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Thread: Bench press and back strength

  1. #1
    Wannabebig Member KristianT's Avatar
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    Bench press and back strength

    This may be a stupid question but how linked, if at all, is your bench press with your overall back strength. I have been training for several years now and I have always noticed that I tend to break a benchpress plateau very close to breaking a plateau of a major row such as a bentover row or tbar row.

    Could it be that at those times I was just growing in general, so my chest and back both broke plateus because of the extra mass or is there something else going on. Does a strong back provide extra stability and control on the way down which could give you a better drive on the way up?

  2. #2
    Administrator chris mason's Avatar
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    A strong upper back can definitely help your bench, yes.


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  3. #3
    Moderator Matthew Bryduck's Avatar
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    I second what Chris mentioned in his post above. I would definitely add some upper back/lat work to your training if you haven't done so already.

  4. #4
    Cardio bunny Alex.V's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KristianT View Post
    Does a strong back provide extra stability and control on the way down which could give you a better drive on the way up?
    Yes. Also, try this. Put your arms out, bent, as if you were at the bottom of a bench. Now, flex/contract your lats, HARD. Note what they do to your upper arm. If your elbows are anywhere further back than the midline of your chest, lat contraction helps bring them forward to that position. When you drive the bar off the chest, your lats are actually considered a prime mover for the first few inches. Note if you're exceptionally barrel chested, they do much less, though they're still critical for stability.
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  5. #5
    Wannabebig Member Bortnasty's Avatar
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    One goes up while the other goes down I have learned over the years. I used to work on benching as much as I possibly could and training for that 1 rep max, so I would enforce the wide grip which used my back muscles to increase the weight and push. But for bodybuilding I found out that I really didnt develop my inner and upper pecs as well because I wasnt isolating my chest exercises, whereas my back became massive. So then I had to start building my chest up to keep symmetry.

  6. #6
    Senior Member tmor6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bortnasty View Post
    One goes up while the other goes down I have learned over the years.
    Thanks for sharing your experience, different things work for different people, but I have to disagree completely with this. I'm not aware of any physiological/biological/or training programs that would support that conclusion.
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  7. #7
    Administrator chris mason's Avatar
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    I think he is just saying that his trained was focused in such a way that built his back and not his chest. That could certainly happen.


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  8. #8
    Senior Member tmor6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chris mason View Post
    I think he is just saying that his trained was focused in such a way that built his back and not his chest. That could certainly happen.

    Ah, I see. If that's the case--due to a training program--I agree. I thought he meant it's one way or the other. Thanks for clearing it up, Chris.
    Last edited by tmor6; 01-17-2013 at 10:34 AM.
    6'1"/203 (down 12 pounds since 5/2012)
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