually workout alone despite being surrounded by meat heads, so i have no spotters nor anyone to help correct form issues. i also would occasionally do db presses over bars. the floor press was my goto for a long time. the foot thing is done finally, and i've slowly been getting back into bench. while my numbers aren't extraordinary in anyway, there has been progress.

    slow and steady.
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    Wow, I never really thought about the body breaking down this much, especially in your 40’s. Thought most people wouldn’t have many issues with lifting until old age 60+. It’s really scary as the years seem to be flying by these days.
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    Originally Posted by Adrenaline91 View Post
    Wow, I never really thought about the body breaking down this much, especially in your 40’s. Thought most people wouldn’t have many issues with lifting until old age 60+. It’s really scary as the years seem to be flying by these days.


    I’d say your initial thoughts are spot on, however some folks benched more often than other compounds movements which cause issues, add to that PEDs and one can be on the pathway of physical injuries and surgeries.
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    Originally Posted by Payton1221 View Post

    My wife and I dropped our Planet Fitness membership when the 'rona hit, but lifting at PF (ADMITTEDLY, not a gym that attracts many serious lifters) was such an ego boost. The average gym goer there can't do a single pull-up, and I'd receive compliments frequently as I'd bang out sets of 15 or so. And to do a set with a 35# DB cradled in your crossed ankles? There' was almost an audible "wow" murmured from the masses
    LOL this is the absolute truth. I work out kind of far from home, but it's a serious lifter gym (EOS) that used to be Gold's. I just bought a house and it's even further from my current gym. So I did a search in my area and go figure, the closest gym is a plant fitness a few blocks away. I quickly decided to stick with the longer drive and pass on PF.
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    I've added 30lbs now to my press doing 5x5s over eight weeks of benching. I'm really happy with my progress so far. But, I'm making sure I lower that bar slowly to ensure good form. I like a wider grip so I'm trying to make sure I'm not flaring my elbows out throughout the motion. I also make sure I come down about an inch to two inches from my chest instead of touching. So far so good.

    I did have to quickly adjust my grip though. About two weeks in my wrists were hurting and I realized that I was holding too far up in my palm and bending my hands back. I'm trying to make an effort to turn my hand to get the bar further down into my palm and it's helped a lot. But I still find myself slipping up on it from time to time.
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    This is a lot of great information. Unlike many of you, I find the incline press to be harder on my shoulders than the regular bench. I put the bench angle at about 32 degrees, and put up about 80% of my regular bench.

    Both are hardest on my elbows, but I find that to be the case for both pushing and pulling exercises. It's just there. I'm not worried about the big injuries or huge wear and tear that some of you are facing, because it's pretty clear to me I'll never approach those numbers y'all are putting up!
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    Originally Posted by Adrenaline91 View Post
    Wow, I never really thought about the body breaking down this much, especially in your 40’s. Thought most people wouldn’t have many issues with lifting until old age 60+. It’s really scary as the years seem to be flying by these days.
    do anything for 20+ years and chances are you'll have a bad day here or there, and it doesn't take much to pop something the older you get

    for me the damage to my labrum was probably done when I got into equipped lifting and was trying to lock out 600-700lbs every week, not something my structure was made for. In retrospect if I'd just stuck to doing a couple of work sets of close grip, paused bench with, say 315 for 12-15 reps then I might still be ok with benching.

    The real tragedy is that wisdom that comes with age usually comes too late
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  28. #28
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    Originally Posted by adamgentile View Post
    Last set for 185lbs x 6.

    The barbell bench press gets a back rap today in the fitness world, in fact most workout advice in today's world is horrible. You need to really shift through the sands to find some sound advice. Or to make it easier just only read about old school bodybuilding.

    I’m going to be 50 years old in a few months and a very high percentage of people my age don’t bench anymore, it’s either bad shoulders, mobility issues, or just bad form. Yes the shoulders do come into play but if your shoulders hurt from bench pressing your form is way off.

    A lot people say you need to switch things up to keep the muscles guessing, that’s new age crappy advice. The old schoolers stuck to the basics and learned how to perfect an exercise. In fact, the great Danny Padilla stuck with the same routine, sets and reps for 20 years. Stick with the compound basics, especially as you get older!

    https://youtu.be/qe2Ut3BY_s8
    I’m just about 60 ,and love the bench press , but unfortunately tendonitis has really thrown a wrench into things .
    It started in my right forearm when I was 49 , and now it’s in both arms and I’ve been fighting ever since.
    Benching with dumbbells helps a lot , so I use dumbbells the majority of the time , and mix it up with the barbell once in a while .
    I don’t think using a suicide grip on the barbell all these years helped my situation either , and I suspect if I had a proper grip that I’d have less issues right now .
    At least I can still workout I guess . Not as heavy as I’d like to , but better than nothing
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  29. #29
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    Originally Posted by charlievanriper View Post
    Well I don't agree with variety. The reason most ovr 50 don't bench is fear, my experience is opposite I find many over 50 benching... I for one have been benching forever and wong ever stop, I work thru and past injuries and bench
    As a side note I am 62 yrs old and steadily increasing my bench to a current 287 and a rep max of 225x12 all filmed and posted
    Keep pushing

    I haven't benched in years, have no desire too. I have had a few shoulder injuries (non lifting related) and the bench just tears them up.

    Dumbbells allow me to angle them a bit and no shoulder issues.

    It's dumbbells all the way for me and when I get past 70 I use Power Hooks. I really need my shoulder to last and do whatever it takes to make that happen.
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    Originally Posted by TheResistance View Post

    Dumbell can be bad for shoulders - getting the things up in the air to start.


    As regards dumbells I’m tempted to do the athletic move where you rock back and throw them up - even though it’s said to be stupidly dangerous - because from my experience pushing them up from the bottom is worse at 53 years old.

    When I get up in poundage I use Power Hooks, It's a cheap way to save your shoulders

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