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Old 04-17-2012, 07:53 AM   #1
MikeM
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Default Biceps and Bench

What is it about benching that seems to aggravate one of your biceps? I'm seeing a theme from a lot of people's logs that benching does cause some bicep pains. That's my hypothesis.

Is everyone's pains similar? Mine's like an ache in the fat part of my left bicep. I also have some sharper pains from time to time at the very lowest part of the bicep connection just above my elbow. I assumed this was some tendinitis like thing that I get from always carrying my daughter/groceries/etc. in my left arm. I didn't necessarily connet it with benching. The ache I mentioned first is from benching though. And it's only in one arm, the other does not have any real pain, just normal soreness from working out.

So, what causes this?
- From what I notice: I lower the bar fairly quickly and I believe the pain stems from decelerating hard at my chest. I think it's in my left arm because that arm frequently is slightly lower than my right when I get to my chest. Now, this is not scientific, but that is the impression I get. I will also note, when I fail to lockout, it's always my right arm that does not lock out, never my left. Don't know if that means anything, though.
I'd like to hear if other people have other ideas.

Then somewhat more importantly, what should you do about it? Both after the fact and as preventative.
- For my part, I do not do curls and the only direct bicep stuff is some chinups. I know Muscle G and JB have both mentioned doing hammer curls on bench days, and Fazc has mentioned not doing straight chins, but neutral grip instead.
- What about after the fact? Should you get away from flat benching to some other form for a week or two to relieve the aches and work on the bicep? Other?

Anyway, something I'm noticing and interested in what other people think. Anything on this topic would be appreciated.
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Old 04-17-2012, 07:58 AM   #2
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The better your technique is, the more biceps involvement. If you're pulling the bar down correctly, then you will naturally engage the biceps.

You are correct with deceleration. It's equivalent to a fast, hard negative.

Hammer curls are best, and I recommend working in some light, higher volume work to aid in some GPP.
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Old 04-17-2012, 08:12 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bwys61 View Post
The better your technique is, the more biceps involvement.
I like this guy

The biceps certainly support the arm and stabilise the bar, no question there. There *may* also be some residual pain from squatting as well, which manifests itself after the Bench.
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Old 04-17-2012, 08:18 AM   #4
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Look at it this way: The barbell curl is like the squat for the arms.

Among other things, stronger biceps decrease the risk of bicep tears while deadlifting/pulling, can help increase chin-ups/rows/etc due to their involvement, stabilize the arms while pressing/benching/power cleaning/etc, and are also nice for the ladies to grab onto. Heavy barbell curls also help strengthen the grip and forearms.

It sounds to me like adding some in would be worth your while.
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Old 04-17-2012, 08:27 AM   #5
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Well you know what I am going to say already! Add in a few sets of medium weight hammer curls. Will help with control in the bench. You never see a big bencher with little arms!!!!!
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Old 04-17-2012, 08:32 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bwys61 View Post
The better your technique is, the more biceps involvement. If you're pulling the bar down correctly, then you will naturally engage the biceps.
Several years ago you mentioned the concept of rowing the bar down. It's helped my benching and I've been using it since. I have noticed an increase in stress placed upon my brachialis. When I bench heavy raw that's usually one of the areas that picks up a minor strain. I haven't been doing any form of hammer curl but have been thinking about adding it for this reason.
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Old 04-17-2012, 09:00 AM   #7
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I never get any bicept pain from benching. Haven't even heard of anyone experiencing that until now. I do hammer curls 1-2x/week though. I vary the dbs from 40's to 80's.
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Old 04-17-2012, 09:14 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Ryano View Post
I never get any bicept pain from benching. Haven't even heard of anyone experiencing that until now. I do hammer curls 1-2x/week though. I vary the dbs from 40's to 80's.
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Old 04-17-2012, 11:46 AM   #9
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I get pain in my right bicep, just above the elbow so I guess the brachialis area. I've never consistently included direct bicep work but have been trying too recently and by the sounds of it, it seems like a wise choice.

Also like Faz pointed out, I think squats were the root cause for me. Had some shoulder/elbow trouble with squats over the last few months and heavy bench can sometimes aggravate this.
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Old 04-17-2012, 12:37 PM   #10
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Yep JT, it was your log that tipped me into starting this thread. Seemed like another bench bicep casualty, so I thought I'd ask.

So, Hammer curls the way to go. Like 3 sets of 10 medium on volume bench day, and 3 sets 15 lighter on heavy bench day, if you bench twice a week? Or the reverse? Or doesn't matter?

Thanks for the help!
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Best meet lifts: Sq 150 Kg (330 lb), Bench 120 Kg (264), DL 160 (352) @89 Kg (197)
Best gym lifts: Sq 375, Bench 280 (pause), DL 385 @205 or less
Goals: 3/4/5
Goals beyond my wildest dreams, 600 Kg raw total, 200/160/240

Hack away at anything which isn't essential. Do what you love, and do it often. Fazc.

Everything competes for recovery so more assistance is not always the best idea. miked96
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