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  1. #1
    Mr. Trenton is offline Associate Member
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    Flat Benching, necessary or Not?

    Hey, whats up everyone. I work in a fitness super store and we have a lot of bodybuilders that come in all the time. And I was talking to this one guy yesterday whose a junior national level competitor about chest workouts cause he's has an amazing chest. Anyway I was just asking him about his workout and what it consisted of and he told me he does incline bench, decline bench, flyes or cable crossovers and/or hammer strength decline or incline presses. And he says he does flat bench every once in a while. He also said that he switiches up the order of these workouts and sometimes dumbells and sometime barbell, which I already do with my workout. I asked why he doesn't do flat bench that much, and he said that there is really no need to do flat in every workout cause of the stress it puts on your joint, rotator cuffs, and front delts. But incline press does the same thing but he told me that you should only do flat once in a while. Now I don't know how good of a practice this is to do during your chest workout but it doesn't seem right to me, so I just wanted to ask all of you guys here if anyone thinks that his workout is good and if flat bench or flat dumbells press is a necessary exercise to perform in every chest workout? Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Warrior's Avatar
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    Based on EMG results for max motor-unit activation:

    Decline Dumbell Bench scored the highest response for recruiting the Pectoralis Major at 93%. Decline Olympic Bar Bench Press scored 89%. Push-ups between benches scored 88%. Flat Dumbell Presses, 87%. Flat Olympic Bar Bench Press, 85%. Flat Dumbell Flys - 84%.

    For Pectoralis Minor, Incline Dumbell Bench Press scored 91%. Incline Olympic Bar Bench Press, 85%. Incline Dumbell Flys, 83%. Incline Bench Press with a Smith Machine (surprising) at 81%.

  3. #3
    Rich8888's Avatar
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    Warriior that is good info...where did you find it?

  4. #4
    Warrior's Avatar
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    In Tudor Bompa's Serious Strength Training (1998) book.

    If you are not familiar with him - Tudor Bompa revolutionized western training with his principle of Periodization (developed in Romania 1963 and used heavily by the Eastern European Bloc athletes)...

    Almost done with that book and about to pick up his second edition of the same title He is deffinitly a good read.

  5. #5
    Mr. Trenton is offline Associate Member
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    So Warrior, given this information, do you think that flat presses whether they be dumbells or barbell, is a necessary chest exercise?

  6. #6
    trulyhuge is offline New Member
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    honestly, anyone who says "you have to bench in order to get a good chest" is a fucking moron!!! i know of a lot of people who never do bench presses(pro's and other people) and they have great pec development. i never flat barbell bench. i do dumbell flat presses if i do a flat press, or hammer strength. my favorite pec builder is incline db presses!

  7. #7
    Jack87's Avatar
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    Originally posted by trulyhuge
    honestly, anyone who says "you have to bench in order to get a good chest" is a fucking moron!!! i know of a lot of people who never do bench presses(pro's and other people) and they have great pec development. i never flat barbell bench. i do dumbell flat presses if i do a flat press, or hammer strength. my favorite pec builder is incline db presses!

    I will agree with you that after you have the size you can use other exercises to shape and refine your development, but I would bet money that any good bodybuilder has built his base from flat bench presses more then any other exercise bar none...

  8. #8
    trimunex's Avatar
    trimunex is offline Senior Member
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    Actually, there is an article in the most recent MD about Dorian Yates' view on this exact subject. He agrees that flat bench is not as good as incline or decline, because of the stress it places on the joints.

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  9. #9
    BullDogg20's Avatar
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    I swear By flat benchinh, when done with good form, its one of the best chest development exercises out their. for even better development try flat dumbell press, really isolates the chest

    your right dorion didnt use flat bench in his later years he still used a machine the mimic the flat bench only differance was he was sitting up.
    same basic movement just less stress i suppose.

  10. #10
    Red5 is offline Associate Member
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    I don't think you NEED to do flat bench.Incline press is the best along with weighted dips and flyes.Each to their own though, everyones different you just have to find what works for you.

  11. #11
    Warrior's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Mr. Trenton
    So Warrior, given this information, do you think that flat presses whether they be dumbells or barbell, is a necessary chest exercise?
    You recruit less muscle fibers as you become fatigued anyway. So working in multiple movements would still be great - including flat bench press since it is still proven to recruit the pectoral muscles. Flat Bench would still give free play for a second exercise under typical Positions of Flexion (POF) Training.

