Bench pressing advantage or not

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I went to the gym this weekend and noticed that a lot of people are busing bench pressing (either free weights or machines). Beyond the aesthetic look of bench pressing, is there another reason? Outside the gym, I enjoy playing golf and running. Is there a real benefit bench pressing beyond your weight?
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  • kshama2001
    kshama2001 Posts: 27,950 Member
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    I'm not really sure what you are asking - are you wondering about the benefits of bench pressing?

    https://www.healthline.com/health/exercise-fitness/bench-press-muscles-worked#benefits

    Bench presses are an exercise that can be used to tone the muscles of the upper body, including the pectorals, arms, and shoulders.

    Depending on your goals, there are different variations of bench presses that work slightly different muscles, too. For example, a narrower grip bench press also works the triceps and forearms.

    Other benefits of adding bench presses to your weight-training regimen include increasing upper body strength, improving muscular endurance, and even preparing your upper body to do movements like pushups. They also can be an effective strengthening exercise for sports like sprinting, hockey, and football.

    Read on to learn more about bench presses and how to get the most out of this exercise.
  • Lietchi
    Lietchi Posts: 6,156 Member
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    There are benefits to strength training, generally speaking. Only doing bench presses and no other strength training doesn't seem all that useful, honestly.
  • golfchess6
    golfchess6 Posts: 64 Member
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    Lietchi wrote: »
    There are benefits to strength training, generally speaking. Only doing bench presses and no other strength training doesn't seem all that useful, honestly.

    I agree 100% with you. I am surprised at how many people spend so much energy on bench pressing and ignoring the muscles that they would use during sports.
  • golfchess6
    golfchess6 Posts: 64 Member
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    kshama2001 wrote: »
    I'm not really sure what you are asking - are you wondering about the benefits of bench pressing?

    https://www.healthline.com/health/exercise-fitness/bench-press-muscles-worked#benefits

    Bench presses are an exercise that can be used to tone the muscles of the upper body, including the pectorals, arms, and shoulders.

    Depending on your goals, there are different variations of bench presses that work slightly different muscles, too. For example, a narrower grip bench press also works the triceps and forearms.

    Other benefits of adding bench presses to your weight-training regimen include increasing upper body strength, improving muscular endurance, and even preparing your upper body to do movements like pushups. They also can be an effective strengthening exercise for sports like sprinting, hockey, and football.

    Read on to learn more about bench presses and how to get the most out of this exercise.

    Thank you for the article and response.
  • goal06082021
    goal06082021 Posts: 2,130 Member
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    If what you want is to be really good at bench pressing, I guess you can focus on that. I know there are also published lifting programs that focus on bench/deadlift/OHP one at a time on different days.
  • heybales
    heybales Posts: 18,842 Member
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    golfchess6 wrote: »
    I went to the gym this weekend and noticed that a lot of people are busing bench pressing (either free weights or machines). Beyond the aesthetic look of bench pressing, is there another reason? Outside the gym, I enjoy playing golf and running. Is there a real benefit bench pressing beyond your weight?

    They are probably all on the same bro-schedule of 1 body part a day they read somewhere and just blindly following it.

    Hit the gym on a Mon and compare - that's an even bigger bro-scheduled day.

    As to why useful - a means to increase shoulder stability, balance to the potentially more often used back pulling muscles, aesthetics, functional.

    If you see the folks with slightly forwarded rounded shoulders - they likely need more attention the other direction probably.
  • goal06082021
    goal06082021 Posts: 2,130 Member
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    heybales wrote: »
    golfchess6 wrote: »
    I went to the gym this weekend and noticed that a lot of people are busing bench pressing (either free weights or machines). Beyond the aesthetic look of bench pressing, is there another reason? Outside the gym, I enjoy playing golf and running. Is there a real benefit bench pressing beyond your weight?

    They are probably all on the same bro-schedule of 1 body part a day they read somewhere and just blindly following it.

