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Old 01-01-2014, 04:26 PM   #1
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Default Why bench press is influenced so heavily by caloric intake?

It seems that whenever I eat less than usual, it's always the bench press that is affected the most out of all my lifts, why would this be the case?
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Old 01-01-2014, 04:37 PM   #2
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Calories help recovery, and help with rate of muscle building. Less food, slower recovery. The body has to ration calories for basic functions.

Excess calories don't just get stored as fat. They also build muscle tissue. Food is anabolic. After about 14 days of heavy overeating the body tends to transition into fat storage mode, but muscle gain rates are still amplified.

There was a study on untrained sumo wrestlers a while back and they found that they had just as much muscle mass as a typical natural bodybuilder. This study pisses a lot of folks off but it's true. Also hints at why a lot of big guys are naturally strong when they first hit the gym.

That's the best way I can explain it.
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Old 01-01-2014, 04:55 PM   #3
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I find that my bodyweight effects my bench. As my body weight goes up, my bench press goes up, as my bodyweight drops my bench press stalls out or regresses. However, thankfully it does not regress at nearly the same rate as it increases.
Bodyweight is impacted by caloric intake, so there must be some relation to your observation.
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Old 01-01-2014, 05:28 PM   #4
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2 good posts indeed but it still remains unclear to me why the bench press specifically tends to be effected more than say squats or deadlifts, at least for me that is the case.

I know many who raged at that sumo wrestler study indeed steve, LoL.
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Old 01-01-2014, 05:32 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Kleurplaay View Post
2 good posts indeed but it still remains unclear to me why the bench press specifically tends to be effected more than say squats or deadlifts, at least for me that is the case.
I have absolutely no idea whatsoever but this is a stab in the dark...it may be because with both squats and deadlifts a lot more muscle groups are brought in to play so they can pick up the slack, so to speak, whereas with the bench it's mostly the arms and shoulders doing the work without the really strong muscles of the glutes and back etc being used as much if at all etc.

Just a thought.

It may even be that most have the same issue with regard to the bench press being the seemingly weaker lift during times of less calories.
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Old 01-01-2014, 08:58 PM   #6
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I agree with what Babs has to say. Squats and Deads draw on much bigger muscle groups that can pick up the slack for under-eating.

Another thing along those lines is that Squats and Deads primarily rely on big muscle groups that you use everyday all the time to do natural motions. So even if your body wanted to short those groups, it couldn't as you have to walk, climb stairs, get up and down off the sofa, bend over to pick up crap off the ground, etc. Whereas bench pressing is not a motion that you use very often during a typical day or week.

An interesting experiment might be to under-eat a little bit for a couple weeks or so, but do pushups multiple times every day in various rep ranges and see if your bench drops off from under-eating. I suspect it would not.

My .02
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Old 01-01-2014, 10:53 PM   #7
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Being a fat fuck helps my bench alot more than my squat and deadlift.
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Old 01-01-2014, 11:28 PM   #8
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Being a fat fuck helps my bench alot more than my squat and deadlift.
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Old 01-02-2014, 01:08 AM   #9
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It could be, not saying it is though, WHAT you're eating! Eating more can have a big influence on your recovery and energy/strength. However if a good portion of foods eaten are not calorie dense foods, even with the surplus it may not be beneficial.
When I eat "good" foods, quality dense real food, not processed junk...I lift better even if I've actually eaten much less. If that makes sense, just something to consider !
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Old 01-02-2014, 03:29 AM   #10
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I feel it has to do with recovery. Bench and deads especially are hard to recover from. Squats, not so much. Personally if I'm cutting, I do a bit less work in the gym.
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