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Old 01-29-2011, 12:16 PM   #11
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Im am just about to start using DB's for bench so as to try to give the pecs a better stretch. With the Barbell my shoulders hurt if the grip is too wide, but then it means as my grip is a bit closer my triceps are taking over quite a bit.

I think a combination of BB and DB rows would be the best way to go as you will recruit the muscles slightly differently with each, but still hit the back hard to cause growth.

just my 2p worth

Carl.
If you want to go wide on the bench use a reverse grip, and bring the bar down the the portion of the chest you want to work on. Just make sure you're in the power rack.
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Old 01-29-2011, 12:26 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by IronManlet View Post

Re the Benching thing: Technically, the Bench Press is a Tricep exercise.
That depends on the grip width of the barbell and if there's scapular retraction, sure your triceps are the primary movers, but there are methods to put emphasis on the muscles you intend on working.
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Old 01-29-2011, 12:32 PM   #13
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but there are methods to put emphasis on the muscles you intend on working.
As I mentioned earlier, this is a bodybuilding method that attempts to turn a compound lift into an isolation lift.

I don't like tweaking lifts in this manner. Changing a lift to better isolate, especially on bench, is a recipe for a shoulder injury. That is, if progression is in the mix...which it should be, if muscle gains are the goal.

I'm not trying to sound argumentative. I just believe there is one best way to do a lift, and because progression on some level is needed to gain, changing a lift to better isolate while adding weight is not something I will ever do.

In addition, I don't think it's in anyway necessary for naturals. I believe progression to be the Holy Grail. Use proper form, beat what you did the last time in the gym, and gain.

I know many, many bodybuilders focus on mind-muscle and peak contraction. While they might have some merit, I personally believe they are misguided philosophies because this method is better suited for pure isolation lifts. When I look at risk vs. reward, they will never be worth it to me. It's hard enough for me to squat and bench heavy with good form.

Sure, I could lighten the weight, add TUT, focus on contraction, etc. That's all good and well, but I will still need to add weight at some point to gain. So here I will be working my way up the heavy weight rung with my mind focused on other things rather than proper lifting form...

Edit: I just want to clarify that I do believe it is possible, and safe to incorporate some degree of extra intense contraction during a lift. It depends on the lift, and there are certain leverage points that are easier to do so. I am not claiming that all attempts to "contract with intensity" are dangerous.

My main gripe is that I do believe that this can be (and is) taken way overboard, creating more dangerous lifts. I've seen far too many bodybuilders with arms flared, slowly lowering the weight to the upper chest, all in the name of "feel". It hurts my shoulders just watching these videos...

Also, I just don't believe it's necessary or beneficial other than making someone feel mentally that they have done more.
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Old 01-29-2011, 12:34 PM   #14
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Unfortunately many try to turn compound lifts into isolation lifts in an attempt to hammer only one muscle group, and add all sorts of techniques (via the use of intense focus on contractions, whatever) to do so. This, in my opinion, defeats the purpose of doing them...

This is one of the major issues I have with modern bodybuilding splits...every exercise gets categorized by bodypart, which isn't really the way things work in the gym. And the next step once that exercise has been classified is to focus on turning it into more of an isolation lift.

I do not care for this approach...But that is a topic for another thread.
But you can take compound exercises and tweak them so you can put "emphasis" on the muscle you want to develop because you have to feel the muscle in question working for development, at least that what I believe. Now I say emphasis not isolate because there are no true isolation exercises (except for maybe the preacher curl) there is always something else at work to make that exercise happen.
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Old 01-29-2011, 12:40 PM   #15
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That depends on the grip width of the barbell and if there's scapular retraction, sure your triceps are the primary movers, but there are methods to put emphasis on the muscles you intend on working.
It has to do with the physiology of the movement: your arms are doing the pushing. The pectoral muscles' primary purpose is to pull the arms down and across your torso. The way your pectorals are stressed during the movement is towards the bottom position; when they are in a full stretch.

It is impossible to push your arms upwards from a pronated position without pectoral involvement, hence they are abductors for your arms. However, your chest is not actually lifting anything; your Triceps and shoulders are. This is why Tricep strength is so often stressed when training your Bench.

If you really want to stress your chest muscles, try doing a variant that gives them as full of a stretch as possible in the bottom position. You will get a big chest, but that's not because your chest was doing a lot of pushing.
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Old 01-29-2011, 12:41 PM   #16
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As I mentioned earlier, this is a bodybuilding method that attempts to turn a compound lift into an isolation lift.

I don't like tweaking lifts in this manner. Changing a lift to better isolate, especially on bench, is a recipe for a shoulder injury. That is, if progression is in the mix...which it should be, if muscle gains are the goal.

I'm not trying to sound argumentative. I just believe there is one best way to do a lift, and because progression on some level is needed to gain, changing a lift to better isolate while adding weight is not something I will ever do.

In addition, I don't think it's in anyway necessary for naturals. I believe progression to be the Holy Grail. Use proper form, beat what you did the last time in the gym, and gain.
I agree with you on most of your points, and I know you aren't trying to scrap. I'll give you an example of what I'm talking about. A wide grip guillotine bench press to the clavicle, elbows flared the whole bit, which was advocated by Vince Gironda and Reg Park for upper chest development works great, but it's bad for your shoulders. Now if we take that lift and use a reverse grip instead, the elbows are tucked and it's a much safer lift as far as shoulder health is concerned.

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Old 01-29-2011, 12:56 PM   #17
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It has to do with the physiology of the movement: your arms are doing the pushing. The pectoral muscles' primary purpose is to pull the arms down and across your torso. The way your pectorals are stressed during the movement is towards the bottom position; when they are in a full stretch.

It is impossible to push your arms upwards from a pronated position without pectoral involvement, hence they are abductors for your arms. However, your chest is not actually lifting anything; your Triceps and shoulders are. This is why Tricep strength is so often stressed when training your Bench.

If you really want to stress your chest muscles, try doing a variant that gives them as full of a stretch as possible in the bottom position. You will get a big chest, but that's not because your chest was doing a lot of pushing.
I'm glad you're a well read lifter, but the body mechanics lesson was a little over the top for the point I'm trying to get across. Bottom line, you can take one compound exercise and make it do different things for your body, and safely too.
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Old 01-29-2011, 04:59 PM   #18
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I don't know how much truth there is in it and I can't remember the author's name or link, but I read that it's better for the shoulders and rotator cuffs and such to have a ratio of 3:1 on Db v Bb bench press.

So, for every 3 workouts that you do Db bench press there should only be 1 workout that focusses on Bb bench press.


I think it was 3:1, not 4:1 but I could be wrong.
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Old 01-29-2011, 05:04 PM   #19
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I'm glad you're a well read lifter, but the body mechanics lesson was a little over the top for the point I'm trying to get across. Bottom line, you can take one compound exercise and make it do different things for your body, and safely too.
Oh, I'm not debating that. Doing the Bench Press in a different way will obviously stress different muscles. A CGBP, for example.

I was simply interested in the mechanics of the lift; and why some people choose DB's over BB's.
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Old 01-29-2011, 05:13 PM   #20
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Oh, I'm not debating that. Doing the Bench Press in a different way will obviously stress different muscles. A CGBP, for example.

I was simply interested in the mechanics of the lift; and why some people choose DB's over BB's.
Okay, I understand now.
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