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Thread: Bench Pressing in Japan

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  1. #1
    Senior Member Sensei's Avatar
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    Bench Pressing in Japan

    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!
    Last edited by Sensei; 06-18-2005 at 08:03 PM.

  2. #2
    HS Football D Breyer's Avatar
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    interesting how different benching is in japan...
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  3. #3
    Senior Member KevinStarke's Avatar
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    Thats some nutty stuff. I've seen pictures of japanese power lifters and yah their grip is crazy wide and that arch is nuts.

  4. #4
    IRL my name is Trent Hazerboy's Avatar
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    Have any pictures of that?

    Out of curiosity, do the japanese have higher bench records then the Americans/Europeans?
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  5. #5
    Senior Member Canadian Crippler's Avatar
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    http://www.usapowerlifting.com/newsl...worldsart.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.
    "I added some db curls with the pink weights for a bit of a burn." - Rookiebldr

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    "had a huge ass burn on my triceps while I was doing those kickbacks, so they'll likely be staying with my exercise program." - Zearoth

    "most of my burned calories coming from something called Basal. Wtf does a leaf have to do with any of it?" - Votorx

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  6. #6
    Back in business WBBIRL's Avatar
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    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.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Sensei's Avatar
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    Japanese Bench Pressers

    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.

  8. #8
    Breaker of Skulls Guido's Avatar
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    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.
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  9. #9
    Administrator chris mason's Avatar
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    This is a very interesting and savvy form of SPAM.

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


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  10. #10
    Senior Member Sensei's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chris mason
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by Guido
    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.

  11. #11
    Administrator chris mason's Avatar
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    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.


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  12. #12
    Senior Member Sensei's Avatar
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    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?
    Last edited by Sensei; 06-18-2005 at 08:04 PM.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Sensei's Avatar
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    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.
    Last edited by Sensei; 06-20-2005 at 01:11 AM.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Sensei's Avatar
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    pics



  15. #15
    eek... it's lil' Fixation! fixationdarknes's Avatar
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    Dang that's such a crazy arch.
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    I try to visualize that my girlfriend is under the weight and I have to push the weight up to save her. Of course it doesn't work and I just laugh as I think about the weight slowly crushing her bones. Then I remember it's me under the weight and give 200% effort to push it back up.

  16. #16
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    That's insane. I'm suprised it doesn't mess up your back.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Sensei's Avatar
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    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.
    Last edited by Sensei; 07-02-2005 at 11:19 PM.

  18. #18
    HomeYield WillKuenzel's Avatar
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    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.
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  19. #19
    Iced Earth - Stormrider ArchAngel777's Avatar
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    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!

    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.
    Last edited by ArchAngel777; 01-24-2006 at 04:13 PM.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Sidior's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HomeYield View Post
    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
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  21. #21
    Senior Member Sensei's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sidior View Post
    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...
    A child does not learn to squat from the top down. In other words, he does not suddenly make a conscious decision one day to squat. Actually, he is squatting one day and make the conscious decision to stand. Squatting precedes standing in the developmental sequence. This is the way a child's brain learns to use the body as the child develops movement patterns. Therefore, a child is probably crawling, rocks back into a squatting position with the back completely relaxed and the hips completely flexed, and stands when he has enough hip strength. This approach makes a lot of sense and can be applied to relearning the deep squat movement if it is lost. -Gray Cook
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  22. #22
    Senior Member KevinStarke's Avatar
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    at what weight when you were 17?

  23. #23
    Iced Earth - Stormrider ArchAngel777's Avatar
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    I was 190 @ 12% or so BF.

  24. #24
    Senior Member KevinStarke's Avatar
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    325 with your feet in the air, can you still do that by any chance?

  25. #25
    Iced Earth - Stormrider ArchAngel777's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KevinStarke
    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.

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