    If you were to rely on one movement - say for German Volume Training (GVT) - then this info would be great to pick the movement.

    But I usually start on a Flat Bench Press for POF because I know it so well. I can go heavy with it - no problem. Would I have better results starting with Decline Dumbells Presses for the larger pectoral muscle? Probably. Infact - I am rewriting my routine now because of this post. These posts help refresh me and keep us all learning right?

    I am going to work my GVT (light ) days for chest as Decline Dumbell Bench Press since it recruits more fibers....

    Unfortunatly I need my arms and delts to grow the most right now though... soooo I will be looking at redesigning them more based on the EMG Deltoid and Arm results.

  12. #12
    BigGreen's Avatar
    BigGreen is offline Anabolic Member
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    This has given my interest in EMG a bit of a rebirth as well, and my prompt me to switch some things in a few workout cycles I had planned for down the road. At any rate, here is the tudor bompa link for those interested in the abridged version:

    http://www.tudorbompa.com/emg.pdf

  13. #13
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    powerlifterjay is offline Respected Member
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    Like someone said above , you need to build a base with it if you have nothing from the start. But for bodybuilding i dont think its nessecary. YOu could probably build better chest development with out it. Of course i am partial to it cause i a do it as a pro. But in all honestly its not a must.

    But someone who says you do need isnt necessary a fucking moron!! What works for Dorian doesnt mean its gonna work for you. If so you would probably be doing his 1 set workout per body part he tried with Mike Mentzer!

    http://www.geocities.com/xdecieverx/pljay.html Thats 605!!

  14. #14
    brad fuel's Avatar
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    Bompa's book is definatley the best for periodization

  15. #15
    trulyhuge is offline New Member
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    powerlifterjay,
    flat barbell bench is not a necessity. it has to be the most overrated excercise in the book. for a lot of people, including myself, i get a better shoulder workout than a pec workout. bodybuilders need dumbells or barbell presses(incline or decline) to develop the desired chest

  16. #16
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    PLJay is one of the best in the business as his pics show. Experience deserves a friendly ear. I'm backing PL on this one for several reasons. You missed his point. What works for one does not work for another. Most PL vary the grip on the bar to keep attacking every weakness. Additionally, most now use bands, chains, and boards. This is his point if I am reading him right. Yes, the studies show x. But remember every study has a flaw especially when you are studing humans. Again, the question is centered around bodybuilders and most modern sculpters have gotten away from flat bench when their base is built. OK fine. In PL you must not only master the flat but you must do it with such precision and technique so that you can stay as injury free as possible and defeat the enemies, mind and gravity. Flat bench is an art, period. To wrap, I would say to flat or not depends on your level of development, your goals (BB vs. PL), and your personal growth from experience with the exercise. As always, just my .02.

    Oc
    Last edited by Ocnorb36; 11-02-2002 at 10:53 PM.

  17. #17
    trulyhuge is offline New Member
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    thanks for that lesson ocnorb. very educational!

  18. #18
    powerlifterjay's Avatar
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    I said it wasnt necesary. I guess i wasnt clear. But what i did say was if you are staring out and just getting involved with weight training then i would do it. But if you are just starting out and skipped it and did dumbells , you probably would get just as good a base built. I do know its not necesary for bodybuilding. Sorry if i didnt make that clear.

  19. #19
    Rugby13's Avatar
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    Originally posted by trimunex
    Actually, there is an article in the most recent MD about Dorian Yates' view on this exact subject. He agrees that flat bench is not as good as incline or decline, because of the stress it places on the joints.
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    I can't do any incline bench because it puts to much pain on my shoulder

  20. #20
    Mr. Trenton is offline Associate Member
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    ok, well thanks for the advice from everyone, its been really helpful and inforamative. I guess i'll just have to see what works best for me, you know. thanks again.

  21. #21
    Warrior's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Rugby13

    I can't do any incline bench because it puts to much pain on my shoulder
    IF this is a the case have someone wath your form next time at be sure that you use a low inlcline. Incline Presses do not need to be an exagerated inclined angle - about 30 degrees higher than flat.

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