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Exercises Movements, technique & proper execution

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Old 05-22-2006, 12:39 PM   #1
Sean Manseau
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Opinions please (and hopefully this isn't a foolish question). After I did "Lynne" yesterday I went back and checked my records. While my pull-ups are quite a bit improved, my bench has remained almost unchanged (a first round effort of 9 body-weight reps) over the last four months. Now, at the same time, I've improved quite a bit when it comes to ring-dips (from 7 reps up to 20) and hand-stand pushups (from 2 to 12). It makes some sense to me that my BP hasn't improved, since we rarely see it with Cross Fit--I guess my question is, should I bother doing supplemental work on my bench, or would I be better off using any spare gym time to work on Oly lifts (as I've been doing)? I know one answer is, "Well, if you want to see improvement in your bench, then practice it," but from a practical strength standpoint, does it matter that much? Is the bench press worth the time?
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Old 05-22-2006, 12:59 PM   #2
Roger Harrell
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Generally the bench press serves little functional use. You don't see it much in the CF WODs because of it's lack of functionality. I have done bench press maybe 5 times in the last 12 years. I don't see any disadvantages to not doing it.
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Old 05-22-2006, 01:36 PM   #3
Matt Gagliardi
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I agree with's really not the most functional of movements. I think if you're looking to beef up your chest work a bit, then take advantage of the WODs that call for pushups and do them with your feet raised 18"-24". That will ramp up the difficulty a bit and perhaps give you some further development. You might also set up a rig for ring pushups. Either of these would be a good "extra" to add to simple pushups.
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Old 05-22-2006, 01:49 PM   #4
John Frazer
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I do work on my bench press because I can't yet bench my body weight, and need to fix that to do an "as Rxed" Linda or Lynne.

If I had your numbers I wouldn't worry about it and would probably go with Matt's suggestion -- or do pushups on rings, or both.
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Old 05-22-2006, 01:59 PM   #5
Tom Brose
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Think of this- without Bench pressing, you are still at the same level. Everything else is better. Doesent it seem that the carryover from far more potent execise choices makes the answer obvious?
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Old 05-23-2006, 06:12 AM   #6
Craig Van De Walker
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From a former BP addict. I loved the feel of the bench like some people love a long run. I have pretty much weaned myself from excessive benching. I do it in the WOD when called for, sometimes I will sneak in a bench workout for old times sake.

I think that once you develop a certain level of chest strength say BWx12 reps, doing more BP will probably not help you athletically (I just picked that number as a guess).

Granted all things being equal I would rather bench more but all things are not equal, and overhead pressing, squatting and pulling work will make you a better athlete than excessive bench work.

In the future if I want more chest work I will concentrate on different versions of one armed pushups. I think they are much more functional than BP and require no equipment.
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Old 05-23-2006, 08:25 AM   #7
Hampton Lane
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I have to disagree with the concensus on this one. The bench press is an extremly functional horizontal push exercise. It is a "staple" in many sport specific training regimines. Imagine a front lineman on a football team who had never done bench press!!

Is the BP an overrated exercise as compared to other compound lifts? Probably. But it should always have a place in ones overall fitness routine.

Pushups and dips hit much of the same muscle groups, however pushups alone will not give you the strength and size gains that heavy BP will.
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Old 05-23-2006, 09:32 AM   #8
Garrett Smith
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Wheat is a staple in the SAD diet. That doesn't mean it's good for people!

I can easily imagine a football lineman who had never done a bench press. I can also imagine the same lineman with much less compromised shoulders from the lack of benching.

Vertical pressing exercises, done standing, are much more like the pushing done in football. Anyone pushing with their arms at a 90-degree angle to their body is likely about a half-second away from being on their butt.

The Hammer Jammer (and the OL, obviously) would be a much more "functional" push for football, due to the standing position and core-to-extremity nature.

If a lineman is always getting knocked on his back with other players laying on top of him and he wants to get his embarassed butt off the field as quickly as possible, he should absolutely focus on bench pressing. That's where the BP is functional.

Anyway, do a search on the board for "bench press". This topic has been over-done before and you'll find that most CFers, while some may be BP-nostalgic, have realized that it is an inferior lift in so many ways.
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Old 05-23-2006, 11:30 AM   #9
Hampton Lane
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Thank you for your post Dr G.

Obviously we have a difference of opinion on this matter, but hey thats what makes America (and CF) great.

From the tone of your post it seems you are a bit upset/frustrated. I certainly did not mean for that to happen.

We are all intitled to our own opinion, and I will give yours further thought and research.

BTW, my readings and studys have always inferred that OH pressing was much more detrimental to the shoulder than horizontal presses. I could be wrong though, I certainly don't have your creditials to back it up.

If one doesn't use the bench press for increasing horizontal push strength, what exercises do you recommend for improving in this area? Certainly one needs to balance horiz push/pull exercises to some degree, correct?
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Old 05-23-2006, 11:43 AM   #10
Andrew G. Greenberg
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hampton, what readings and studies support your contention that OH pressing is 1) detrimental to the shoulder and 2) more detrimental to the shoulder than horizontal pressing?
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