Flat BB bench press I don't like you no mo'
- 02-20-2012, 06:54 PM
Flat BB bench press I don't like you no mo'
Well, it does for guys like me.
First of all, I love bench press, I mean who doesn't?
Is probably the very first exercise we ALL did, I mean who started working out doing
I don't know, DB rows? or overhead triceps extensions?
No, you start with good ol' flat bench press
I love it, but I love my chest and my joints more
My chest workout is super long and super stressing, I could train
chest forever, in my session I do so many exercises, too many to list,
flat bb press, inclined, declined, DB flys, DB flat press, DB decline, DB pronated grip,
supersets, dropsets, cable, etc..
seriously you'd be impressed if I listed them all.
I destroy my chest on its dedicated wo day and I hit it pretty hard in the full body wo day as well.
Since day 1, flat bench press has been THE main exercise,
the one I considered the most important, the one I was maxing out the weight, you know?
And yet - now I'll say it out loud for the first time - for 10 years I've never really FELT it
in my chest like I wanted, flys gave me much more stimulation, DB presses too
and I was "oh it's because I have wide shoulders, so the stretch from the flys works better on me... etc.."
but I still *need* the flat bench press because of the WEIGHT.
Now, lately I've been collecting some of my best workout sessions ever and that's thanks to
a better form, concentration instead of weight and different exercises I (wrongly) considered inferior.
Time has come to question the big bench.
I knew that guys with long arms - like me - had hard time with flat BB bench,
because of the mechanic of the movement doesn't really allow to focus the stress on the pecs,
plus it gets hard on the shoulder joints, etc..
But you learn to adjust your form when you have long a## limbs like me to feel it more on the chest.
Yes to feel it more, but not to feel it as you wanted. Not to feel it like DB presses or flys.
So why doing it??
But still, givin' up on flat bench press? Never.
Better to do and exercise that possibly triggers your pecs less but with a lot more weight, right? Wrong.
Dead wrong, now I know.
After reading this article wrote by Dorian Yates in which he explains why guys with longer
arms don't really benefit form flat bench press, after hearing people like Heath, Cutler and many more
all saying the same thing "I tend to stay away from flat bench because of the injuries and because inclined and
DB presses develop chest better", but most important after I've been forced to hold the weight back a bit
from my bench due to a sore shoulder, and favor DB presses I now can say it: flat bench press sucks for me.
I am not giving up on it, I still think is a great exercise, but the point is: is not going to be my MAIN
chest exercise anymore, is not going to be the one in which I go for the maximum weight, no.
DB flat press, yes.
Inclined BB press, yes.
Flat BB bench, no.
I will go for it as my 3rd exercise maybe, sure it's great for supersets, dropsets etc..
I find i get a much greater stimulation with higher reps and lower weight
when I do flat bench as opposed to low reps with a ton of weight,
Instead I find maxing out the weight on DB press (both incline and flat) and incline BB press
gives me a lot more stimulation, even if the max weight is less than on flat bench.
So, yeah, after 10 years, I'm switching my main chest exercise, change the game in my fav
training day and hopefully witness my chest to grow more!
- 02-20-2012, 06:59 PM
Don't give up on the flat bench but there are alternatives. I personally like to focus and and train incline first whether it is Dumbbells or Barbell. After that I will do Hammer Strength Flat Bench and really squeeze and isolate the muscle. Than dips and flys.
And in regards to you liking high reps for stimulation read this. You might like what you read...
- 02-20-2012, 11:53 PMBoard Sponsor
- 5'10" 183 lbs.
- Join Date
- Jul 2011
- The South.
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I seem extremely week on bench press. It could be my form, shoulders or both. I have been using dumb bells instead.
VS, I'm read that link later on, but I'm going to take your advice on what u stated above!
VS, do u really thing hammer strength is legit for chest muscles?
