Be Weary of Benching PR’s
by Christian Duque
The bench press has become an exercise of mythical proportions. The pro’s & con’s are pretty mind boggling. For example, the extent of damage that a lifter can cause to his/her pectorals & deltoids can be astronomical for a questionable muscle growth in return. The flat bench itself is clearly inferior to its upright, much less popular upright counterpart, & more often than not the lifter is going beyond the advised range of motion, assuming it’ll translate into more gains. The poundage employed will also come with certain bragging rights. The more one lift – irrespective of form – gains credibility with many gym-goers & groupies. A 120lb pipsqueak who can bench 225 will make heads turn, even if his spotter is heaving 60% of the weight and the poor kid is changing colors, screaming, and using terrible form. In the end, all that will matter, is that he lifted 225.
In writing this entry, my hope is not to crap on the bench press. If used correctly, with moderate weight, & with proper range of motion, it’ll definitely earn its keep among other chest training exercises; however, pride has to be left at the door. If someone asks you if you work out & you answer in the affirmative & the next question is “how much do you bench?” Simply look at them & give them a low-ball number. Remember friends, we lift to improve our health, not to impress others.