The Five Biggest Contradictions in Fitness
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The Five Biggest Contradictions in Fitness

It’s no secret that when people contradict themselves, it has the effect of making the flaws in their actions or statements seem glaringly obvious. But what about when WE ourselves get caught contradicting ourselves by someone else?

By: Nick Tumminello Added: January 6th, 2014
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  1. #1
    Wannabebig New Member
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    Could somebody give a noob a little advice about Bench Presses?

    Hey, thanks for reading this. I'm a 16 year old male, and I've been working out for about 2 years or so. I can Clean & Jerk my own weight (~132 pounds), Snatch 110 pounds, do 49 push-ups in a minute, and do 60 push-ups in one set (with 2 or 3 lapses in form). Even though I've been working out for about 2 years, I did my first Bench Press today. I'm too cheap to buy a bench, so I've been doing Floor Presses for the past 2 years or so. I've worked up to the point where I can do 10 132.5 pound Floor Presses in a single set (with difficulty). Today I finally figured out how to do Bench Presses without coughing up ~$100 for a bench...think sturdy wooden furniture. Even though I can do 132.5 pounds in a Floor Press as I've stated above, I only managed 115 pounds on the Bench Press today.

    My question is this: does anyone have any insight into why I find the Bench Press so much harder than the Floor Press? Will I make more neural connections in the next month or so and start to get a Bench Press on par with my Floor Press? Do I need to learn the intracacies of the motion before I can bench heavy weights? Or will I just have to get stronger? One more thing that might change things a little: I recently sustained a mild injury to a muscle in my left upper back (I think it was my left lats). It wasn't too bad, but it was bad enough so that at one point I couldn't bend my back or perform deadlift-like motions without serious pain. I've read that lats have a lot to do with getting the bar off of the chest, and getting the bar of my chest is my sticking point. After I get the weight ~1-2 inches off of my chest, the rest of the motion is very easy. Should I wait until my back is fully healed before trying Bench Presses?

    Thanks a lot! Sorry if I seemed like a total noob or an idiot.

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  3. #2
    Wrecker of Homes d'Anconia's Avatar
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    Floor presses don't usually get as big of a range of motion, plus you can rest at the bottom. Same reason why box-squats are easier than regular squats. You said it yourself that getting the bar off your chest is the difficult part.

    BTW how long do you estimate til your back will be fully recovered? What sort of injury was it?
    Anyway once you start training decently (assuming healthy back), I'm sure you'll see your bench press sky rocket.

    PS be careful with whatever you're using as a bench... it will have to be sturdy to support your weight and the barbell+weight, especially if you're going to be increasing the weight.
    ...........||High School||.....||July '05||.......||January '09||
    Bench.........225x1...............275x1.................?
    Squat...........?.......................?....................365x5
    Deadlift........?.....................315x5...............435x5
    Weight........180...................192...................185
    BF%.............?......................12.....................12
    Time to Get Ripped
    Pictures of Me

  4. #3
    Senior Member Doobs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by d'Anconia
    Floor presses don't usually get as big of a range of motion, plus you can rest at the bottom. Same reason why box-squats are easier than regular squats.
    If you're doing them right, box squats are harder than regular squats because it takes out the benefit of the stretch reflex.

    As described above, a full bench press should be harder than a floor press because of the decreased range of motion. Since you've been training the top of the lift for a while, I would definitely expect you to be weak at the bottom of the lift. You'll just need to work through it. Make sure you don't bounce it off your chest to compensate.

    As far as the back injury goes, it may or may not make a difference on your bench press. Does it hurt at all when you bench? If it were me I would just continue benching, maybe go a little light. It's always good to rest if you're injured though.

  5. #4
    Wannabebig New Member
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    Thanks; details of my injury

    Thanks a lot! I'll keep bench pressing and hope it starts to get better. In a lot of forums like these, I've seen people get flamed for asking noob questions, and I was kind of worried that might happen here. But it didn't, so thanks.

    The "bench" I use is sturdy and low to the ground (maybe about a foot or 1.5 feet off the ground). I know it's not the smartest idea, but it's not going to collapse on me.

