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Exercises Movements, technique & proper execution

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Old 07-30-2012, 08:20 PM   #1
Jake Hanson
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Reason for not going full depth on bench?

Was benching with a guy who has had shoulder problems in the past. He didn't bring the bar down all the way to his chest, stopping 3-6 inches (it varied every rep.....) from full depth. He was told by someone from his globogym days, that it was better on his shoulder if he didn't bring it full depth and that it didn't matter for strength development anyway.

Is there any truth to Globogym's statement?
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Old 08-02-2012, 07:55 AM   #2
Dana Rice
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Re: Reason for not going full depth on bench?

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Originally Posted by Jake Hanson View Post
Was benching with a guy who has had shoulder problems in the past. He didn't bring the bar down all the way to his chest, stopping 3-6 inches (it varied every rep.....) from full depth. He was told by someone from his globogym days, that it was better on his shoulder if he didn't bring it full depth and that it didn't matter for strength development anyway.

Is there any truth to Globogym's statement?
I am not a Dr., but I can't see how cutting depth on the bench would be better for the shoulders. Tucking and not flaring your elbows - yes, healthier for the shoulders, setting your back before the lift, also better. Unless he was using boards to press to, I would think trying to stop halfway down would be worse for the shoulders.

Also - doing it this way, he will develop strong triceps, and get better for that portion of the range of motion - but will not engage the chest as much, and certainly will not get stronger for lifts from the chest.
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Old 08-02-2012, 10:48 AM   #3
Thomas Kilvaer
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Re: Reason for not going full depth on bench?

Probably better to do the full-range of motion in a controlled manner with lighter weights. You do not connect as well with the muscle doing half the movement. If the shoulder problems persists or get worse taking a break from the bench is in order. Probably have to increase the strength of the support muscles of the shoulders doing various shoulder rotations and ring push-ups etc.
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Old 08-03-2012, 05:45 AM   #4
Pearse Shields
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Re: Reason for not going full depth on bench?

This information you have been given, OP, is false.

Broscience.
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Old 08-03-2012, 06:13 AM   #5
Graeme Moore
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Re: Reason for not going full depth on bench?

Although it's slightly off topic, I don't agree that not going all the way to the chest results in not 'connecting' with the muscle - I'm assuming the point here is engagement of the pectorals? Just check out Sandow, Grimek etc to see how effective a chest builder the floor press is.

Back on point, there's no anatomical reason why benching correctly with full ROM would damage the shoulders.
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Old 08-03-2012, 06:25 AM   #6
Andrew N. Casey
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Re: Reason for not going full depth on bench?

the first thing the guy needs to do is ensure he is using proper form. back arched, chest up, feet pushing through floor, back set and tight, elbows in, wrists straight, etc. there are plenty of good videos online about how to bench. sounds to me like he most likely has form issues.

if he really wants to do partial ROM for his shoulder, then the better way to do it would be to lay a board, towel, etc on his chest and make sure to touch it every time so that he is getting the same range on every rep. then over time he can reduce the height of the object until he can comfortably touch his chest. however, i suspect that he is using more weight than he should be and using this as an excuse to do so. if he really wants to fix the shoulder, then lighten the weight, work on good form, and slowly increase range of motion. then he can slowly increase weight again as he is able, but even then it should always be under control.
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Old 08-03-2012, 06:32 AM   #7
Paul Victor French
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Re: Reason for not going full depth on bench?

hmm, not sure I agree with everything. One of the trainers at my gym had a shoulder injury from an awkward collision in hockey when he was in his early 20s (early 30s now). He was able to bench over 400 pounds as well to his chest but it caused his shoulder serious pain afterwards, even when he went lighter. He dropped to still heavy sets of 4 to 6 and stopped an inch or two above his chest and and didn't feel any pain anymore, so it works for him.

I think it's subject to each person, and this sometimes gets on my nerves, one person sees another doing something with limited range of motion and they say they are wrong and don't know how to do that lift properly. You don't know why they are doing it that way. I use my brother as an example, he has a metal pole in his upper and lower leg and his knee simply cannot bend past 90 degrees, so when he squats he can barely hit parallel. Not really his fault, but his injury isn't obvious if he's wearing pants (can't see the scar) so someone might just accuse him of not knowing how to squat, when he physically can't go any deeper.

I also agree that the top half of the movement can still be a great chest developer.
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Old 08-08-2012, 05:55 PM   #8
David A Hunt
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Re: Reason for not going full depth on bench?

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Originally Posted by Andrew N. Casey View Post
the first thing the guy needs to do is ensure he is using proper form. back arched, chest up, feet pushing through floor, back set and tight, elbows in, wrists straight, etc.
I'll second that advice after a 1 year recovery from a torn pectoralis major!
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Old 08-08-2012, 06:30 PM   #9
Donald Lee
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Re: Reason for not going full depth on bench?

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Originally Posted by Jake Hanson View Post
Was benching with a guy who has had shoulder problems in the past. He didn't bring the bar down all the way to his chest, stopping 3-6 inches (it varied every rep.....) from full depth. He was told by someone from his globogym days, that it was better on his shoulder if he didn't bring it full depth and that it didn't matter for strength development anyway.

Is there any truth to Globogym's statement?
Yes, not going full depth on the Bench Press can be healthier on the shoulders. What other people are saying are tangential to what you asked, with respects to shoulder health. Some people will exclusively Bench maximally with gear, because of shoulder problems.

Not going full depth will not engage the chest and anterior deltoids as much, so that's the detriment for strength development.

But yeah...better mobility and form may allow this guy to Bench full depth with no problems, but none of us on the internet would know that. Telling someone who has shoulder problems to start Benching full depth while skipping the prerequisite mobility and form part would be a bad idea.
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Old 08-09-2012, 07:30 AM   #10
Michael Sparapany
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Re: Reason for not going full depth on bench?

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Originally Posted by Paul Victor French View Post
I think it's subject to each person, and this sometimes gets on my nerves, one person sees another doing something with limited range of motion and they say they are wrong and don't know how to do that lift properly. You don't know why they are doing it that way. I use my brother as an example, he has a metal pole in his upper and lower leg and his knee simply cannot bend past 90 degrees, so when he squats he can barely hit parallel. Not really his fault, but his injury isn't obvious if he's wearing pants (can't see the scar) so someone might just accuse him of not knowing how to squat, when he physically can't go any deeper.
Yep. I've torn my deltoid and dislocated my shoulder. Going full ROM on basically any exercise puts a bit of pain on my shoulder so I can't touch my chest on a bench press or go all the way down on a pull up. It's a work in progress though and I'm slowly getting better.
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