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Another bench press PR; What is a “bodybuilder” bench press?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009 by  
Filed under Daily Blog

January
14
2009

Last night was my chest and triceps workout, and I smashed my flat bench press record (for reps) once again! I added five pounds to last week’s lift (also a PR), and managed 12/10/9 reps. I wanted to get that 10th rep on the last set more than anything, but I just couldn’t make it happen. The weight “stuck” about halfway up on the last rep and I pushed, yelled, screamed and spit fire; after what felt like a year-long battle for those last few inches, my muscles completely failed and the bar came crashing down on the safety spotters.

Those last few reps – the ones you have to really fight for – are those ones that get the most results. That final rep probably did more for me than all the other reps combined. I always keep this in mind when I’m lifting.

I would like to point out that I do my bench presses using “bodybuilder” form. A powerlifter is concerned with moving as much weight as possible, and the way he or she performs the bench press is completely different than the way most bodybuilders do it.

So what is a “bodybuilding” bench press? I grip the bar pretty wide (my pinkies are just inside the rings on the bar), my back is arched, my shoulder blades are pinched together and my elbows flare out as I lower the weight. I do not rush the reps; I lower the weight slow and controlled (about 3 seconds) and press the weight up a little quicker than that. I stop just short of lock out and then squeeze my pecs HARD. Form is critical here – especially because flaring the elbows out tends to put a lot more stress on the shoulders compared to keeping them tucked.

If you are mainly lifting for hypertrophy, the general idea is to always make the lift as difficult as possible so the muscles will be forced to adapt and grow. In general (sometimes a few of these “cheats” have their place) if you are cheating by using momentum, not using good form, ignoring the mind/muscle connection, bypassing the hard squeeze between the concentric and eccentric phases and not performing full reps, then you are only cheating yourself out of potential gains. You know when I started making my best progress? When I learned to check my ego and reduce the amount of weight I was using so I could perform my lifts as I just described.

I’ve got today off from training, and I’m happy to take it because my legs, glutes, chest and triceps are all quite sore this morning.

I think that’s going to wrap it up for this morning’s update. Remember: today is anther opportunity to get one step closer to your goals – don’t waste it! Train hard, and stay focused!

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