PDA

View Full Version : Bench Pressing in Japan



Sensei
06-16-2005, 06:53 PM
Posting this here because I figured someone here might find it interesting.

On Saturday, June 11 and Tuesday, June 14, 2005 I had the opportunity to visit a small gym in rural Japan (Oono in Fukui prefecture) called "Takei Power Gym".

I learned of this gym from my wife. She normally has no interest whatsoever in powerlifting, but noticed an article in the paper about a young girl who was a junior IPF world record holder in the bench press, living and training in the same prefecture. The girl's father was her coach the gym owner, and a former World's IPF Bench Press bronze medalist (1995).

I went, not knowing what to expect exactly, but hoping that they might at least give me some tips for my horrible bench.

During the two sessions that I spent at Takei Power Gym, I talked with the father and daughter a lot about training, equipment, and technique. Her are some of the highlights of our conversations:

*Crain bench press shirts are a lot more popular here. According to Mr. Takei, Japanese benchers just don't like extreme gear. He has always used Crain bench shirts and loves the fit. He tried competing in an Inzer EHPHD, but hated it. I tell him that, for Americans, the more painful the gear, the better - he just laughs and it's pretty clear he doesn't agree.

*Almost all meets follow IPF guidelines, so everything is single-ply poly. The Rage X isn't sold in Japan yet. He mentions the F-6 too, but I didn't ask him follow-up questions about it.

*Japanese benchers maximize bench grip width. As soon as I put my hands on the bench, both Ai and her father immediately mention that Americans tend to bench close grip and they are a bit puzzled why they do that.

*Mr. Takei does a lot of rep work in the off-season, usually in the 8-10 range. Pre-contest work generally starts 8 weeks out with the last three weeks using equipment. His athletes usually do no workouts 10-14 days before a meet so they are fully recovered.

*His benchers take a lot of time to recover in-between sets. He recommends 10 minutes.

*He recommends an elbows-out bench press style. I know, I know... I mention rotator cuff injuries and he says that he has had a few, but that the shoulder and pectorals are underutilized by elbows-in benchers and that tricep-dominant lifters are limiting themselves. He says that opening up your elbows even a little will make a big difference with your bench press.

*They use large diameter PVC to help develop their arch. When I try using a 5" diameter tube, my back immediately cracks and then starts in with mild shooting spasms... I eventually settle into it and when I set myself with the bar, Mr. Takei pushes my shoulders towards my feet, saying "Down, down!". My upper back immediately tightens, solving an upper back tightness issue I've been battling on the bench press for years!

D Breyer
06-16-2005, 06:58 PM
interesting how different benching is in japan...

KevinStarke
06-16-2005, 07:00 PM
Thats some nutty stuff. I've seen pictures of japanese power lifters and yah their grip is crazy wide and that arch is nuts.

Hazerboy
06-17-2005, 12:20 AM
Have any pictures of that?

Out of curiosity, do the japanese have higher bench records then the Americans/Europeans?

Canadian Crippler
06-17-2005, 01:05 AM
http://www.usapowerlifting.com/newsletter/05/results/benchworldsart.html


The Japanese have dominated the world bench press meets and hold a majority of the single lift bench press records. The Japanese will be competing when the meet comes to the U.S. and would like to compete against our best.

WBBIRL
06-17-2005, 01:18 AM
Their not that much ahead, and didn't scott mendelson bench 715lbs.... If he was from america then we would have a bencher at nearly 325kg.

Sensei
06-17-2005, 02:39 AM
They do well in IPF meets. As far as I know, they hardly ever compete in federations other than the IPF and it's pretty tough to compare across federations. I'm pretty sure they won the team title at last year's Bench America meet.

I only took one decent picture of someone on a bench w. the PVC. I can probably upload that and post it here this weekend.

Guido
06-17-2005, 03:56 PM
That's pretty cool. I'm going to try to incorporate some of those techniques into my bench days and see how they work out.

chris mason
06-18-2005, 09:14 AM
This is a very interesting and savvy form of SPAM.

In fact, I respect the method so much I will allow it to stay.