02-21-2012, 01:08 AM
I like hammer strength. It's good for isolation and good hypertrophy. Should you rely on machines for your entire workout? No! Like I said I like to focus my attention to my upper pecs so after some heavy intense sets of incline presses I turn to hammer strength to isolate and squeeze. Plus I too have gotten injuries from flat bench. Weird, you would think I would get injured from incline pressing since the angle is more awkward but nope. My chest gets more fatigued though from incline presses that's why I turn to Hammer Strength to keep my workout intensity up
02-21-2012, 03:08 AM
No i'm not giving up on flat like I said, but I'm not going for max weight with it anymore.
I just don't feel it in my chest, and I know my form is near perfect, and I have a pretty strong bench too,
I can bench 3 plates, it's twice my weight and that's not 1RM, is my last set, but still I just don't get anything
near the stimulation I get from DB presses or flys or inclined bench.
Reading about it I really found out is a matter of body type, long arms+flat BB bench=not the best stimulation/exercise for pecs
Now, going for a lighter weight and higher reps instead is a whole different game.
And please note that is not that I do heavy-low-reps OR light-high-reps, I do both, like I said,
my sessions are crazy long and chest is in second place after back which is the longest..
Because of that, the layout of the workout usually sees the heavy lifts at the beginning of course
and the concentration/isolation later one.
Flat bench is not going to be the first exercise anymore, I'd go for flat DB or even better,
flys first and then flat DB, so to hit the pecs and stress them first in order not to have tris get tired before the pecs do.
Flat BB bench is great for guys with shorter arms, but it really is a matter of structure, not form
02-21-2012, 09:23 AM
Do whatever exercises you confidently feel will best get you the gains you want. Don't listen to ppl's criticism telling you "oh that's crazy the barbell bench press is the best, you just do it!" No you need to pick exercises you feel will help you out. Ppl say "if you want big legs you need to squat, that's it!" We'll Dorian Yates never barbell squated in his life (he said in an interview it had something to do with his joints that connect his torso to his legs) and he had big legs. It all depends on your body (like you said), the way it moves and such.
02-21-2012, 11:49 AM
02-22-2012, 09:29 AM
AutoKal, I agree with what you're saying since I'm also tall with long arms. Flat bench hasn't been my main lift for chest in ages, until I started powerlifting the past year.
I powerlift, but then do assistance work for size and it goes something like this:
Flat bench for low reps, heavy weight (5/5/5+ or 3/3/3+ or 5/3/1)
Then incline bench for something like 5x15 reps
Flat dumbell press for 5x15 reps
And that's all that's needed usually in one of my workouts. Get my strength lifts in and then that amount of lighter volume usually does me in for the day. Now, if I were really going for striations, and shaping, then I'd add in flies and cable flies (especially at an incline).
That way I get the best of both worlds. If I were strictly training for size though, I would not really do flat bench. Incline + decline, incline cables, DB flat and slight incline, dips. It's tough to do flat bench for size, since your lats fire up a lot in the movement, and the propensity for delts kicking in is also high, when form breaks down.
Other things I've messed with is TUT, not using the full range of motion, keeping tension on pecs through the full movement. It's not functional to do this, but it works to target more.
I also try to grip a little wider since I have long arms. But only do that if you don't have shoulder issues.
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02-22-2012, 11:51 AM
Yeah my grip is wide, very wide, it has to otherwise it goes ALL in the triceps.
Thing is, powerlifting aims at max weight, bb at max muscle stimulation, so very different..
And yet, knowing this it's hard NOT to go for big weight ya know? it's a mental thing,
but seriously, in the past 6 months I kicked myself in the a## and left the ego outside the weight room
and got incredible results on every muscle group, but I couldn't do it for chest, I felt bad, especially because
I've been able to finally bench 3 plates which was my goal, now that I can do that, I realized that
I don't get the stimulation that I want, no matter how heavy my flat bench gets.
