Benefit of Bench Press?

Discussion in 'Health and Fitness' started by Capt Ann, Aug 9, 2006.

  1. Capt Ann

    Capt Ann Valued Member

    What does the bench press buy me?

    I'm new to resistance training. I've read the stickies, searched the forums, and asked lots of questions. For the last six weeks, i've emphasized core stuff, compound motions, with free weights (not isolation or machines), in a rep range for strength (3 x 7, 3 x 8, 4 x 6, 5 x 5). I squat (a2g, overhead, box, dumbell, barbell), lunge, step up, Turkish get-up, twist, crunch with weights, dip, chin, row, and overhead or Cuban press. I've tried several others, and occasionally throw them in the mix, but the one exercize I just can't seem to 'get into' is the bench press.

    I'm a 40-something-year old female, trying to improve my core strength, build bone density, and support my MA practice (TKD and sword). Am I missing something major by not doing the bench presses?
  2. CosmicFish

    CosmicFish Aleprechaunist

    I'm no expert by any means, but I find the opposite. I love upper body work but am less keen on leg work. I put this down to the fact that I seem to be naturally fairly well developed in the upper body but have always had proportionally weak legs. In fact, when I first started out I could bench more than I could squat! Perhaps you have the same problem but the other way around?

    Also, if you don't like to bench, do you like dips? Personally I do both (on different days) but I understand that there is a large carryover from one to the other.
  3. Capt Ann

    Capt Ann Valued Member

    CF, I'm sure that's a large part of it. I've never had a lot of upper body strength (although the sword work has certainly addressed that).

    As far as the other question, yes, I enjoy dips on the assisted dip machine (the one machine I really like, because I can start at less than a full-body-weight dip or chin, work on form, and build up my reps and resistance).
  4. gornex

    gornex Valued Member

    I like bench cause its a great chest excerises. The thing i like most about it is it is fun bragging about how much you can bench to your freinds lol and it makes all the girls love you. Too bad i can't bench much, but i am workin on it.
  5. Skrom

    Skrom Banned Banned

    if you're doing dips and overhead presses, i don't think you're really missing much from the bench. it hits the chest better than dips though, so you might want to switch it in at some point if you get bored with your routine or hit a plateau.
  6. CosmicFish

    CosmicFish Aleprechaunist

    Another question, and a thought.

    Could you elaborate on what you mean when you say you can't "get into" it? Is it a physical thing - you just can't seem to find "your groove", or is it more of a mental - "man, I hate this exercise"?

    If it's physical, it may be the path the barbell is travelling. For years I always assumed it went straight up and down directly above the shoulders. Just before I started training this January, I read up on technique for the exercises I was planning to do ("The Insider's Tell-All Handbook on Weighttraining Technique" by Stuart McRobert, for those who are curious).

    According to McRobert, it's supposed to follow a slight angle. At the bottom, it should be at "a point at or very near to the bottom line of your pectoral
    muscles", and at the top it should be "somewhere between about the middle of your pecs, and your clavicles". He also claims that the path down isn't exactly the same as the path up: "[Before lowering it] move the bar forward slightly until it is directly above your lower pecs."

    Shame I can't just cut and paste the whole ten pages here. :D

    Anyway, I've been doing this for 6 months now and it feels a lot more natural than the old straight up and down. Just a thought - it may or may not relate to your problem.
  7. Capt Ann

    Capt Ann Valued Member

    I think it's more along the lines of "man, I hate this exercise".

    Good info on the correct form and angles, BTW! Thanks!
  8. blessed_samurai

    blessed_samurai Valued Member

    No, you don't have to bench if you don't want to. Flat bench is not really the best exercise for developing a bigger chest.

    You could skip benching all together and push press, db shoulder press, inc db press, and even throw in some cable flyes for fun.

    You're not alone; I don't really like benching either.
  9. slipthejab

    slipthejab Hark, a vagrant! Supporter

    Capt Ann,

    Other have already addressed much of your concern with the bench press but something I was working on the other day might interest you in regards to your core workout.

    I do a fair bit of bench press but with dumbbells (DB's) and lately I've been working on doing them singularly. As in I do all the repetitions at a given weight on my right side... and then all my repetitions at a given weight on my left side.
    Since I have access to DB's that go upwards of 70lbs I'm ok to get enough weight to challenge me for the time being. But what's interesting is that I can feel that I really work much harder to maintain stabilization... and that's where your core benefits from your bench press. With a bar you'd be balanced already because the weight is evenly distributed... but... not so with the DB's.

    So when you push you'll feel your working extra with various muscle groups to maintain balance while your push out your repetitions.

    I am sure there are some on here who can explain it better than me... but maybe that will give you some ideas on how you can incorporate bench pressing into your routine. :)
  10. blessed_samurai

    blessed_samurai Valued Member

    Yeah, Slip...unilateral work incorporates more muscle fibers. The extra stability required is always nice.
  11. TheMachine

    TheMachine Valued Member

    The bench press isn't the end-all be-all exercise as many put it to be. yes, it is a very good exercise, but one can also recieve similar benefits from doing dips and standing overhead presses. One of my colleages in the gym where I work at started off with weight-assisted dips. Eventually, she progressed to doing bodyweight dips and when she started practcing the bench press for a powerlifting meet she'll compete in the near future, she put up good numbers to start with.

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