Barbell bench press is one of the most popular exercises. “How much do you bench?” is casually thrown around in gyms around the world. The bench press has been the symbol of strength for a long time.
The barbell bench press is a compound movement which incorporates multiple muscle groups. If you’re not careful while performing the bench press, it can cause more harm than good. Now is the best time to look for alternative chest exercises.
Reasons to Give Up Bench Pressing
When a person starts working out, the bench press is one of the first exercises he learns. Most people are too loyal to this exercise and always have a variation of it in their workouts. Performing the same exercises in every workout can cause you to hit a plateau.
If you’ve been benching for a long time but don’t see any progress in your pecs, you might have hit a plateau. If this is the case, you need to switch up your training and perform new exercises to shock your muscles and break the plateau.
2. Building Muscle
The bench press is a functional movement and is arguably not the best chest building exercise. Squats, deadlifts and bench press are a staple in a powerlifter’s training routine. People training to build muscle mass can do better by avoiding the bench press.
Powerlifters, strongmen, and weightlifters perform the bench press to build strength so they could perform explosive movements. On the other hand, bodybuilders need exercises which recruit and train the pectoral muscles to build size.
A majority of injuries caused inside the gyms could be credited to the bench press. Pec tear is the most common injury caused due to bench pressing. If you have chest, shoulder or back injuries, you should stay away from this exercise.
If you have any of the injuries mentioned above, instead of giving up training your pecs you should work around your injuries by performing other exercises. Using training equipment like slingshots, elbow sleeves, etc. can be an aid in working out while you’re injured.
4. Targeting the Pectoral Muscles
You have a strict range of motion while performing the bench press which can limit the muscle fiber recruitment in your chest. Exercises using the dumbbells, machines or cables can help you target your pecs more efficiently.
Some people have a hard time performing the bench press and establishing a mind-muscle connection. These people end up recruiting their triceps and other supporting muscles. Exercises using the dumbbells and cables can help you in targetting your chest from different angles.
Training to failure on the bench press can be a dangerous thing. The internet is full of videos of people dropping the barbell on their chests and necks. You certainly don’t want to find yourself in this situation.
If you’re going for a PR on the bench press, it is suggested you ask someone for a spot. On the other hand, going for failure while training with dumbbells, cables or machines is relatively less risky.
How often do you bench press?
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