Sensei
06-18-2005, 08:16 PM
This is a very interesting and savvy form of SPAM.

In fact, I respect the method so much I will allow it to stay.

Is linking to another message board SPAM? I post at several boards and linking among them is never, as far as I know, questioned. If it's unwelcome, feel free to erase the link.


That's pretty cool. I'm going to try to incorporate some of those techniques into my bench days and see how they work out.

Guido, make sure to take your time with their methods. Moving your grip out and developing an arch are things that take time to do safely with heavier weights. As far as the elbows out thing goes, I totally don't agree with it but because I'm desperate after years of very little progress, I'm giving it some thought.

chris mason
06-18-2005, 08:23 PM
I assumed the board is your own that you have just started. I noticed it has very few members. If I am wrong feel free to correct me.

Sensei
06-18-2005, 09:03 PM
You're not wrong - we were at EZboard for over a year, but they recently lost 90% of all our posts and we ended up moving.

Like I said, I post at several boards and linking among them is not a problem. I just see it as sharing info, not a board loyalty issue. If it is a problem here, feel free to edit the link.

Nevermind, I'll just save you the trouble. OK?

debussy
06-19-2005, 12:46 AM
sensei is right about comparing federations.... for example the bench shirt gene rychlak is allowed to use is totally different from the single ply stuff they use in the ipf

chris mason
06-19-2005, 06:14 PM
You're not wrong - we were at EZboard for over a year, but they recently lost 90% of all our posts and we ended up moving.

Like I said, I post at several boards and linking among them is not a problem. I just see it as sharing info, not a board loyalty issue. If it is a problem here, feel free to edit the link.

Nevermind, I'll just save you the trouble. OK?

Hmmm, I think you are being a bit reactionary.

Yes, it is SPAM but I respected the manner in which you did it and did not edit it.

I meant what I said and was not being sarcastic.

Sensei
06-20-2005, 02:10 AM
It's no big deal. Call me sensitive but I just don't want people to think I posted it for that. Anyway, I appreciate that you didn't edit it and I didn't think you were being sarcastic.

Bench is my weakest lift and I think that some of the tips I got there might help. Only time will tell though.

Sensei
06-29-2005, 01:06 AM
http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a178/johnnymnemonic/68048ffd.jpg
http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a178/johnnymnemonic/7cbc74d0.jpg

fixationdarknes
07-02-2005, 08:17 PM
Dang that's such a crazy arch.

PhilsterT
07-02-2005, 11:35 PM
That's insane. I'm suprised it doesn't mess up your back.

Sensei
07-03-2005, 12:19 AM
The people at the gym I visited don't lift weights w. the PVC under their backs - it's used to loosen up and develop flexibility.

I tried that PVC that is in the pic - it's probably 6" in diameter and I don't think that I'd EVER be able to arch that much and keep my butt in contact w. the bench. Right now, I'm working w. a 4" diameter piece of PVC and it is HARD.

WillKuenzel
01-24-2006, 05:00 PM
What part of the butt is touching? It just looks like the very top of the hamstrings is touching and that's all. It just seems like it wouldn't quite work. I guess it does since it passes in the IPF but I'd just want a bit better explanation of what can pass or a few more pictures showing. I thought I had a crazy arch.

ArchAngel777
01-24-2006, 05:11 PM
When I started to bench I never arched. Once I started getting stronger, instead of placing my feet on the ground, I would left them up and bench my max that way. Everyone said arching helps, well, not for me. I could do 325 with my feet in the air at 17, and probably would have trouble if I tried to arch.

I HATE arching for BP! :D

Just my personal experience... Others swear by it.

Good information Sensie! Awesome stuff... BTW, perhaps benching the way I did wasn't so good afterall? My cuffs are killing and I am trying to rehabilitate my BP. Pretty sad when my Incline Bench is higher than my flat bench... But, that is due to joint pain.

KevinStarke
01-24-2006, 05:24 PM
at what weight when you were 17?

ArchAngel777
01-24-2006, 07:06 PM
I was 190 @ 12% or so BF.

