Monday, April 13, 2009
Screw The Bench Press!
Okay, if I have to endure one more article out there dealing with bench press maladies, I'm going to shoot something! I'm serious! I just can't understand how this exercise is so damn popular when it seems like so many know that it's one of the big culprits behind "winged scapula", the reason why some people who live on the bench can't lift their arms over their head without altering their posture to do it, if they can do it at all! Isn't that a pretty fundamental human arm movement?
Here's another article that, in part, deals with this situation...
Okay, he blames one of the photos that I posted this on hunching over to look at a computer. Who's he really kidding? I could be wrong about benching doing this, but I don't think that I am.
Okay, cooler, more rational head now...
I know that any exercise can be done incorrectly and cause an injury. You could easily give yourself a mother lode of tendinitis if you did push-ups in reps that exceed your abilities. You could fall on your head while doing handstand push-ups. You can also get tendinitis in your elbows or pull your biceps while doing chin-ups. Still, I believe there's something else wrong with the bench press. The shoulder problems don't seem to be coming from over-ambitious application of effort and workload while benching. The bench press isn't working the chest and shoulder muscles evenly.
I'll freely admit that I don't know about all the different muscle imbalances that exist and that it's possible that you could give yourself muscle imbalances from push-ups. Theoretically, anything's possible. In reality, how much is it actually happening though? It sure seems like it happens way more with benching than it does with push-ups. It's anecdotal as hell, I admit, but like I said, it's getting hard to ignore the volume of articles written to address imbalances from benching.
One thing that I'm reasonably certain on is that these problems with the bench press could probably be solved by balancing out the workout with movements such as handstand push-ups and military presses as the author of that article suggested. I've seen other articles about using the face pull and the push-up to get some serratus anterior work. Still, it's seems a waste of precious workout time when you could do some pull-ups/chin-ups and push-ups and get the same effect. I don't think that the bench press is really that precious. Training should be about getting a strong healthy body, not one that conforms to some Adonis complex-obsessed society. The bench press seems to be the exercise that embraces the latter.