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tacklejunkie

Bench Press...yes or no?

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I do them but I read an article claiming there are better chest routines and that BP are responsible for more bad shoulders and rotator cuff problems than any other routine?

Who has given up the bench press for other exercises?

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I just started lifting again. So far I'm using the up-right machine for my bench with an occasional free-weight dumbbell bench added in .... I was going to go back to old school standard free-weight benching here soon but I would be curios as to what other chest exercises would be beneficial for somebody with bad shoulders like myself.

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i bench twice a week do i do it for my chest, no there are a ton of better things to do for chest. If you bench "proper" depending on who you talk to you are really using mostly tricep and some lat and a little chest. The reason most people do bench is to so they can be "cool" and say they can bench a lot. If you observe people at the gym most have no idea what they are doing

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I have shoulder problems, so I just do dumbbell presses now. That seems to work well for me. As I get older, I am more about maintaining the strength I have, vs trying to put on bulk/size as I did in my younger days. I throw in a bunch of push ups as well, to mix it up.

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Bench press works more than just the chest, it is a good solid compound lift. I would be more apt to drop the weight used, than drop the exercise.

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I also have a bad shoulder and have a very hard time doing the bench press. I've read similar things about how the bench press is very bad for your shoulders. I heard an interview with Flip Saunders on the radio a while back and he even mentioned that on the NBA teams he has coached for the strength coaches and trainers wouldn't let the players do the bench press because they felt like the stress on the shoulders more than offset any gain they would get from it.

I either do the chest press machine where you are sitting upright as that tends to be easier on my shoulder. I also do the dumbbell press and have had good results with little to no shoulder issues.

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Everybody can respond differently to almost every exercise. I will do regular benches every other week. Stress on your shoulders will vary by where you place your hands on the bar. A narrow grip will bring alot more tricepts into play and a wider grip will bring more of your front delts into play. I personally favor incline dumbbell presses for chest. If you are looking for results change thing up quite often to shock your muscles. Dont let them get used to a particular exercise week after week. Regular benches don't bother my shoulders but after heavy barbell shoulder presses I get some pain.

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Everybody will have a different experience with bench press. If you are hurting yourself, try variations of it, starting with a neutral grip bech press (google it).

When it comes down to it, bench press is a for of a push up.

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Those may be really good tips for a guy who is powerlifting, but not for someone who is looking to just be in shape or built quality proportioned muscle. Powerlifters will cheat on an exercise as much as they possibly can to accomplish a full rep. Basically that is what he is describing, how you can shorten your movements but still accomplish a rep. You will often times notice that powerlifters don't have a well developed chest. They are big blocky guys but if they took there shirt off you won't see well developed chest muscles and its because of cheating on movements like the way he shows. By tucking in his elbows and moving the weight forward he is using much more of his tricepts like he said. For someone who is wanting to build a quality physique and wants to be well proportioned I would recomment the exact opposite. Try to get as much movement as you possibly can while focusing on the muscle you are working and don't worry about lifting as much weigh as you can move. Certainly good advise for powerlifters though, not knocking that at all.

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I do bench occasionally, but started to substitute an incline press and chest press (both on machines) for it a few months ago. I think they are very good alternatives, and it keeps my form in-line much better. No problems with my shoulders or anything else using those machines.

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Stay away from the barbell and go with dumbells. Dumbells allow you to use more stabilization muscles and is a lot better for you while still building mass. Machines just provide too much assistance although I do get a kick out of someone loading up a machine and then getting the least amount of benefit from it. Lighter weight with dumbells, strict form and continuous muscle tension will create a much stronger and better proportioned chest while alleviating some of the problems associated with shoulder injuries.

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Bench press works more than just the chest, it is a good solid compound lift. I would be more apt to drop the weight used, than drop the exercise.

Agree with this. Drop the weight and concentrate on form. Just google bench press form (you tube has a lot of good info). There's several things you can do to minimize the impact on your shoulders and increase the work on your chest muscles instead. The main things that come to mind are your grip, how you bring the bar down to your chest and elbow position.

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Stay away from the barbell and go with dumbells. Dumbells allow you to use more stabilization muscles and is a lot better for you while still building mass. Machines just provide too much assistance although I do get a kick out of someone loading up a machine and then getting the least amount of benefit from it. Lighter weight with dumbells, strict form and continuous muscle tension will create a much stronger and better proportioned chest while alleviating some of the problems associated with shoulder injuries.

Are you talking dumbell press or dumbell flys?

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Dumbell press, flat, incline and decline. I prefer working with dumbells on most of my body parts as opposed to barbell or machines. Of course it's necessary to use machine, barbell and dumbell in an exercise program just to keep the body guessing and eliminate the body from adapting to any one type of exercise but the benefits of dumbells far outweigh the other two.

