There is a huge variety in benches seems like when it comes to competitions and I feel like it makes a pretty significant difference.
The padding material, the covering, height off the floor (which should be standard in my opinion) as well as recently the width of the pad.
Now, most of the meets I do use a Forza or similar so I had a bench made that is pretty much a forza except it's a walkthrough bench and has band pegs for added training versatility.
And obviously at Westside we have several forzas so the change to a meet situation isn't all that drastic.
However it wasn't always that way for me in years past when training. I'd train off of benches that were too narrow, too short, too tall, very slippery, whatever.
I guess at the time I felt like it wasn't a big deal. Because I'd go to meets and the bench would feel fantastic and my performance would reflect that. That said, I wondered if the opposite were true, that training off of lesser quality benches was really effecting my ability to train optimally?
I'm not talking about a forza vs a spf bench (same thing really) or even a metal militia bench vs forza. I'm talking about crappy commercial gym stuff where the measurements are way off.
I would assume the difference would be even greater for those of you who compete in the USAPL. Those ER racks are really not bench friendly (least in my opinion) with how thin the pad is and the covering material.
So what do you think, does using lower quality equipment (equipment less than meet quality) help you train or does it confuse and inhibit optimal training?
I think as long as you have access to comp standard benches, lifting on substandard benches is great. It makes me really appreciate a good bench.
I've never trained and still don't train on competition style benches. When I trained in a shirt, it was very hard for me to touch. Mainly because I would slide down and flatten out...bad! Then I would go to a meet and touch no problem. Since I've been raw, I really haven't noticed much of a difference.
Since I train at home most of the time, I don't have space for a comp bench, so I train in the rack. Does anybody know a good comp bench I can inside my rack?
Ill never not use one again. I always hated the YMCA type hammer strength crap. I though they were just a accident waiting to happen. When I tore my shoulder up on one it just proved me right. Only screws with vacations and stuff. I just plan them as deload weeks now.
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Travis, I felt like it helped me hit PR's.
I have a forza and an in-shape bench. The in-shape pad is similar to the ER rack pad. I definitely prefer the forza, but it's nice to have one similar to the ER rack if a meet will have it.
I benched on a bench with the Donnie Thompson pad once. That thing is ~5" thick and makes the bench a lot higher. It's also wider. It messed with a lot of people's setup if you weren't used to it.
Yeah I hate the ER pads.
But I guess you have to adjust when a meet calls for one.
Very few gyms have the actual ER rack. I managed a gym for awhile that had one. Took like 3 months to get here from time of the order. Those things are almost the price of a monolift lol.
And I would always use a competition bench if available. Most of the time I do, or one very similar. Most important to me is the pad being wide enough. I don't really care about anything else, but the pad definitely helps so my shoulders feel better when benching heavy.
Best competition lifts:
650lbs. raw squat
435lbs. raw bench
580lbs. raw deadlift
1650lbs. raw total
The bench I've enjoyed using the most so far is an ER Rack attachment. I'm guessing you were suggesting it was too thin by width? I can see that, some of the other benches I've been on were really wide, but I'm only a 242 so it doesn't bother me. I can see a SHW having issues on an ER Rack. I personally never liked how padded and wide the benches that were solely used for benching were (eg Forza)
I have to use a crappy gym bench that is slippery, too short, and the J cups are too tall. It does bother me but I get over it, I'm guessing that it would be harder for someone to go from crap-> Forza than crap-> ER because ER is closer to a regular gym bench (except grippier) in the first place
I could probably get used to the thickness of the padding, although I prefer deeper padding, but the covering on the ER racks makes it super difficult to dig your shoulders into without slipping.
the vinyl they use on some of the forzas or the metal militia benches is outstanding in comparison.
Travis, do you know what kind of vinyl they use?
Training on sub par benches can lead to some bad habits for sure. We train on shit benches unforunately and i always have a hard time getting set up properly when shirting with heavier sets. With it being too low, its hard to get decent leg drive with tucked feet and an arch. Our team is pretty much exclusive to the RPS and Gene's bench is perfect. Being used to it, I can get right on it and get a nice tight setup and smoke my training attempts because of it.
As far as judging training off of comp numbers, i usually lower the bench numbers a bit because of the difference in training/meet numbers.
JERSEY IRON POWERLIFTING
Best meet lifts @220 840/650/575
Best meet lifts @198 775/575/630
Best Raw Lifts 650/415/575
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I prefer the rack for benching but now that I have access to an ER rack/bench i might use it 1 once or twice a month to get use to the thin pad since the rack one got the same dimensions of a Forza pad.
5'8" @ 204lbs
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I train on an elite bench with a fat pad and definitely notice the difference when I have to use a shitty globo gym bench. I'm curious if you think using a bench that is less ideal for competition is good for improving weakness (Kind of like not wearing the belt while squatting), or if you think it's just dangerous While training with maximal weights?
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