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Why Bench Presses Are The Best For Your Chest
  1. Bench Press Grip Guide: How Hand Placement Changes the Exercise
  2. Training for Size
  3. Chest Day Incline VS Flat Bench – My Fit Regimen
  4. Bench press

The bench press is one of the best compound workouts that help you to get stronger and gain more mass on your chest. There are many other ways to work your chests, such as the smith machine chest press, the pec-deck fly, or the cable chest fly. Sure, smith machine looks fancy. It also looks safer, easier, and you might be able to perform heavier weights with it. The study compared 3 different muscle groups that are involved in a chest press workout: middle delts MD , anterior delts AD , and pectoralis major PM.

Pec-deck fly is an isolation exercise. This exercise is insanely popular for many decades and is still believed by many people to be the best isolation workout for your chest. In fact, I incorporated both compound and isolation workouts into my 9-step shoulder workout guide.

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I used this combined approach because shoulder muscles are smaller than many other muscles in your body and respond well to isolation training. Another reason is safety. This study compared the activation level of three muscle groups: pec major, front delts, and triceps.

In this article, we will mainly discuss the difference between incline vs flat bench, and touch on the dumbbell press exercise at the end. This article is a great crash course for you if you are looking to use bench press to improve your chest physique and you should! When you are performing the exercise on a flat bench, you are doing the regular flat bench press. People generally think the incline and flat bench each target a slightly different set of muscles.

In fact, both of these presses target the same array of muscles. The difference here is the amount of activation. For most people, incline press is more difficult than a flat press. The pec major muscle is the largest muscle on your chest and is where the majority of your chest strength resides. For guys, the pec major muscle is the outter layer of the chest. For girls, the pec major is underneath the breast.

Since the pec major is a large muscle, we generally split it into three parts: the upper pecs, middle pecs, and lower pecs. Your pec minor muscle is the layer beneath your pec major, and it is a smaller muscle that is responsible for depressing your shoulder blades. The triceps brachii muscle are the three muscle on the back of your arms. Underlying the aforementioned universal mechanisms for force generation, the force produced by skeletal muscles is further affected by the following key factors: 1. Muscle elongation, 2. Contraction velocity, 3. Fatigue, 4. Muscle fibre recruitment, and 5.

Muscle fibre type composition. We explain each these in turn next. Both shortening or stretching the muscle from its optimal length for force production usu- ally its relaxed length tends to reduce active force from its peak over length by, respectively, excessive or insufficient actin and myosin filament overlap This means that the force a lifter can apply against the bar varies throughout the lift in a manner independent of leverage changes due to the biomechanics of the lift 21; Two components contributing to total force production T, black are shown: active A, blue and passive P, red.

Specifically, the ability of skeletal muscle to produce force decreases as the velocity of contraction increases. Maximum force is produced for rapid eccentric contractions, it is reduced for isometric contraction, and yet further approximately hyperbolically for concentric contractions. The typical force-velocity characteristic for an isolated muscle is shown in Figure 1 b. This decrease begins shortly after the onset of contractions 26 and its rate over time is dependent on the magnitude of force exerted and its duration 27; Fatigue is governed by a complex multi- factorial process which involves both central and peripheral factors 29 affected by changes to the central nervous system drive to motor neurons, muscles and motor units in use, neuromuscular propagation, excitation contraction cou- pling, intramuscular milieu, muscle blood flow, and substrate e.

Bench Press Grip Guide: How Hand Placement Changes the Exercise

No less important are neural factors. A single low intensity stimulus effects a twitch contraction of a small number of smaller motor units If the stimulus is repeated before the muscle relaxes a sustained contraction occurs; this is referred to as tetanic contraction. With the increase in the intensity of the stimulus, the number of stimulated motor units is increased too and pro- gressively larger motor units are recruited When a submaximal voluntary force is sustained and as fatigue accumulates, motor unit recruitment increases to maintain force output 34; While it should be noted that there are numerous ways in which muscle fibres can be categorized e.

Note that nearly all muscle fibres in a motor unit are of the same fibre type.

About the Bench Press

This is sometimes referred to as internal torque. A similar relationship can be written between the external resistive force e. By examining the terms on the right-hand side in Equation 3 it can be readily seen that muscular torque can be affected by changing either: i the force that the muscle produces, ii the angle between the direction of force and the distance from the point of interest chosen centre of rotation to the point at which the force is applied, and iii the point at which the force is applied.

