Monday, February 25, 2013

Beefing the chest with John Bubb: should you do flat benches and declines? By John Bubb. Former NABBA Pro bodybuilder

Beefing the chest with John Bubb
By John Bubb, former NABBA Pro Bodybuilder

The flat barbell bench press is my favourite chest exercise
A lot has been said against the bench press
but it is still a great chest exercise. 

Mine has always been good old straight forward flat bench Bench Press. I wouldn't necessarily recommend it to a pure Bodybuilder who was training for contests and wanted a nice shaped chest with large high pecs - that's all about incline movements. But for pure enjoyment and self satisfaction there is nothing like the plain straight forward BENCH PRESS -for me anyway. Unfortunately at the gym where I train at the moment there is no Bench Press station, only the wretched Smith Machine which is too restrictive, so I haven't been able to practice my favourite exercise for several years. Yes, it's not only my favourite chest exercise, but my favourite exercise full stop. I used to really LOVE it - especially if I was doing 5 x 5 or pyramids. The satisfaction one gets from moving really heavy poundages out of proportion to ones body weight is second to none. I still believe that if you only did Bench Press, Squats and Dead Lift and nothing else, you could build a really good physique. They are the foundations of what it is all about. The compound movements that between them exercise virtually (I said virtually) every muscle in the body. In every gym in the world you can see skinny little guys doing endless arm exercises and very little else and getting nowhere. If they could only be talked into training like Power Lifers for a couple of years, concentrating on the basic compound exercises in good style, they would make so much more satisfactory progress and give themselves something to work with. I rest my case!!!"

Decline chest pressing and direct lower chest work: for or against?

I have been advising against decline chest exercises for years. If anyone asks me why, I always say, "Go ahead if it's your intention to develop a pair of MAN BOOBS." As I said in my original post above, if you are a competing bodybuilder or intending to compete, concentrate on the UPPER pecs. And as Veeraj says, you can't have too much of that. In my opinion and based on my experience, Incline Bench Press with D/bells is king. Another tip - If you are doing D/B Bench Press or Incline D/B Bench Press always use 2 spotters (or catchers as we used to call them). One to lift each D/B to arms length. If you can lift them from the floor on your own they are much too light and you won't get half the benefit. I see it every day in the gym where I train. Tough (they think) young guys literally wrestling a pair of D/B's into place. Sometimes one at the time. Sometimes lifting them up to their thighs, then struggling to get them aloft. All this wasted effort is losing them two or three reps from the actual exercise, to say nothing of the danger they risk by injuring a shoulder or dropping one or both of the D/B's on some vulnerable part of their anatomy. Another good tip is try to train in threes (2 training partners). This way you will always have two spotters available and if you all keep moving it will give you just about the right amount of rest between sets if you work one at the time.


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