Press vs. Bench Press

Discussion in 'Strength & Conditioning Discussion' started by Origins, Oct 4, 2010.

  1. Origins

    Origins Blue Belt

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    Personally, I fucking hate benching. I hate the way it makes my shoulders feel, I hate that I have to use the time that I could be pressing to bench. It is also my shittiest lift, and I feel like I should work on it more because it is a weakness. But I fucking hate it.

    Does anybody here do all overhead work instead of benching? Or have any experience doing that type of program?

    If so, how did it work out/how is it working out for you and what does your programming look like?

    Also, does anybody know any potential problems with eliminating benching?
     
  2. Justice 4 All

    Justice 4 All Brown Belt

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    There's nothing quite like hitting a new PR on the Bench.
     
  3. James Fuller

    James Fuller Amateur Fighter

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    Potential Problem

    1. Quitting something your bad at simply because you don't like being bad at it. Trust me I SUCK at Bench. (Weigh 165, can squat over 300 5X5, DL about 250 5X5 but can only bench at most about 180 4X5)

    I agree with alot of strength coaches that say the OP, especially standing, is a superior move for athletic development than the bench. I agree with focusing on it. However, bench is a extremely valuable tool and cannot simply be left out entirely.

    How about on your push days doing 2 days with OP's and 1 day you do bench?

    PS in a sidenote, and to encourage you on your quest for a a great OP here is a awesome article by Bill Starr:
    Bill Starr: Quest for a Stronger Overhead Press
     
  4. rckvl

    rckvl Blue Belt

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    I don't particularly enjoy bench either, but I still do it. You could choose to focus on press and just use bench as assistance if you want. I wouldn't cut it out entirely unless it is causing major issues. Even then I would try to fix those issues or do something that still allows you to bench(dumbbells, board pressing etc.).
     
  5. Origins

    Origins Blue Belt

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    Funny you mention Bill Starr, I was just thinking about how I remember him mentioning in one of his articles (it may be that one) how he never really trained his bench but it always stayed 100 pounds ahead of his press.

    I don't want to quit it because it is my worst lift and I feel like I should work on that weakness. But at the same time I feel a looming shoulder injury if I continue benching, for whatever reason. I haven't been injured benching yet, it just makes my shoulders feel generally shitty.
     
  6. milano

    milano I am the Walrus

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    I'm not a big fan of the bench press either, I do it mainly for vanity reasons.

    As for programming, I just do a Max Effort overhead press day instead of Max Effort bench press. It's worked out pretty well so far.

    edit: should have mentioned that i just follow a basic westside template.
     
  7. KnightTemplar

    KnightTemplar Ebony Belt Platinum Member

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    I have a love/hate relationship with Bench. It is my Kryptonite lift; I have more problems getting stronger on Bench than any other Lift, by a huge margin. I Bench like a one-armed, anorexic Girly-Man.

    But...

    Nothing quite equals the thrill of hitting a new PR on Bench. Yes, Squat and Deadlift are far more important to overall strength. And Press is a much better test of upper body strength. I know all this and I still want to have a big Bench.:redface:

    I believe Rippetoe is also not a huge fan of the Bench, mainly because too many people focus on Bench to the detriment of the other Lifts.
     
  8. James Fuller

    James Fuller Amateur Fighter

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    There is something wrong with your form if ur getting injured/feel it coming on. sometimes when guys get their shoulders hurt its cause their grip is too far apart or they are flaring their elbows out. I would look again at a couple how to's. I did and found out my hands werent under the bar enough and I wasnt gripping hard enough, so there are always details to brush up on.
     
  9. Searcher

    Searcher Yellow Belt

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    I have an OP day and use bench as assistance, then a bench day and use OP as assistance. Thats pretty much my whole push day right there.
     