Note that in the context of the present discussion in most cases the interest is on the torque around a joint effected by a muscle spanning that joint, in which case r is approximately constant, F is dictated by factors such as those reviewed in Section 2. Despite this observation the present research on sticking points is rather limited in its scope of consideration of different exercises.

Training for Size

Nevertheless, it is insightful to start with a look at the observational research on the sticking point in the three exercises which have attracted a significant amount of research. These are the bench press, the squat, and the deadlift. This helps place the problem under consideration in the context of actual resistance training practice, identify some of the key chal- lenges which need to be addressed, and illustrate the importance of sticking points in general.

It is widely employed for general strength and conditioning, as well as hyper- trophy. The bench press is performed with the athlete in a supine position, supported by a flat, horizontal bench. Traditionally, a straight free bar is used to impose resistance although different means are also possible using a variety of machines Humeral adduction is primarily effected by the action of pectoralis major, with a significant additional contribution from the anterior deltoid, and minor contributions from biceps brachii and coracobrachialis.

In addition, it is sel- dom noted that although unable to contribute to humeral adduction directly, triceps brachii does make this contribution in the bench press by virtue of the kinematic constraints imposed by the closed-chain nature of the lift and the extensor action at the elbow. Some of the earliest detailed analyses of the sticking point in the bench press were conducted by Wilson et al.

Chest Day Incline VS Flat Bench – My Fit Regimen

Their findings also provide a good example of the potential safety concerns associated with the sticking point which we noted earlier. In particular Wilson et al. Despite the small sample-size of 10 lifters having been used in this study, while the location of the sticking point was very consistent across the majority of the lifters the authors also observed that even at maximal efforts a number of lifters did not exhibit a sticking point.

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For these individuals the lift was in a sense uniformly challenging through the entire ROM suggesting that they could experience failure to complete the lift at any stage in the ROM. Subsequent work by Wagner et al. Specifically Wagner et al. They found that for the middle grip width the sticking point was found to occur at a greater vertical distance from the shoulder axis and lasted for a smaller percentage of the ascent phase The same phenomenon has recently been reported by Gomo On the surface this finding appears to contrast that of Wagner et al.

As we noted earlier, wide grip in elite powerlifters was associated with a lower sticking point location. However a closer look at the design of the two studies offers a potential explanation which resolves the apparent conflict of the findings. In particular in the study by Wagner et al. It is reasonable to expect that trained powerlifters, especially at an elite level, would have converged towards the grip that suits their body structure the best.

In addition, for those participants in the study of ol et al. Electromyographic muscle activity EMG and the activity pattern changes surrounding the sticking point region in the bench press have been studied by a number of researchers 8;9; The findings are consistent.

Bench press

Anterior deltoid, a major contributor to the lift as well, also shows strong activity throughout with a significant increase around and following the sticking point 9; A similar increase in the activity of triceps brachii has been reported by a number of authors 44;10 though the finding has not been observed universally 1.

Observations regarding the activity of biceps brachii appear inconclusive. Elliott et al. A possible reason for this discrepancy lies in the design differences between the two studies.

Close Grip Bench Press - GPS Human Performance

As noted earlier, the work by Elliott et al. In contrast, the work by van den Tillaar and Saeterbakken employed students none of whom had experience in competitive powerlifting and some of whom had as little as one year of bench press training experience 4. Considering the generally inferior position of the bar at the beginning of the concentric phase of the bench press observed in the exercise technique prac- ticed by powerlifters in comparison with the recreational training population, it is reasonable to expect a more significant activation of biceps brachii with this style in a more advantageous position to contribute to flexion around the shoulder joint. Notwithstanding significant biomechanical differences between different exe- cution styles — based on the width of the stance 46 , bar placement 47 , and the orientation of the knee flexion planes 48 , to name just a few — all variants of the squat involve synergistic hip and knee flexion in the descent to the desired depth, followed by knee and hip extension in the ascent which terminates with the lifter in the starting position 49; This makes the squat an exercise primar- ily aimed at training the muscles of the lower body, specifically the quadriceps femoris, hip extensors, adductors, and abductors 51 , though a much greater number is involved in various supporting roles such as stabilization Given that the resisted portion of the move- ment, the ascent, involves concentric actions of muscle groups with antagonist functions e.

Considering this complexity it is of no surprise that a sticking point has been repeatedly observed in the squat in numerous studies.