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Exercises Movements, technique & proper execution

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Old 08-10-2007, 10:00 AM   #1
Matt Thomas
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I know crossfit sometimes has us doing bench press, but more often than not it's pushups or dips as it's constantly said they are more functional movements. So if I am following Starting Strength would it be advisable to replace the bench press with weighted pushups, assuming I had a safe way to add enough weight to make a challenging 3 sets of 5, or weighted dips as it is very easy to add extra weight to those? Is there a reason that bench is done instead of these movements that would make it unadvisable to switch them?
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Old 08-10-2007, 12:50 PM   #2
Gant Grimes
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Just because the bench press is overemphasized as a measure of strength in globo-gyms does not mean it's not a good exercise. Done in moderation (3 times in 2 weeks in SS), it's a good, functional, compound exercise.
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Old 08-10-2007, 01:55 PM   #3
Tim Donahey
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The way SS is organized is:

Heavy Horizontal Press
Heavy Pull (from the floor)

Light Vertical Press
Light Pull (from the floor)

I think as long as you are able to fulfill that, with functional, full range, multi-joint movements, you can make some variations. For example when I first did SS I subbed Pendlay Rows for Power Cleans. I would suggest weighted rows, leaning forward, chin to chest. Weighted push-ups can be awkward and cumbersome at maximal loads, even with a weighted vest.

FWIW though, you won't find better a overall chest developer than the bench press, scourge that it is. Weighted dips I think are a better option for the intermediate/advanced lifter (due to the mechanics and the risk of injury), but for a beginner nothing compares. Additionally, with SS if you program your progression properly you can add in dips as an assistance exercise later on down the road to complement your bench. Otherwise you could do dips and add in weighted push-ups... but this wouldn't be optimal, IMO.

Hope this helps.

(Message edited by bangoskank on August 10, 2007)
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Old 08-10-2007, 09:28 PM   #4
Craig Van De Walker
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Nothing wrong with the BP, it is just overused.

It is not and end all be all, but it is effective.

If you are sprinting, squatting, pulling, pulling up and overhead pressing as often and as hard as you are BP then all is well.

I think the quote I read is "I just do what Rip tells me to"
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Old 08-13-2007, 03:50 AM   #5
Anthony Bainbridge
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There's nothing wrong with the bench press, just don't do it 5 times a week while ignoring squats. :-)
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Old 08-13-2007, 05:11 AM   #6
Kevin Platt
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Perhaps it would be more beneficial to do a one armed bench press with a dumbell rather than a barbell. This would give you a greater range of motion and work the core more than a conventional bench press. Would this then translate into a more functional movement?? I have read (and tried) that if you take what you can bench press with a conventional bar, half it and throw it on a dumbell and do one armed bench presses that it is a real kick in the pants.
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Old 08-13-2007, 05:51 AM   #7
Roark Marsh
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I have to say the beauty of starting strength is the simplicity. Straightforward barbell exercises, using the simplest possible linear programming.

Unless you're already too accustomed to weight lifting, i.e. you already need more complex programming, I'd suggest just doing starting strength, as is (or maybe the version given in Practical Programming).
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Old 08-15-2007, 12:34 PM   #8
Ken Mindoro
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This past week I've asked four different patients about their workout routines. All of them said the same thing: bench press, bicep curl and jog/run. I asked them all if they had ever considered deadlifts or squats and the universal response was "why would I want to do that?" The bench press is a great exercise, but why restrict yourself to just using your muscles in that one plane of movement when the shoulder/chest is built to push in multiple directions.
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Old 08-19-2007, 07:30 AM   #9
Jesse Woody
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Read back over Rip's explanation of the bench press and you will find something akin to: "There is no better way to press heavy weights than in a properly executed bench press, and pressing heavy weights is something every person should do regularly along with cooking their own food and reading a good book"

...or something along those lines. It shouldn't be the cornerstone of your program, but it can be an important and essential component to well-rounded upper-body strength.
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Old 08-19-2007, 11:45 AM   #10
Lincoln Brigham
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Personally I agree that the bench press is a good exercise. The problem is when it becomes confused with a great exercise. The safety factor is among the lowest and the functionality is limited. It is a position where your back is braced against a solid surface and there is a dangerously heavy weight on your chest. Personally, as I don't compete in powerlifting, in every instance I've found or imagined myself in that position I was getting my @$$ kicked at the time. That and my left shoulder hates the bench press with a passion.
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