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Old 26 January 2017, 09:13
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The Physics of the Bench Press

Recently, I switched my routine to a three-times/week 5x5 on the big three, bench press, squat and dead lift. I changed my technique on the BP in order to maximize full ROM and I've seen some gains as a result. During one set, I noticed the vectors of my press and got curious about the physics; well, you can find anything on the interweb and here is an interesting article on the relationship between a BP and f=ma.

As I said, interesting. Link embedded in the quote.

Quote:
The Physics of the Bench Press: Science Applied

Powerlifters often tell me, “You just don’t understand physics! Don’t you know that bench pressing straight up and down is the easiest because it’s the shortest possible motion?” Well, I have to agree that some of that is correct. However, the conclusion is entirely wrong. Old dogma dies hard, so let me explain why I think this conclusion isn't based in physics and our science in general. Don’t let the apparent technicality alarm you. We will keep it as straightforward and relevant as we can.

Explanation

Making the assumption that we want to limit our total work output in regards to completing the bench press, we will use the formula for work as our foundation: Work = force x distance

First, we have to calculate our force. Let’s use a 200-kg load as an example. The load obviously remains unchanged throughout the movement unless you have someone doing an upright row/assisted spot that you commonly see in the gym these days. For a bench press, the force is generated by the gravitational pull of the earth against the bar in your hands and is arrived at with the formula: Force = gravity x mass

For our example and use: 9.8 m/s x 200 kg = 1960 Newton’s

Now that we have the force calculated, let’s move on to the area of debate. This is in regards to the ‘distance’ the bar travels. Because the force is generated by gravity, the ‘distance’ used in the calculation is only that in the vertical plane. As you can see in the example below, a bar finishing at position A or B has the same total distance if they have the same starting position.
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Old 28 January 2017, 20:50
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When you BP do you after touching your chest press straight up or have a slight angle back to include working more of the triceps?
BTW I'm the worst BPer ever born
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Last edited by CAP MARINE; 28 January 2017 at 20:50. Reason: V
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Old 28 January 2017, 23:29
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Interesting. I've never thought about how I get the bar up and since I can't watch myself perform the rep in the mirror, I have no idea how it looks. As long as I can re-rack it, I'm happy, since I tend to work out on my own.
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Old 29 January 2017, 10:04
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CAP MARINE View Post
When you BP do you after touching your chest press straight up or have a slight angle back to include working more of the triceps?
BTW I'm the worst BPer ever born
The latter that's why I got curious when I saw the travel.
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Old 18 February 2017, 01:17
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Being old and having had rotor cuff surgery I have to be very careful how I BP. For me I do a set of 10 negatives, 3 count down and one up at 135 and bring the bar to my chest for range of motion. Second set is at 225 and I limit the range to my humerus slightly below horizontal and do them to exhaustion which is 18-20 reps. Third set is either a repeat of the second or go up to 245 for 10. For me anyway being 62 and 175 lbs it works well and I have had no injuries, which at this stage of life can be a real problem as healing and recovery just take so much time and you never come back as good as you left....
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Old 18 February 2017, 07:21
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Why not just find a different exercise that will help you work the muscles/attribute you're targeting to get the training effect you want?

The BP isn't magic or indispensable.
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Old 18 February 2017, 10:47
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Originally Posted by Silverbullet View Post
Why not just find a different exercise that will help you work the muscles/attribute you're targeting to get the training effect you want?

The BP isn't magic or indispensable.
In fact, the BP is not the best exercise for your chest.
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Old 18 February 2017, 10:57
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500 push-ups wil do the trick
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Old 18 February 2017, 11:59
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What worked for me

Quote:
Originally Posted by merlinn View Post
Being old and having had rotor cuff surgery I have to be very careful how I BP. For me I do a set of 10 negatives, 3 count down and one up at 135 and bring the bar to my chest for range of motion. Second set is at 225 and I limit the range to my humerus slightly below horizontal and do them to exhaustion which is 18-20 reps. Third set is either a repeat of the second or go up to 245 for 10. For me anyway being 62 and 175 lbs it works well and I have had no injuries, which at this stage of life can be a real problem as healing and recovery just take so much time and you never come back as good as you left....
Try the slingshot from Mark Bell or a neutral grip bar. I'm just back to bench press after almost a year off from a rotator cuff injury from doing overhead press.

Also, I don't go over 225 for bench now. EVER.

I'm going to focus on the elbow flare/tuck as mentioned in the article today. My bar path has always be as the article stated.

Last edited by ronix; 18 February 2017 at 12:04. Reason: Grammer
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Old 18 February 2017, 20:42
merlinn merlinn is offline
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I looked up the slingshot and it's pretty interesting, especially for those who want to push themselves. At this point I do not want to risk injury and I get the testosterone brain on occasion and have to stop myself from going higher... What do they say "old and slow" well at least they are going. A good screw up and your out for way to long..
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Old 19 February 2017, 19:46
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I've used the slingshot before and liked it.
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Old 9 March 2017, 18:52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silverbullet View Post
Why not just find a different exercise that will help you work the muscles/attribute you're targeting to get the training effect you want?

The BP isn't magic or indispensable.
Adding to SB's observation, it is important to understand that how much you can lift once is not really a useful thing to know. Lifting weights that are too heavy, particularly when you are old and broken like me, is an excellent way to injure yourself and, again as an old guy, they tend to be permanent.

The object is not to lift the weight, but to build the muscle. Whatever weight allows you a full, strong contraction of the muscle is the right weight. Over time you will move up incrementally because the old weight will no longer give you a full contraction. In the meantime, you continue to gain strength for that time you have to lift way more than you thought one time. The difference is that you may live to lift again.
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