The Bench Press…The standard of pushing strength for so many men.
Why all the fuss over a big bench press? What does the sheer amount of weight that someone can push whilst lying flat on their back have to do with anything? In most sports, (with the exception of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu), if you’re on your back, you lost!
Being on your back, certainly isn’t where you want to be as a golfer!
But if you’re sitting with a bunch of guys and someone strong walks in, it’s common to hear “I wonder what he can bench?” Or when discussing sports, the same question comes up, “How much can so-and-so bench?”
In my many years working in big-box gyms such as New York Sports Club and Equinox back in NYC, Monday night was considered ‘national bench-press night’. It was always the Monday following Sunday night football. You couldn’t find a free bench unless it was in Central Park.
There was a time in my life (between 12 – 20 years ago), that I was all about the bench press. I used to participate in a competition known as the Lift ‘n Run. In this competition, competitors would bench press a percentage of their body weight; based on sex, age, and body weight as many times as possible. Each repetition got you 30 seconds off your 5K run time. The person with the lowest total score was the winner.
I was pretty good at it too. Taking 1st place in the 40-44 men’s division with 46 repetitions of 125 lbs. in 2002 and 2004. And all that bench pressing made me freegin’ huge! LOL
A Brief History
The bench press exercise was never intended to be a benchmark of manhood. It is an exercise for improving the size and/or strength of the chest, anterior deltoids, and triceps, nothing else. In fact, the star player on any team is rarely the one with the biggest bench press!
A far more “functional” way to push is to do it standing up. This involves all the joints in your body from the ground up. Like the golf swing requires. It requires you to “engage your core” to resist being pulled backward toward the weight stack and resisting rotational forces when you do it with one arm at a time.
There are many variations of this exercise. Some that require, well a little more dynamicness to it. Learning to use your body from the ground up. Kind of like that golf swing – again.
Brett’s Bottom Line:
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