Plus, benching more than twice my bodyweight is going to cause me injuries, now the shoulder is nothing
serious fortunately, but I know I will eventually do some damage if I keep doing that, and for what?
My chest didn't got any bigger with my bench getting stronger, while incorporating different DB presses and
doing more inclined (with less weight) DID make my chest bigger and wider.. that's def a proof
02-23-2012, 01:20 PM
Yeah, there was a point when I was regularly benching over 400, but had majorly lacking pec developement. I was able to put all the weight on my lats, traps, shoulders and tris so effectively that I pretty much took my pecs out of the equation.
My pressing style has changed since I can't powerlift right now, and accordingly other chest movements are given priority since they're more productive.
02-23-2012, 02:16 PM
Have you tried doing rest-paused sets on the flat bench press? With negatives? Since I've done this I feel like someone took a hammer to my chest and tried to make it into mush, and while my triceps were obviously worked they don't feel that phased.
If you haven't you could give that a whirl. In DC training, one of the things they have you do is if you adopt a really stable stance (like a powerlifter), you do a set with 2 rest-pauses trying to hit a total of 11-15 rest-paused reps, all with negatives. So you would do something like 9 reps the first time, rest for 20 seconds, 4 reps the second time, rest 20 seconds, then 2 reps the third and final time, for a total of 15 reps.
02-24-2012, 05:21 AM
it's just the mechanic of the flat bench, these last 4 days I've been experimenting with different positions,
diff grips, floor press etc.. there is something about the *flat* that takes my pecs off the equation.
I noticed a very light incline works the best (this was exactly the same for Yates for example..), like less than 30 degrees
But still, DB stimulate much more than BB. If I go lighter with the barbell then I get crazy pumps and stimulation,
heavy? I feel it everywhere (back, lats, delts, tris..) BUT in my pecs
Sunday is gonna be chest again and my session will look like this (listing only the exercises)
Warm-up incline BB bench
Incline DB Flys (heavy) + incline BB supersets
Incline or Flat (I'll be switching every 2 weeks) DB press + flat BB supersets
Stiff arm extreme stretching flys (flat/incline/flat/incline) alternating regular and pronated grip
DB floor press (I'll go heavy with these, low rep, rest-pause/DC)
One arm cable burnsets
Pushups to failure diff width
02-24-2012, 05:57 AM
Barbell bench presses are overrated.. Yeah, you can't handle as much weight with dumbbells, but you don't really need to.
While I never really establish a good feel when doing barbell bench presses, using DBs feels so natural.
DB benching > Barbell benching
... Unless you're into competitive bench pressing I suppose. And some guys just like to see high benching numbers. To each their own.
02-24-2012, 07:51 PM
that sucks about the long arm thing.
My T-Rex arms make Barbell and dumbell feel the same for me. Although I totally agree that bigger numbers don't mean a thing. I can get the same burn doing 225 for reps or 350 for low reps for a couple sets
02-24-2012, 07:57 PM
- 6'0" 235 lbs.
- Join Date
- Jun 2011
- Honolulu, Hawaii
- Rep Power
Nice read...I have the same problem, so I usually will do DB press heavy, some incline presses depending on how I feel it'll be either DB or BB and even Hammer strength. Then when it comes to BB flat bench I go light and do 21's...then I really feel it in my chest!
Also doing DC in a squat rack where I have the safety bars situated so I start my bench press from the bottom position and not the top.
Starting from the bottom at a dead stop really makes that first rep intense, which only compounds on the following reps.
Doing 21's with BB flat bench has made a difference for me...only wish I started doing this years ago.
02-24-2012, 08:19 PM
- 6'2" 300 lbs.
- Join Date
- Jul 2003
- Rep Power
It's not a staple for me, but I certainly do like to mix in some flat BB bench. I'll probably do it for 6 weeks, 3x a year but like others have said I prefer incline BB presses.
I actually had to take a break from DB presses because they started hurting my shoulder. Odd since I see so many go the other way.