    My injury: Remember that I said I could Clean & Jerk 132.5 pounds? I only just managed that a few days ago. About one and a half weeks ago, I tried it and failed. I couldn't get my arms fully extended and locked, which I believe is a requirement for the lift to be legal. Since I can't drop the bar on my floor, I have to lower it down myself, using my upper back to rapidly slow its decent just before it hits the floor. I normally don't Clean & Jerk that much, so I don't think my body was prepared to have 132.5 pounds pulling against my upper back, and I think that was when I got hurt. The injury was in my left lats, I think. I couldn't work out or attempt the Clean & Jerk for a week, and it hurt to bend my back for a couple of days. The bottom part Floor Presses hurt if I did them with enough weight. I know that lats have a lot to do with getting the bar off of your chest, and I noticed that my left arm was having more trouble than my right arm with the Bench Presses. By the time I did the Bench Presses, my lats no longer hurt, but I might still have been experiencing the residual effects of injury.

    Anybody have recommendations for free weight exercises for strengthening the bottom part of the Bench Press? Thanks for all the good advice.

  6. #5
    Senior Member KevinStarke's Avatar
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    Box squats are definitelly not easier than free range parallel squats if your doin em right. Floor presses are essentially lockouts with a pause at the bottem, definitelly a good exercise but dont try and compare it to full presses.

  7. #6
    Wrecker of Homes d'Anconia's Avatar
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    My bad, I haven't ever actually done box squats. For some reason I was just under the impression they weren't as hard as usual squats.
    ...........||High School||.....||July '05||.......||January '09||
    Bench.........225x1...............275x1.................?
    Squat...........?.......................?....................365x5
    Deadlift........?.....................315x5...............435x5
    Weight........180...................192...................185
    BF%.............?......................12.....................12
    Time to Get Ripped
    Pictures of Me

  8. #7
    Senior Member DNL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by d'Anconia
    My bad, I haven't ever actually done box squats. For some reason I was just under the impression they weren't as hard as usual squats.
    Hmm i was also under that same impression. Because whenever someone said he/she can't do atf squat, people usually suggest box squat haha.. see you learn something new everyday.

  9. #8
    Wannabebig New Member
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    Did some research...

    OK I did some research and I found out something kinda interesting about floor presses vs. bench presses. When you do a floor press, you can't use leg drive, so for some people it's actually harder. Most of the serious lifters who frequent forums like these have a floor press 1RM that is about 30 pounds less than their bench press 1RM. That doesn't apply to me because I don't know how to use leg drive. In my case, I think, number one, I'm not used to bench presses, and, number two, my chest is weak ;-( . As for box squats, I'm familiar with squats but unfamiliar with box squats, so I cannot comment. However, there is the possibility that box squats restrict your motion and isolate your muscles so that you can't use as many muscles in the lift. Thus, it could actually be harder than regular squats. Most everyone on this forum seems to think box squats are harder. If someone gave their 1RMs then we could find out for sure.
    Last edited by peteweez; 05-21-2006 at 05:50 PM.

  10. #9
    Senior Member HeavyBomber's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peteweez
    ...[clip]...If someone gave their 1RMs then we could find out for sure.
    My box squat 1 rep max is about 70 lbs. less than my regular squat max. Part of the reason is what Doobs said, the pause on the box takes away the stretch reflex. Another reason is I usually have the box set lower than what I would normally descend in a regular squat so it's not really a fair comparison I suppose.
    Last edited by HeavyBomber; 05-21-2006 at 07:30 PM.

  11. #10
    Wrecker of Homes d'Anconia's Avatar
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    I think Doobs hit the nail on the head with his comment on the stretch reflex regarding squats vs box squats.
    ...........||High School||.....||July '05||.......||January '09||
    Bench.........225x1...............275x1.................?
    Squat...........?.......................?....................365x5
    Deadlift........?.....................315x5...............435x5
    Weight........180...................192...................185
    BF%.............?......................12.....................12
    Time to Get Ripped
    Pictures of Me

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