I understand its for forward drive from the chest but why is it always barbell bench when dips and dumbell bench have far superior pectoral fibre recruitment and less emphasis on the delts and triceps?
maybe because you dont want to have to work out ur pecs THEN your delts THEN your triceps individually…
its more about upper body strength than specifically pecs of steel
having said that, im sure someone will now come along and contradict me totally :rolleyes:
come one, come all
THink of it in different terms. General neural adaptations* to strength training cross over to ALL movements. Bench press is a useful exercise BECAUSE it is not overly specific. THis allows it to be performed closer to the peak competition, to stimulate the nervous system without causing muscular fatigue in the prime movers…
Please see my article, ‘An arguement against specificity in strength training’
- Increased ‘central drive’ that increases motor unit recruitment and rate coding
David -you say that general neural adaptations to strength training cross over to all exercises.
I wonder what the source of this view is? For example, in wrestling I have never found neural adaptations to strength training (which I define as the ability to lift more weight without hypertrophy) to be significant for on the mat strength and certainly not if the wrestler is experienced in exerting force through his existing muscle mass.
In this particular context, my own observation is that neural adaptations are highly movement specific.
Adaptations can be both general and specific (my article outlines both).
Olympic lifters for example, display strength in exercises that are not closely related to those they do in training, e.g. bench, curls, pull ups etc. I appreciate it’s a hard issue to understand and accept but experience shows it to be the case.
My freind rolled Brazilian Ju-Jitsu with someone he knew who powerlifted. I believe he was 165 and could bench 365, but don’t qoute me on that. My freind who is not very strong said he was very suprised how weak the guy who could bench 365 felt on the mat. My freind is about 170-175 and he isn’t even in that could of shape but he has good technique. Mabye the more complex the movement and more coordination involved the less general strength training has a cross-over effect.
Sorry David but I don’t accept it, as my own experience is that it is not the case.
I will accept that the ability of Olympic lifters to lift more weight may transfer to their ability to lift more weight in non OL movements (in the absence of hypertrophy) if this is something that you have observed but I think that most of the studies on transferability are against you as is indeed my own experience.
I really do incline to the view that neural improvements are movement specific and while there may be some cross over in the general activity of lifting weights I will need a lot of convincing that it extends much further.
Peter, Fine. It serves no purpose to continue a verbal tennis match especially since I have no peer reviewed literature to DIRECTLY support my claims. You should know however that it is Charlie’s theory and him who explained it to me some time ago. Indeed, I was very dismissive initially much like yourself so I understand your resistance. Please do however use the search engine to locate Charlie’s opinions.
Also: See research on cross adaptation when training only one limb.
Someone can have the strength but not know how to use it, once they learn how to use the strength and direct it in the right angles and in the right coordination then they will seem strong wrestling wise. The strength is their it just needs to be tapped. Non-specific exercises strengthing the body and the ability of the nervous system to exert force you just need to practice the sport and become skilled at it to make use of the strength that can come from weightlifting. In weightlifting you want to do the exercise that will strengthing the body and the nervous system the most while not detracting from the practice and skill work related to the sport. The skill is the most important as it allows you to make use of your body’s capabilities. You can have all the strength in the world but if you have no idea how to use the strength or coordinate your body your screwed. Damm that’s basically Charlie’s theory in a nutshell.
Something to think about
“Improvement in the efficiency of movement should increase linearly with strength if they are performed simultaneously and correctly.” (QnA @ elitefts).
So, Looking at the BJJ guy. He won because he was more skilled. Now had the PL’er been training in BJJ during the course of his development of such a large bench press then he would have won. In other words, If they were of equal skill, the stronger athlete would win.
Essentially this would support DavidW’s Idea…
I mostly agree with your general argument. Unless the exercise has some relevance to the chosen sport then it is rather useless. That is why people who are strong often get smashed in sports by much weaker rivals. The specificity of sport in this day and age demands nothing less.
I can give numerous examples where one would think that an individual is well equipped to do well yet reality proves otherwise.
Bill Kazmaier, who still holds the IPF powerlifting total record, got shoved out of a sumo wresdtling matches by footballers that were much lighter than him (100 pounds). Now there are those who that will argue that if he had practised the movement more he would have won. The fact is that he could not make it as a top footballer from previous tries. He probably did not have the necessary athleticism or skill.