  10. KnightTemplar

    KnightTemplar Ebony Belt Platinum Member

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    This; I used to get shoulder pain from Bench until I started to use the techniques Dave Tate, Wendler etc teach: don't flair the elbows, narrow the grip, keep everything tight, all that good stuff.
     
  11. Origins

    Origins Blue Belt

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    I keep my elbows reasonably tucked, I keep my pinkies inside the rings (which I think is pretty narrow by PL standards). I also keep a good arch in my back and all that.

    What do you mean by hands under the bar?
     
  12. DrBdan

    DrBdan Something clever

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    Have you ever taken video of yourself benching? Maybe there is an issue with your form that is contributing to the feeling that you are going to injure yourself.

    If you do end up focusing on the press I would go with rckvl's suggestion and use bench as assistance.
     
  13. KnightTemplar

    KnightTemplar Ebony Belt Platinum Member

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    Post a vid so the more experianced Dogs(not me, obviously:redface:)can check and advise.
     
  14. PWR1982

    PWR1982 Green Belt

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    I don't bench, I do mainly overhead pressing. Reason is I lift at home, and I don't have a bench. Sometimes I do floor presses, but they're pretty damn annoying because I have to hip bump the bar into correct position.

    It's been working fine, I've made good progress on the military press in the last few months, and could quite probably bench quite a bit more once I get my form right. I've been doing 3-10 military press triples, 1-4 times a week.

    Don't think there's a real problem with not benching, but it would obviously be better to bench. It's about as bad as not doing weighted dips in my eyes - not a must, but it's good to add them.
     
  15. MASShole

    MASShole Get it?

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    I don't bench, haven't for years. All OH work and some floor pressing and that's it.
     
  16. Cratos

    Cratos Banned Banned

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    I didn't bench up until this past April and never noticed any problems.

    You could SOHP 3x/week with no problems. Following what others have done, I press on Monday, bench on Wednesday and press on Friday.

    You get better at pressing by pressing often. I've read where strong people have said if you're lifting 3x/week, you should probably be benching or pressing all three days.

    Don't quote me on this, but I don't know how often most of the top strongman bench. High risk of injury, low return for their sport.

    You could SOHP two days and do jerks/push presses the other day.
     
  17. Cratos

    Cratos Banned Banned

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    I think both points are very debatable and unable to be generalized like that.
     
  18. Origins

    Origins Blue Belt

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    If I eventually decide to cut bench, I would want to do something like what you have at the bottom. But I am still a beginner, so I want to give benching my best shot before going all overhead.

    When you started benching did you notice your bench was really weak compared to where it should be based on your other lifts?
     
  19. Mumrik

    Mumrik Silver Belt

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    Even higher risk of shoulder injury.





    I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that you probably only feel that way because it is your weak lift.

    I was naturally far stronger on the bench even though I've never been a bench monkey, so when I finally actually lifting weights with Bill Starr's 5x5 instead of just wasting time in a gym, my bench was significantly stronger than my squat and my deadlift. PRs on the bench were nice for me, but they were nothing compared to setting new records on the deadlift and the squat - lifts I felt embarrassingly weak at. I was proud when my DL and squat finally moved past my BP.

    Having injured both shoulders and rehabbing two bulging discs in my back bench is now an extremely low priority for me. I still do it, but it is very narrow grip and tight elbows and I'm still quite far away from the numbers I did before the onslaught of injuries.
     
  20. James Fuller

    James Fuller Amateur Fighter

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    I guess my point is do bench or dont do it for any of the very compelling arguments on either side. I love arguing and talking lifting even more than mma. And I know when I cant fight anymore my next competive stage will be powerlifting.

    Just dont quit it because your not good at it, are scared of it or dont like it. A. It makes it easier to quit something else next time B. Thats how we all felt about lifting like this at all at one point

    Here is a thing on grip, the one I was referencing was a video now that I think about...will do some hunting.
    How to Set Up for the Bench Press - Part 4 Where and How to Grip the Bar, powerlifting, training,bench-press-technique
     

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