    Hit the gym on a Mon and compare - that's an even bigger bro-scheduled day.

    As to why useful - a means to increase shoulder stability, balance to the potentially more often used back pulling muscles, aesthetics, functional.

    If you see the folks with slightly forwarded rounded shoulders - they likely need more attention the other direction probably.

    Wednesday seems to be chest/push day around these parts, but you're probably right.
  • sijomial
    sijomial Posts: 19,811 Member
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    I can only give you my reasons for bench pressing and you would probably have to do a mini survey to find out other people's reasons!

    It's part of a balanced routine for me of push and pull exercises ​in the different horizontal and vertical planes, one of several basic compound lifts. I don't do a bro split but it can take a while to build up from warm up sets to my maximal working sets so if you only saw me benching you might think my routine was unbalanced.

    I can't push to the same level in the vertical plane as very heavy spinal compression upsets my injured lower back, but I don't want those injuries to limit all my strength.

    It's an efficient use of time as it works several muscle groups.

    As regards sports - for my current sporting focus it simply has no relevance but when I did a power sport (rugby) yes there were benefits in being far, far stronger than body weight strength. For your golf and running hobbies I don't see any cross training benefits to you compared to spending your time more productively.

    I also simply enjoy a lift that I can safely push to my maximum (once in a while) and one I've always been relatively good at. It simply makes me feel good that at 61 I can still lift the same weight I first hit when I was 18, enjoyment is reason enough TBH.
  • kshama2001
    kshama2001 Posts: 27,950 Member
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    Speaking of cross training benefits, I've found upper body strength training to be tremendously beneficial for my yoga and swimming, where otherwise my arms are way underpowered compared to my legs.
  • golfchess6
    golfchess6 Posts: 64 Member
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    heybales wrote: »
    golfchess6 wrote: »

    If you see the folks with slightly forwarded rounded shoulders - they likely need more attention the other direction probably.

    Very insightful observation. Thank you for the information
  • golfchess6
    golfchess6 Posts: 64 Member
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    kshama2001 wrote: »
    Speaking of cross training benefits, I've found upper body strength training to be tremendously beneficial for my yoga and swimming, where otherwise my arms are way underpowered compared to my legs.

    A lot of yoga (gymnastics) positions that I enjoy, the shoulder and back muscles dominate more than the biceps. I did perform a very sloppy and wobbly Crane the other day..but I was only able to hold it for 20 seconds.
  • golfchess6
    golfchess6 Posts: 64 Member
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    sijomial wrote: »

    I also simply enjoy a lift that I can safely push to my maximum (once in a while) and one I've always been relatively good at. It simply makes me feel good that at 61 I can still lift the same weight I first hit when I was 18, enjoyment is reason enough TBH.

    That is very impressive!
  • Chieflrg
    Chieflrg Posts: 9,097 Member
    edited August 2021
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    golfchess6 wrote: »
    I went to the gym this weekend and noticed that a lot of people are busing bench pressing (either free weights or machines). Beyond the aesthetic look of bench pressing, is there another reason? Outside the gym, I enjoy playing golf and running. Is there a real benefit bench pressing beyond your weight?

    There are many many benefits beyond aesthetics for all resistance training. Higher bone density, strength, lowering risk for disease, extending life, etc...I bench 4-5 × per week but hardly for aesthetics, it is specific to my goals and programming.

    For lift selection choosing bench is a more efficient way to train for some. Of course programming for the individual is a big part of how to achieve goals short & long term.

    I'm not sure what you mean "beyond your weight"?

  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 32,368 Member
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    A little different take: When I lift, my routine would look to others to be unbalanced toward upper body push, including bench.

    My sport is rowing (on water when possible, machine when necessary). It's all lower body push, upper body pull - thousands of reps per week at low but real resistance. I emphasize push in strength workouts to balance out somewhat, for injury risk minimization.