Don't worry, man, someday I'ma be nobody too.
02-26-2012, 10:18 AM
Pretty interesting, how are you performing 21's for flat bench? 7 half reps low touching the chest, 7 half reps high w/ out going down to the chest and than 7 full range reps?Originally Posted by 808Pump
02-26-2012, 04:20 PM
Yesterday I've been doing my first workout with the changed routine,
now as usual I do so many sets and exercises that I hardly remember
all of them but less or more this is how it went:
Inclined BB bench - warm-up - 3 sets, light, different timing for the 3 sets
Inclined flys - pre-exhaustion sets
Inclined DB press - 5 sets - heavy. Ended up doing 6 because I felt very good stimulation
and most important I was feeling like I could go up with weight still holding a perfect form.
NOTE: at this point I was already feeling MUCH MORE stimulation on my pecs
than my regular routine (the heavy sets on flat BB bench would've been just finished
and the dropsets would start).
Then I followed the same routine I use to do with flat BB and started dropsets with DB instead,
felt great. My dropsets are very heavy, more like a modified DC (I also do rest-pause on my last 2 sets)
till I can't take it anymore, then I start really dropping weight and go for fast burnsets.
A couple of sets of pushups to failure followed.
Then it was time for Inclined BB bench, which stimulates my pecs better than flat but still,
there's something about the barebell that doesn't quite hit them like DB, it was obvious, but,
keeping the ego out of the weight room I kept the weight moderate to high and really focused
on the movement, explosive on the way up, slow on the way down.
Massive difference, weight really means lil..
After 4 sets went for 3 dropsets, and then the enemy, went for flat bench for the super/burnsets,
did 4 sets, alternating fast and slow, light weight 2 of them were 30 reps minimum, getting a wider
grip every 10reps (no re-racking).
After this, a new entry for me, floor press. Nice suprise I could go almost as heavy as my flat,
but I was worried about my shoulder so I didn't go all the way even because I felt like I didn't need that
I had wild pump on my chest like I hadn't had in years!
For the floor press I went for heavy load since the first set and did DC, since
the range of movement is restricted seemed ideal to go heavy.
After that time for my fav, DB flys, there is NOTHING that hits my pecs like those,
both inclined or flat.
I went for flat this time since both DB press and BB bench were inclined,
but next time I'll be doing these as first heavy exercise and put DB presses in their place.
5 heavy, solid, pretty freaking amazing sets of these, then 2 light burnsets, 1st pronated grip (inclined)
2nd regular grip.
2 sets of flys on the swiss ball, concentration w/isometric
Some more pushups
Then weighted dips, I go very heavy on weighted dips,
but it wasn't a good idea to do them at the end, I'll be switching position
between these and the floor press, put that one at the end instead, or at least
I'll try because I like the stretch i get from weighted dips after the other exercises.
Anyways, 4 sets, rest-pause for the heaviest and then drop the weight and go to failure
just with bodyweight.
Stiff arm flat/inclined flys (alternating), light but with extreme stretching
and that was it for chest, then the tris routine which I won't list.
So the verdict after this first new chest workout is: freakin' fantastic.
Stimulation during the workout was mindblowing compared to having
flat bench as main/heaviest exercise, but still, I do love it for supersets and burnsets.
DOMS today are insane, I do not remember last time I've felt such pain in my chest,
So, new routine is a keeper even tho' I'll surely be tweaking the sequence in the next weeks.
02-26-2012, 05:42 PM
- 5'9" 195 lbs.
- Join Date
- Feb 2012
- Rep Power
I have the same issue with my ape arms. I literally tore my rotator cuff benching 225. I was using good form but I have loose shoulder joints and that compounds the problem. Whenever i do flat BB bench i feel it in my shoulder joints more so than my chest. I stick to dumbells and hammer strength press.
02-27-2012, 12:54 PM
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