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I lifted heavy bench all for many years, now I'm dealing with arthritis in my shoulders in my mid 30s, not sure if it was all the benching but that had something to do with it. Also all the overhead lifts like presses and stuff take a toll in the long wrong. Wish I had done more research into how to warmup/lift correctly back when i was young. Too late now. Now i can't physically do any pushing/overhead lift excercises so i have to do alot of flys and stuff like that.

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rangerforme, you're way too young to have all those problems. Where did you learn to lift? Have you been correctly diagnosed with arthritis and by whom? I've been both a bodybuilder and powerlifter for 30 years in addition to playing pro ball and don't have those problems. If it's possible, and you haven't done it yet I would go see a good orthopedic specialist and see what he can do for you in terms of proper diagnosis, treatment and therapy to get you back whole again. No way you should have to have that low a quality of life.

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I agree with TR. I started lifting when I was 16 and basically learned proper technique and form over the years from alot of research and also trial and error. Never been big into stretching myself but I am feeling pretty good and no doubt lifting has been very beneficial for me. Surprised so many guys have shoulder problems, maybe people are going to fast as far as trying to push heavy weight. I would imagine it puts alot more stress on the shoulders if you don't have a strong chest in place and then the shoulders get stuck trying to move all the weight.

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Heavy bench press is a staple of mass/strength building. As has been stated. It is a great compound exercise. Whether doing bench or overhead presses of any kind, a good way to avoid shoulder injury/discomfort is with pre exercise stretch and warm-up. The shoulder is a series of smaller muscles that will pull or strain without a proper warm up. I give another vote to reducing weight and keeping the bench in play.

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Surprised so many guys have shoulder problems, maybe people are going to fast as far as trying to push heavy weight.

Shoulder issues are very common and are caused by a variety of things beyond lifting. When I was at the DR for my shoulder issue he said something like 75% of the population will likely develop some sort of rotator cuff injury. The question is just when and how bad.

Things that seem benign like sitting at a computer can actually lead to issues and if you do it for work it can be hard to avoid and give proper rest. Many other repetitive movements can also cause issues (casting a fishing rod, painting, throwing a baseball, trimming trees, etc...).

My issues seem to stem more from body structure than anything. In your shoulder the tendon runs through a channel in the shoulder joint and when its inflamed there isn't enough room in the channel for the tendon and it becomes pinched in the joint every time you lift your arm. Each time it pinches it gets more irritated and more inflamed leading to more pinching which leads to more inflammation and so on, its vicious cycle. In my case they think the channel the tendon sits in is slightly narrower then normal so any time there is even a little inflammation the tendon can start getting pinched in the joint.

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I'm no expert by any means, but wouldn't chest flys with free weight dumbbells use more muscle groups (pects included) and provide more balance for all muscle groups than just a straight bench press, or machine?

On this thread, another thing to keep in mind, as well as shoulder injury, again is developing tendonitis in the elbows. This exercise puts a ton of stress on the tendons in the elbows!

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Flyes are a finishing or refinement exercise while benching is a mass exercise. As I said earlier I prefer dumbells to machine or barbell but all three have a place in strength training. Any exercise done to an extreme or with poor form is going to result in injury. If done properly and with good form, rest and stretching between times trained will yield benefits. It's just like anything else, use don't abuse.

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I had a problem with my left elbow for awhile many years ago. Not sure what caused it but pretty sure it was from lifting. It would pop everytime I would extend my arm and was swelled up at the joint. It went away after about a year and fortunately haven't had a problem since.

I would say for me dumbell fly's puts more stress on my shoulders than most other chest exercises. Obviously they can be done safely with proper form and using the correct amount of weight but IMO bring your shoulders into play quite a bit. Very good exercise for inner chest though.

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Yes, just warm up and use correct form. I cant believe how many people just load the bar for their 3 sets, push through them and boom move on. May not hurt now but it will catch up with you. Warm up your shoulders/rotators doing arm circles with 5 lb weights, do some pushups or light warm up sets.

Form trumps weight. Check your ego at the door and you'll see better progress and spend less time with nagging injuries.

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Flyes are a finishing or refinement exercise while benching is a mass exercise. As I said earlier I prefer dumbells to machine or barbell but all three have a place in strength training. Any exercise done to an extreme or with poor form is going to result in injury. If done properly and with good form, rest and stretching between times trained will yield benefits. It's just like anything else, use don't abuse.

Well said! Also I will add that a spotter can really help as far as helping to not fail early on a rep and put awkward strain on the shoulder.

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