    That's not why most of the people in your gym do it, pretty sure. 😉
  • golfchess6
    golfchess6 Posts: 64 Member
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    Chieflrg wrote: »
    golfchess6 wrote: »

    I'm not sure what you mean "beyond your weight"?

    I am benching around 150 pounds (around my actual weight) and was wondering if there is a real benefit to going even more.
  • golfchess6
    golfchess6 Posts: 64 Member
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    AnnPT77 wrote: »

    That's not why most of the people in your gym do it, pretty sure. 😉

    A balance workout is important but I see a lot of people gravitating to bench pressing and not working on others. You are probably correct on your assessment in your last statement.
  • claireychn074
    claireychn074 Posts: 1,354 Member
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    I hate to be sexist here, but I do see a lot of men focusing on upper body and a lot of women focusing on glutes and lower body. So some may be focusing on bench for the bro-gains, but it could also be that they do their other powerlifts on other days (squat day / deadlift day).

    Having just been sexist, I do Olympic weightlifts so I’m one of those women doing endless leg stuff. Every single day is leg day for me! 😀
  • Onedaywriter
    Onedaywriter Posts: 324 Member
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    I bench about 1 time per week, and do variations another time or two (dumbell floor presses, push-ups etc). I believe benching is an important part of a well balanced approach.

    I was in a large chain type gym a few weeks ago getting a tour with my niece who later joined. It was my first time in quite a while in this type of gym. They had only 1 squat rack with 2 bars (35 and 45#) good stuff and a weightlifting area in front. Nobody was using it. They had a smith rack and numerous machines - most being used.

    But- they had 4 bench press stations (2 flat, 1 incline and 1 decline)- each with a line about 3 or 4 people deep. I asked the trainer giving us the tour why so many people benching and he told me it’s because “mirror muscles” are what the younger men want to work. He explained that their clientele was mainly either into cardio or entry level body building or in many cases both. The seemingly endless line of treadmills and ellipticals was pretty full.

    My niece is reluctant to start weightlifting without instruction and she’s not ready financially to pay a trainer, but she feels most of the machines are for isolation. So she’s been doing the “boot camp” type classes for now.

    So, from this one experience I think folks enjoy benching because it is viewed as a simpler movement and because it works muscles one can see.
  • KickassAmazon76
    KickassAmazon76 Posts: 4,570 Member
    edited August 2021
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    Some benefits I have seen for bench pressing...

    - lifts saggy boobs (or helps enhance the appearance of fullness)
    - bigger pecs make the belly appear smaller
    - helps if you have to push your car out of a snowbank / mud bog
    - great for when you need to shove your cranky teenager out of the house and off to school. (kidding) (sortof)
    - helpful if youre on the bottom when moving a dresser up the stairs, and then when pushing it down the hall (use towels under to prevent scratching)
    - depending on whether you engage your core and trunk during the press... helps with posture and back strength
    - helps you look ripped if you have saggy boobs (chest muscle striations distract from the fact that your boobs are near your waist - thanks kids)
    - works shoulders - I seem to be able to throw farther in baseball (not always a perk if your accuracy sucks)
    - works back muscles
    - makes you seem badass when you say "I bench 130". (just don't tell them it's in pounds).
  • kshama2001
    kshama2001 Posts: 27,950 Member
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    golfchess6 wrote: »
    kshama2001 wrote: »
    Speaking of cross training benefits, I've found upper body strength training to be tremendously beneficial for my yoga and swimming, where otherwise my arms are way underpowered compared to my legs.

    A lot of yoga (gymnastics) positions that I enjoy, the shoulder and back muscles dominate more than the biceps. I did perform a very sloppy and wobbly Crane the other day..but I was only able to hold it for 20 seconds.

    Yes, I said "upper body" rather than "biceps" :)

    I find stronger triceps extra helpful for Chaturanga and stronger shoulders for swimming.

    Keep practicing!