KevinStarke
01-24-2006, 08:07 PM
325 with your feet in the air, can you still do that by any chance?

ArchAngel777
01-24-2006, 08:10 PM
325 with your feet in the air, can you still do that by any chance?

Heavens no! I am only on month three of a 6 year lay off. Feet in the air like in a squat position, by the way. Hard to explain, I am sure you have seen it? Anyway, right now I could do about 250 max on bench... I hope to my cuffs heal up so I can start doing flat bench again.

Guido
01-25-2006, 10:14 AM
Heavens no! I am only on month three of a 6 year lay off. Feet in the air like in a squat position, by the way. Hard to explain, I am sure you have seen it? Anyway, right now I could do about 250 max on bench... I hope to my cuffs heal up so I can start doing flat bench again.Hope you had side spotters. That sounds downright dangerous. I could see how if you came up with the bar uneven you could end up easily falling off the bench. That goes against every peiece of benching advice I've ever seen that recommends having as stable a platform as possible with your feet driving into the floor and as high an arch as possible.

Have you ever tried it that way for a while? I guarantee you would have better results and it would be a hell of a lot safer.

KevinStarke
01-25-2006, 10:36 AM
haha yah 1 little tilt of the weight and down you'd go.

ArchAngel777
01-25-2006, 11:00 AM
haha yah 1 little tilt of the weight and down you'd go.


Actually, it is not as dangorious as you might think. It isn't anymore dangorious than doing BB lunges, IMO.

But on a side note, yes, balance was the key. Doing the bench press the way I did always ensured I was using proper force with each arm. I never had a problem benching this way... I would use a spotter if I went over 295.

But what reason would there be for the weight being unbalanced? If the weight is unbalanced, you either blew a shoulder out or you are too weak on one arm. In either case, not much you can do if your legs are on the floor. In fact, I would think falling off the bench would be safer than having the weight slam down on your neck/chest while you strangle to get it off, if possible.

But anyway, you should try it sometime. I am one of many who actually bench this way. If anything, it demands perfect balance, which is something you want, IMO.

You may not be able to compete on a national level or with your peers who do it the other way, but then again, who cares? Just my opinion on it.

KevinStarke
01-25-2006, 03:03 PM
For speed bench I sometimes put my legs in the air but theres 0 reason to do it when going heavy.

ArchAngel777
01-25-2006, 03:29 PM
For speed bench I sometimes put my legs in the air but theres 0 reason to do it when going heavy.

Right, for you being a Power Lifter and training for your specific goals, there is no reason to have your legs in the air. Have to train for your sport and goals is what I say.

Sidior
03-07-2007, 11:07 PM
What part of the butt is touching? It just looks like the very top of the hamstrings is touching and that's all. It just seems like it wouldn't quite work. I guess it does since it passes in the IPF but I'd just want a bit better explanation of what can pass or a few more pictures showing. I thought I had a crazy arch.

bump, was hoping for an answer to this question

Clifford Gillmore
03-08-2007, 03:44 AM
Looks like that is simply flexibility training Sid, the comp arch I guess would be no where near as insane.

Sensei
03-08-2007, 06:48 AM
bump, was hoping for an answer to this question
Check the rulebooks of the respective feds if you want a solid answer. I don't know the wording, but I've seen that style of bench in every fed I've ever watched, participated in, or seen pics of.

I agree that it's a really fine line whether any piece of arse is actually touching the bench or not...

smokinHawk
03-08-2007, 07:18 AM
ya the last bench competition i went to I and 2 other people got red flagged cause of that, the bottom of the hamstring, and perhaps the lower part of the butt was touching, but since the back of the butt wasnt touching us this one judge flagged us. It really depends on the judge on what he considers acceptable, or the rule book, its sometimes a grey area depending on how they interprete the butt must stay on the bench.

Sensei
03-08-2007, 07:21 AM
Was this a local meet?

smokinHawk
03-08-2007, 08:12 AM
yes, no federation or anything

Sensei
03-10-2007, 11:36 AM
You should find more consistent judging in a reputable fed...