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Old 12-29-2011, 10:24 AM   #1
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Default Differences between the bench press

What are the differences between the bench press for building muscle and building strength? I know a bodybuilder doesn't have to arch his back much but there are other differences I don't understand.
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Old 12-29-2011, 10:33 AM   #2
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What are the differences between the bench press for building muscle and building strength? I know a bodybuilder doesn't have to arch his back much but there are other differences I don't understand.
There is no difference between a bodybuilders press and a power-lifter or general fitness. The way a person does them, is all in there form, weather it is good or bad by the books.

Building size vrs strength and visa versa is in the reps and sets done, has nothing to do with form or angle on anything like that, below the Pro level.
Its all in the goal and committing to moving the weight.
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Old 12-29-2011, 11:06 AM   #3
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The only difference I've ever heard is that a powerlifter will tend to have more of an arch, which allows a greater pressing movement, in order to lift more weight. A bodybuilder would more interested in perfect form to work the muscles for maximum growth.

But all in all, as Rich said, it's not so big to truly notice. I see a guy in my gym who presses 385 like it was a feather, and he has a flat back. He also has a bodybuilder physique though, so it's hard to tell why he would use one method over another.

Personally, I do have an arch, and I really try to stay tucked in and as tight as I can when pressing; I just feel more of the pressing advantage in that form, as opposed to flat back..
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Old 12-29-2011, 11:19 AM   #4
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I think there are subtle differences in the way you approach the lift. Yes, you are still doing the basic lift with good mechanics, and yes progression is of the utmost importance. If I was benching strictly for muscle building purposes, I wouldn't care how much arch I was getting as long as I was stable, I wouldn't try to speed the bar up through my sticking point and I'd keep all the reps slow and controlled, I'd keep the reps in the moderate range and not flirt with low reps, pauses and lock-outs would be less important than constant tension [yet still hit a full range of motion], and I wouldn't care about how much weight I bench as much as just making sure I'm progressing and activating more fibers.

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Old 12-29-2011, 12:10 PM   #5
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I believe that there is definitely a difference in style with how one benches depending on what they're trying to achieve. For example if someone is trying to build more muscle then why would they try and enhance their back arch as much as possible, widen their grip and drive with their legs in order to shift more weight via the decrease of ROM and using the whole body? A powerlifter's job is to move more weight so every trick they can use in order to do so will be utilised. A bodybuilder, on the other hand, is looking to increase the amount of muscle that they carry so they will use however much weight they deem necessary, using a form that allows them to get the best results.
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Old 12-29-2011, 12:23 PM   #6
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1. A powerlifter arches to limit the range of motion needed to complete the lift. If you can decrease your motion it will give you a advantage to press more weight. The more inches you can add to your arch the less inches in your press motion. Most BBers don't care how much they can press focusing more on progression and muscle size.

2. Elbow position is key for a powerlifter also. Most BBers press with the elbows parallel with the bar while a powerlifter will pinch his traps and lats tight in and keep his/her elbows more tucked in to his sides. Also foot positioning may very. I have seen BBers pull the feet up on the bench to get the entire lift focused on the chest while Powerlifters utilize a ton of leg drive and really dig the feet in. And yes a lot of drive on your bench is in your legs believe it or not.

3. A lot of BBers use a pumping motion while they bench cause they feel lockout takes tension off the muscle. A powerlifter will mainly press to lockout cause every press done in competition must be locked out to be credited. This is why boards are often used to work the lockout with possibly a slightly higher weight than one can actually press.

4. Rep range will differ tremendously. A BBer will prefer to work higher rep ranges while a Powerlifter will prefer to work in lower reps and 1RM's pushing it more often. I've talked to many BBers who actually don't even know what their 1RM is they may just have an estimate. Most BBers think they would waste a workout if they don't get their reps in and reach hypertrophy while a powerlifter would think he wasted a workout if he didn't work heavy weight in triples and singles.

These are some distinct differences i could think of off hand but there are probably more if one thought about it longer. If i was asked i would say there is a big difference in the approach by each one but thats just my opinion.
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Old 12-29-2011, 12:25 PM   #7
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I believe that there is definitely a difference in style with how one benches depending on what they're trying to achieve. For example if someone is trying to build more muscle then why would they try and enhance their back arch as much as possible, widen their grip and drive with their legs in order to shift more weight via the decrease of ROM and using the whole body? A powerlifter's job is to move more weight so every trick they can use in order to do so will be utilised. A bodybuilder, on the other hand, is looking to increase the amount of muscle that they carry so they will use however much weight they deem necessary, using a form that allows them to get the best results.
snuck that in on me while i put mine together. totally agree.
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Old 12-29-2011, 01:09 PM   #8
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What are the differences between the bench press for building muscle and building strength? I know a bodybuilder doesn't have to arch his back much but there are other differences I don't understand.
I'm not really sure what your question means. If you mean 'what are the differences in how a typical powerlifter and bodybuilder bench press?' then jslep and Hazzard have given good answers.

If you mean 'Do I need to do a different sort of bench press if I'm training for strength compared for training for muscle?' then that's a tougher question.

If the ultimate goal is to move the most weight, then go with a powerlifting bench press style. I think there are other advantages too: the powerlifting bench press shortens the range of motion, and I believe that is a lot healthier for the shoulders in the long run. I was taught to bench press with a flat back, elbows flared (i.e. bodybuilder style), or even to press high up toward the neck 'for a better stretch.' This is now agonising for me, and I can't do it. However, I can bench press powerlifter style with much less discomfort.

Can you build significant muscle by pressing powerlifting style? I would say so. As Rich, Ricka and Offroad say, the difference lies in the set and rep schemes and maybe speed of bar movement. In fact, even if you don't optimise all that stuff for muscle-building, you can still get big pressing muscles from folowing a strength-based routine.

All imo.
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Old 12-29-2011, 02:05 PM   #9
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I agree with a lot of posts here. I thought zip was asking a different Q? with the arch back statement.
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Old 12-29-2011, 02:57 PM   #10
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jslep and Hazzard have given good answers..
As did ricka182.
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