So whilst I was looking for content to put in this I came across an article that said “11 undeniable benefits of the bench press” so naturally being into functional movement I could not resist a look!

1)  It helps increase upper body push strength
Ok so that’s right, BUT FOR WHAT?? Honestly when was the last time you had to lie on you back and push something heavy off? That’s right when you woke after your last one night stand and realised you had the beer goggles on!
We don’t lie down and push things upward in real life. You stand to push a door open, a removals person stands to push a heavy object along, you stand to push your broken down car. Just a few of examples of why our primal push patterns are not based upon lying on your back in the gym, having an ego trip with your mates on who can Bench more. Push strength is based upon your core strength, it’s the piece that’s ties your upper and lower body together. If the Bench press develops upper body strength with a meaningful purpose then why can’t you shift the same amount when stood up? Why can I stand a client upright in front of a cable machine and put 10-15lbs of pressure on and they can’t “press” forward without falling back on their heels?

2) Predictor of upper body strength
Again for WHAT? I was lucky enough to train a Team GB American footballer, and the first thing he said was “I need to get my bench press stronger”. My response was “why?” “when are gonna grab your opponent pull him on the floor and press?” He looked at me with a blank expression on his face, but when I bought a landmine strength tool for him which mimicked exactly what he did on a pitch, his “Bench” went through the roof compared to before we trained! And yes we NEVER in a year of training did a bloody bench press.
He became stronger, faster and more explosive than he’d ever been. #jobdone.
My point here is that lying on his back loading weights onto a bar was NEVER going to increase his ability, NEVER going to make him hit harder, NEVER going to make his opponents fear going up against him. That year he got team GB MVP (most valuable player) Yeah I felt pretty damn good about helping get there, but more importantly helping him realise that the traditional meat-head idea of how much you can bench means NOTHING.

3) Bigger Pc Major!! WTF!!!
Seriously you gonna put that as a reason? Your gonna say that BIG PECS is a benefit of the bench press. WOW I think we need to go no further on this one what a joke.

4) Stronger Pec Minor
So the muscle that pulls down on your shoulder lifts your scapular off the rib cage, pushes your head forward, tightens range of motion through the shoulder joint. Yep totally agree it’s good to be strong, ALL MUSCLES SHOULD BE STRONG!!!!! But let’s face it how many people go to the gym, spend hours on their chest, then actually do any form of stretching or mobility work?? All that ever happens when people strengthen their Pec minor is as above, they tighten their shoulders, reduce range of motion in their shoulder joint, lift the scapular off the ribs and help cause a kyphosis (upper body hunch), and a rounding of the shoulders, giving that meat-head gorilla look. Which I guess may be of benefit if you want to get that drag your knuckles on the floor look!

5) Shredded Serratus Anterior
Shredded that’s about right. Take the average bench presser to a chiropractor, Physio or the like and see if they can pass a manual muscle test on the Serratus muscle. The more the Scapula gets pulled away from the ribs the more the Serratus gets weakened. The “shredded” look comes from being super strict on your diet, yeah the bench will work the Serratus but let’s be honest you can do a thousand crunches a day and you’ll still never see your “6 pack” till you strip away the fat hiding it.

6) Iron forged Delts!
Really? Seriously? OMG, Again how many people do any form of stretching or mobility work after the Monday / Friday / Saturday night pec workout (Mondays the gyms busiest night so lots of girls to see you looking PUMPED) (Friday / Saturday = out on the town and tight t-shirt / Vest night, again for the girls) which let’s face it probably brings us back to the start of this blog, about needing your push strength in the morning after you wore your beer goggles the night before!!!!! How many guys do you see walking down the street or in the gym with shoulders 6 inches in-front of their chest because their pecs are sooooooooo tight the shoulder is being dragged forwards? Iron forged delts look great let’s be honest, but if you’re not doing your flexibility / mobility work after your workout, your “iron forged delts” will just give you that rounded shoulder Gorilla look. Add the mobility and you’ll have wide swimmer looking Delts with an awesome tall confident looking posture.

7) Crazy strong Triceps that’ll make your arms look great!
Really, the Triceps help push yeah, but their so small compared to the combination of your pecs and deltoids, you’re really not gonna notice anything unless it’s a super tight close grip press, by which time your delts have probably given out and that’s the only reason your Triceps are kicking in. Make your arms look great? Let’s face it unless you specifically tense your Tricep (in which case you best be on stage in a pair of budgie smugglers in a competition, or your just looking a D**K trying to get a girls attention) It’s the bicep that’s gonna get all the attention, The Guns!

8) Look great in a T-shirt!
So that’ll be the ridiculously tight one your wearing to get everyone’s attention right. The one that says “Look at me I’M SOOOOOO IN LOVE with myself” “I have an ego the size of a planet” But actually if you look a little deeper means “I have NO self-esteem, no real confidence and this is all a show to cover it up” Yep don’t get me wrong I’ve been there, zero confidence, couldn’t talk to a girl if my life depended on it, so I’d hang out with other muscular guy’s in tight t-shirts thinking it’s what the girls liked. When actually, most of the polls say, the girls think guys flashing their pecs and biceps in tight t-shirts are the last type of guy their looking for! So looking great in a t-shirt is a benefit then is it?

9) Improved bone health!
Yeah finally found one that’s good. Any weight bearing exercise will help with bone density, and that’s always a good thing as we get older to help negate such things as Osteoporosis. What will help even better though is FUNCTIONAL load bearing exercises, Exercises that require multiple changes of directions and movement under load. Not only increasing physical, but more importantly neural strength. The brain runs EVERYTHING, without it we don’t function, so an exercise such as the bench press that requires minimal neural input really doesn’t do a great deal for you.

10) Great Instagram videos!
Ok so I’ll warn you now, 10 and 11 are ridiculous and yes I appreciate / hope the people that wrote the article are not being serious, but doing a heavy bench press on Instagram will get about as much interest from the average Joe as watching paint dry. So as for filling your feed, probably not

11) and here it is the most ridiculous one of them all!!! Epic Pec dances!!
Ok so the author of the article admits this one isn’t serious but apparently it’s a cool perk!! Guess we’ll let them have that one!

James Tilly,
Mind Body Personal Training, Creating Amazing

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