Touch The Bar To The Chest Or Not??

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    Touch The Bar To The Chest Or Not??


    When doing flatbench, does it matter if you touch the bar to your chest, or is it better to stop the bar about an inch or two above the chest. I've never been given a strait answer to this question so any feedback would be appreciated.

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    Pirate

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    I think both are OK, but lightly tapping the bar on your chest (not bouncing it), would maximize range of motion, which is good.
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    I no longer do flat bench, but when I did I would stop before I touched my chest. If I touch my chest, I tend to notice that the tension is directed more forcefully towards my shoulders rather than my chest.
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    I agree with Size. I had a friend who had some shoulder problems when benching. He decided not to go all the way to his chest and his problems went away..

    However, don't think that this means you don't have to bring the bar low. I see so many guys (seems like the older ones especially) that consider their flat bench what I would consider to be a tricep exercise.
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    I do flat bench rarely anymore, but have always touched the bar to my chest. I don't bounce it, but almost do a slight pause when the bar touches. I see some that bounce the bar and I watch their chest cave. Can't be good for you. Seems as if their rib cage is going to knock their heart back to their spine.
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    My friend and I have developed a theory on this one. People with shorter arms and/or bigger chests in general (i'm the short arm guy with a large chest (in proportion) and he's the long arm guy with the smaller proportioned chest) can bring the bar lower without loading their shoulders too much. I can easily bring it down to touch my chest, whereas he stops about a hands width above his chest when he's benching, I'm not sure quite why, but the wanna-be physicist in me says something about lever arms is coming into play.

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    Don't know about that one. I'm 6'1" and I go all the way down. I've had one chest injury last July but I'm back up and beyond the weight I was at before. Got 375 for 5 the other day. I think it has to do with where you bring the bar to on your chest. I touch my chest about 2" below the nipple and it feels fine. I've known more than a few people that bring the bar to above their nipple and they complain of shoulder pain. It could have something to do with it.
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    You should bring the bar to your chest. The only exception I can think of is some power lifters do lock outs in a power rack to get threw a sticking point. I am 6'2 and bring the bar to my chest. The chest is worked most in the bottom part of the bench. For some reason it has become a trend to bring the bar half way down. I guess it's the same kind of thing with the high school kids loading the bar with 5 plates on each side and bending their knees half an inch and they call it squatting.
    Last edited by VanillaGorilla; 05-11-2004 at 05:22 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beelzebub
    I touch my chest about 2" below the nipple and it feels fine. I've known more than a few people that bring the bar to above their nipple and they complain of shoulder pain. It could have something to do with it.
    I agree with Beelzebub. I'm 6'6, and have a wingspan of 79 inches, and I bring it down to my chest.

    I notice that if I don't lay in the bench right, and I bring the bar a little too high, like above the nipple as Beelze said, it hurts my shoulders, but as long as I keep it around the nipple or lower, I'm fine.
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    YOUR body should dictate the range of motion for any lift. Arbitrarily picking a set ROM for any lift may put you in a position where injury is not a matter of if, but when. Full ROM bench presses just don't work for some people because of their body proportions/muscle insertion points/flexibility. All you young guys take heed. Whether you believe it or not someday you will be old, and I can tell you from experience, and the experience of working with a large cross section of trainees that the most important thing you can do in regards to training is not get injured. No one ever thinks it will happen to them until it does. Whack your shoulders or lower back and you will soon find how little can be done. You can't train if you are injured and MOST long-term trainees eventually end up injured. The sad part is, almost all of the injuries that occur could have been prevented had the knowledge been there, and the ego been absent.

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    Quote Originally Posted by iron addict
    YOUR body should dictate the range of motion for any lift. Arbitrarily picking a set ROM for any lift may put you in a position where injury is not a matter of if, but when.

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    If you can't bring the bar down to your chest you are better off doing a different exercise. Sometimes people who have some discomfort on the bench are bringing the bar down too high on their chest with their elbows flaring out. You would be better of trying to find a comfortable ROM coming off your chest than doing half a bench press. There can also be other reasons other than not having a favorable insertion point such as having muscle imbalances and poor flexibility which can be worked on. Only going half way down on the bench press isn't working your chest as much as it could. Choose a different exercise or figure out why you are having a problem.
  

  
 

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