Is The Bench Press Overrated?

Tell someone you life weights and they’re going to ask you one question above all others, most likely. “How much do you bench?”

The bench press is considered by many to be the gold standard in strength. The NFL Combine actually tests the bench press, so you know it has to mean something, right?

When you look at training, even my own training program, it’s clear that the bench press is one of the most vital lifts out there.

Of course, the question we don’t ask but probably should is, “Is the bench press overrated?”

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Looks Versus Lifts: Thoughts On Strength Versus Aesthetic

Back in the day, it seemed like everyone who trained did bodybuilding-like training. I know when I was in high school, college, and the Navy, all of my training was bodybuilding training because, well, I didn’t know any better.

Those were the days before the internet.

That meant if you wanted to train, you tended to grab books like Arnold’s Encyclopedia of Bodybuilding or magazines likeĀ Flex orĀ Muscular Development.

Not only that but the public’s perception of “strong” generally meant looking like Arnold or Stallone. It was the way we thought of people who were strong and tough.

Why else do you think Dolph Lundgren or Jean Claude Van Damme came to prominence?

But today, we know a whole lot more. We have access to information we couldn’t imagine back then. Hell, I didn’t even know “powerlifting” was a thing in those days.

Which leads me to ponder: Should new athletes focus on looking good or just being strong?

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Stop Your Bellyaching And Start Training

I love my son. I really do.

I’m proud as hell of the kid, too. He’s smart, he’s funny, he’s got a lot going for him in this world.

However, I have to be honest, too. He’s lazy as hell.

It’s frustrating, too, because he’s like a lot of people in his generation. He doesn’t like being overweight, but he’s willing to do absolutely nothing to change it. Nothing at all.

At this point, I’ve lost about 30 lbs. That’s nothing to sneeze at, and it means I may know a thing or two about getting the weight off. At least at the start. Especially since at this point about six or seven years ago, I did it then too.

But nope.

So many of his generation want to bellyache about their lot in life instead of getting off their asses and start training.

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Are We Training Incorrectly?

A while back, on one of Joe Rogan’s podcasts, he had an MMA trainer on the show. I don’t remember the guy’s name, but I remember the trainer commenting that something he does with his guys is that their everyday training is kept around 70 percent. The reason for that is so they can train every day.

He went on to criticize Crossfit for overtraining people by pushing for a maximal effort in each and every workout, which sparked Crossfitters on YouTube to lash out and a whole bunch of things like that.

But the comment itself stuck with me. It stuck with me because I thought about what I already knew about the evolution of man and some stuff I wrote about some time back.

The reason it stuck with me is that I think the guy is right and most of us have been and still are training incorrectly.

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With Renewed Focus

Today, I was back at the training. It was my first real day of lifting since this time last week, and I was eager to get after it today. Especially since I now have a whole new respect for the need to embrace strength and conditioning.

After all, I needed every ounce of it I had yesterday.

There are no real wrong answers to the question, “Why do you train?” However, there are some I consider a bit nobler than others. One example of that is being able to handle anything life throws at you, including a hurricane, being now right up near the top.

The fact that I, a middle-aged fat guy was able to outwork my 17-year-old son despite the relatively limited nature of my conditioning training is particularly telling.

So today, I hit the weights with a renewed focus and a strong desire to make myself even more than I did before.

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Rock You Like A Hurricane

Today, I trained in a hurricane.

No, really, I did.

You see, I am slap dap in the middle of the track for Hurricane Michael. That’s not even a little bit of hyperbole. I’m 100 percent certain that I’ll be in the middle of its eye.

Because of that, even though I’m fairly well inland, we’re already getting rain and that rain is part of Michael.

So yeah, it sounds a lot more badass than it really is. Still, there was something I found through this that I thought was kind of profound.

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Onward

As noted yesterday, I figured a couple of things out about my training and I needed to start figuring out a few more things.

What follows is my attempt to prioritize my goals and adjust my training accordingly. Warning: This post may include some rambling as this is literally me trying to figure some stuff out, but what the hell, right?

The thing is, by the end, I should have a plan for tomorrow and for moving forward.

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