Even yesterday in ordinary interclub, a javelin thrower threw much less than his previous best (8 m) although recently doing a personal best in the power clean.
This is why I constantly argue that the only tests that matter have to be related to the sport itself. It is great to have a great standing vertical, or power clean, or bench press, but unless the chosen sport performance improves the other skills have been a relative waste of time. I am yet to be convinced that a bench press has any relevance to running but it sure helps you look good on the track. Just because top sprinters may have big benches does not make that exercise an essential ingredient to success. If it did, then Carl Lewis or Kim Collins would never have become 100m champions.
Good article David
2 fine example of athletes that are comparitively slow to 20m.
Big numbers in general gym work (upper and lower body) really only directly help to about 20m, BUT when everything in training is correctly integrated and phased they have a positive effect over the entire race.
Cause and effect are not instantaneous. This is one of the biggest mistakes of coaches (and athletes) and forms a line in the sand that one must mentally cross if ever to move closer to the ranks of a master coach.
David-what you refer to a verbal tennis match is of course what goes on all the time on this forum and elsewhere and I would rather refer to it as an open exchange of views.
I am not committed to defending a specific position but I am interested in discussing a topic about which i have thought a lot and in respect of which I have had many years practical experience in observation and coaching. Accordingly when you made you assertion I was curious as to whether you were basing it on any studies or personal observation.
Charlie may have a theory but in my own sport it is not one which appears to be supported by the evidence and I have to say that most of the studies I have read do not support him either. Of course I am totally pragmatic about training and if this is something which is of use for sprinting it would be foolish to disregard it because there are no studies in support.
Terminator 2 and 101 pro-the point being made is not one of learning how to use your strength or whether all things being equal the stronger athlete will win: I do not take issue with either proposition. However,the question is whether neural improvements in lifting weight will in the absence of structural changes/hypertrophy cross over to non related movements. In a nutshell the problem is that of Spartacus’ javelin thrower or in my own sport does improving bench from 200 to 225 without hypertrophy result in significantly more mat strength assuming that you are already practised in exerting force with your existing muscle mass?
Peter what sport are you referring too?
Also what would you list as a preferred exercise in place of bench? (Just curious)
If there’s no cross-over to strength for wrestling, how can you find enough exercises to cover all the different angles you must deliver strength from?
If a strength program is to deliver higher specific output than that achieveable by specific wrestling itself, by general means, I can’t think of a better example than wrestling, for, if this wasn’t possible, there couldn’t be enough exercises to cover your needs, and, even if there were, no strength program could be effective with so many lifts!
“Terminator 2 and 101 pro-the point being made is not one of learning how to use your strength or whether all things being equal the stronger athlete will win: I do not take issue with either proposition. However,the question is whether neural improvements in lifting weight will in the absence of structural changes/hypertrophy cross over to non related movements. In a nutshell the problem is that of Spartacus’ javelin thrower or in my own sport does improving bench from 200 to 225 without hypertrophy result in significantly more mat strength assuming that you are already practised in exerting force with your existing muscle mass?”
There are too many issues to address here. For a wrestler weight classes are an issue correct. So hypertrophy may not be an option. Next, If what you are saying is correct, why lift weights at all? From your statement the only adaptations to wteight training that are applicable to sport would be hypertrophy. Once you build yourself up to a weight class then you would just need to practice your sport. Obviously this would be a short sighted approach.
What would you use to train a wrestler? In reality no movement would be specfic enough to warrant addition, or as charlie said you would have too many movements.
Are you suggesting that strength can only be advanced during the hypertrophy phase? What happened to the maximum strength phase? That’s where recruitment is advanced- not cross section.
I can see what he is getting it, and it isn’t quite cut and dry either way.
Sometimes you get gains in an exercise because you are so “skilled” in it, that doesn’t transfer over to other movements that use the same musclegroups.
Now will an increase in 1RM from working with sets at 70% moved accleratively for sets of 3 carry over better than an increase in 1RM resulting from work in the 85-90% area moved a lot more slowly?
Both increase strength, but via slightly different means, and the neural adaptions are different in flavour.
And what if one increases 1RM with HIT like methods, how does that transfer over vs more explosive methods, even though 1RM has increased in both instances?