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Exercises Movements, technique & proper execution

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Old 07-03-2004, 09:01 AM   #1
Brad Hirakawa
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I have coaxed a few friends into starting Crossfit, however convincing them to abandon their old ways is like pulling teeth. The first muscle head absolutely will not give up his thrice-weekly bench press addiction. He does not think we do enough bench press here, claiming it's one of the best exercises for developing upper body power. While I agree the bench press is fun, I wholeheartedly disagree with his opinion on its ranking among upper body exercises. I bench when Coach Glassman tells me to (infrequently), and I'm still pushing the weight I did in my weight lifting / hypertrophy training days.

Top 5 reasons I think folks are addicted to the bench press:

1. Just gotta have a ready answer to the locker room question, "How much do you bench?"
2. It is easier to do than more complex lifts... my gym buddies will roll their eyes and think to themselves,"bench is NOT easy to do, you have to this, you have to that, etc." I say to them, come on man, you're lying down?
3. Work-reward... stimulus-reward... guys like to have huge, overdeveloped pecs.
4. Sitting on the bench, resting ten minutes between sets, gives you plenty of time to stare around only to start your next set the exact moment a pretty girl starts to watch you.
5. Old habits die hard.

Top 5 reasons why I think other pushing
exercises are better:

1. I would rather answer the locker room question with how many muscle-ups, push ups, or weighted push ups I can do, how much I can throw and how far.
2. In a physically demanding situation, how many times do you need to push your arms foreword without the aid of your legs and/or core muscles? Probably not many. Why take these muscles out of the equation during your training? Most exercises you do while lying down stationary are lacking.
3. Neuroendocrine response is superior in other push-lifts.
4. Believe me; a smart girl will be much more impressed if you can do several sets of multiple repetition push ups, rather than one quick lying on your back bench exertion. Think about it..
5. Shedding old bad habits will open the door to self improvement.

Am I way off here, or can I get an amen?

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Old 07-03-2004, 10:30 AM   #2
Steve Sawyer
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I think you're preaching to the choir here. I haven't benched in years and it doesn't bother me in the least. Maybe if I was a competitive PLer it would be usefull, but otherwise....
Benching gives me nothing but shoulder problems, whether paused @ the chest, SS, or w/ DB's. Who wants big boobs anyway?
When I still did BP, and on the rare instances when I was in a public facility, I would hardly receive a glance with 275+ for reps. Now if someone sees me pop off 10 HSPU's they are dumbfounded.
I think it's admirable that you try to bring others into the fold, but it's been my experience that when trying to 'evangelize' people to a new pardigm, particularly when it concerns training, it's almost always futile. People usually need to be seeking a change.
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Old 07-03-2004, 10:32 AM   #3
Matt Toupalik
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Though I admit to doing a few sets this morning after the WOD to guage where I am at in that particular lift.I haven't benched in about 6 weeks or so and my 1rm in the bench is still about 10 pounds away from my personal best.

I contend that for pure pushing exercises, full-range dips on a set of rings is an excellent strength exercise, possibly one of the best.
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Old 07-03-2004, 01:37 PM   #4
Jason Carey
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amen again.
i admit to benching on occasion, particularly after a workout like yesterday's wod. but the movement itself is boring to me. i usually do one or two sets of 20 @ somewhere near (i.e. almost) bodyweight. i think that emphasizing the muscular endurance is a lot more functional for me, especially since it's the pushing movements that typically give me trouble. also, strangely enough, an occasional round of benching helps loosen up a shoulder problem from a judo throw gone bad...
if someone can do a PL bench workout after the wod, then i say more "power" to 'em. but if the BP interferes with someone's pursuit of overall fitness, maybe cf isn't for them. just my 2 cents.
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Old 07-05-2004, 07:40 AM   #5
Brian Hand
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Brad, I stopped benching around Christmas and have done just ring pushups and ring dips since then. My main concern was that my shoulders were not moving right after years of doing all their pressing with the shoulderblades pinned to a bench.

It goes without saying there are many good benchers that are weak on the field. This is not to say that bench presses are useless, or only candy asses are good benchers. But it is obvious that bench presses alone are not total, functional movements.

Bench pressing builds a lot of muscle for some people. It is hard to argue against it for those people, but they seem pretty rare. Even for those people, including more functional movements seems crucial to maintain proper shoulder joint dynamics.

The bench press seems to produce more than its share of injuries as the weights get up over about 1.5 bodyweight, even for people who seem to do everything right. This may be due to over stretching the shoulder capsule in a repetitive stress kind of way, the groove for bench pressing is so precise that it doesn't vary much from rep to rep.

This is a bit out there, but I also think bench pressing teaches backward recruitment patterns. I think pushups are positive, dips are neutral, and bench presses are negative in this respect. Allow me to speculate and elaborate:

Pushups are probably the most functional pressing movement. They require the recruitment of the core to stabilize the torso in the kind of team effort that punching or shoving requires. Dips are great, but they don't really demand much of the core, I'd say they are neutral as far as building functional movement patterns. Benches are worse than dips because the core is working in a totally unnatural manner - the spinal erectors tighten to create a big arch, the upper back puffs the rib cage up - not good things on the field.
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Old 07-05-2004, 08:54 AM   #6
J. D. Hernandez
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When it comes to horizontal plane pushing movements, I think weighted pushups are the way to go. Like most avid weight lifters, I used to consider the bench to be the cornerstone of strength. Crossfit and other resources made me reconsider that beleif. Like Brian mentioned, pushups and other pushup variants demand core stabilization. Much more functional.

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Old 07-06-2004, 09:08 AM   #7
Robert Wolf
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Planch Push-ups. Tucked or stradled.
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Old 07-06-2004, 09:52 AM   #8
Brad Hirakawa
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Planch push-ups are impossible for mortal men.
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