Charlie's discussion on value of bench pressing.

Charlie, in Boston someone mentioned the value of bench pressing to a sprinter and how it didn’t directly transfer to the event.
I thought you said it doesn’t directly transfer but stimulated the CNS and entire upper body when performed for reps in the low range. Was there anything else to the answer, I don’t think I heard the entire answer? Thank you.

But how about the bench press having an effect on foward arm swing with flexion of your pectorals and deltiods especailly when driving out of the blocks?

Also to some extent the triceps, as they are bi-articular-meaning that they help move the forearm up and down when doing say bicep curls, and move the elbow back with the deltoids when running???

The forward arm swing in sprinting is an unloaded movement. How well is its speed likely to correlate with heavy loads in the bench press?

The pectorals principally cause horizontal adduction (not flexion)

Yes Rob the triceps are bi-articular, the long head causes extension at the elbow and also assists in extension at the the shoulder.

Don - great to see you back man

Charlie’s reasoning is that neural adpatations in one movement range crossover to all other movement ranges. Pressing can therefore be used to stimulate the CNS without causing muscular fatigue in more specific muscle groups.

Certainly this arguement needs more clarification…

David has stated my case well. My reasoning for including the bench is that lifts can never be totally specific and a lift that can create a very high stimulus for 35% of the body’s motor units close to the competition date without any real effect on the muscles directly involved in the sprint is useful.
Lets look at a possible lifting scheme for the taper phase before a major multi-round competition. A stimulus can be created with 65% of the body’s motor units with a few squats near max 6 days pre-race- good, but not close enough for the stimulation to last until race day. A RE-STIMULATION of 35% of the body’s motor units via the bench press 4 days out will keep the stimulus effect at a high enough level to go through the races while still allowing recovery that the muscles directly involved will need to get through all the rounds. If the clean was used, it might be possible to stretch the last session back to 7 days using this same method, as the clean involves approximately 80% of the body’s motor units, though this would be entirely individual.

charlie, what is your opionion about dan pfaff’s statement?
pfaff state in a his interview that some better liftings in term of poundage are done some day before a word or olimpic final (as ben teach?)…
and that they seek to do some olimpici lifting the day before a meet, normally, 6-8 x 1- 2 rps above 90%1RM


The story of Ben doing a PB squat the day of (or day before) the race is a myth. He followed the plan described above with a bench press 4 days out. I would not follow the plan described by Pfaff, especially not 6-8 sets of 2 above 90% the day before the meet (unless the athlete’s lifts were incredibly weak). Did he really say this?

for the PR before an olimpic i refered about 184 kg in the bench 4 days before the heats in seoul and not a phantom squat in the warm up before the great final
Yes, the statements of dan are true! if you want i can write the part of the interview but is in italien…ok, you are some beautiful memories of the italy and specially rome but do yuo understand this language?

Here the statements:

" … Cerchiamo sempre di fare delle alzate delle alzate olimpiche il giorno precedente una competizione, normalmente 6- 8 x 1- 2 ripetizioni sopra il 90% del 1RM… alcune delle migliori alzate in termini di peso si hanno alcuni giorni prima di una finale mondiale e olimpica"


The bench PB occurred 4 days out (and was an accident as we’d intended to stop at 2x365. in fact, his lift was 2 reps at above 445 (202kg) as we weren’t familiar with the olympic plates and had 25kg instead of 20s and 15kg instead of 10s on the bar (plus the big clips)



Charlie - I think this theory is extremely interesting but it’s significance seems under appreciated by most…

Can you direct me to any literature? Can you give details of the no. of motor units stimulated by other popular exercises?

I don’t have any outside literature but Derek (No2) and I have set out a table of approximate muscle involvement percentages for various lifts and exercises for the new manual. (I’ll get Derek to send you an advance copy of the table). I’ve seen lots of info on intensities but I wanted to have a “multiplier” (though, of course intensity rises exponentially).

Activation patterns of velocity movements will make any value hard to compare, structural lifts and velocity lifts may overlap but to quantifiy MU and fiber totals is hard.

It’s worth taking a stab at though, if only to help you visualize what you’re asking the athlete to do in training. As they say, hindsight is 20/20- and that’s the beauty of verticle integration. You start off with the best assumptions you can but you soon have the hindsight to make the adjustments for the following weeks and meso-cycles.

If you use a traditional model you better be good, since their is no turning back and adjustments can ruin a peak.

Charlie, was that the graph on the overhead projector that had the clean and jerk at 100% MU and moving to the right a concentration curl at 5% MU? Can you ask Derek to send the graph to me as well? Thank you.

Isn’t it in the Forum review?

Il mio inglese è pessimo anche perché non lo studio da molto tempo, diciamo dal 1998 quando lo diedi all’università
Vivo in Sicilia, in un paesino della provincia di Siracusa.
Per quanto riguarda la mia frequenza su questo sito… beh, lo leggo spesso ma non scrivo molto anche per le mie difficoltà ad esprimermi
Ti ringrazio per il post che mi hai dedicato con la speranza di non aver tediato gli altri users!