Friday, January 15, 2016

Friday Exercise: Bench Press

Bench press is one of the most popular exercises to brag about.  Somehow, how much someone can bench has become a measure of her general strength.  While I don’t think it is the best benchmark (ha!), bench press does have a lot to offer for all of us.

Stickie is demonstrating a dumbbell bench press.  She has her feet up on the bench to make the exercise easier on her lower back, but people with no lower back issues can feel free to keep their feet on the floor.  Stickie prefers the dumbbell version of the exercise to the barbell version because it is more challenging; the barbell allows the stronger side to help out the weaker side, while the dumbbells make both sides work equally.

To begin, Stickie holds the weights at chest level.  This means, ladies and gentlemen, that the weights line up with one’s nipples, which, generally, are not located just below one’s neck.  On an exhale, Stickie presses the weights straight up into the air so that they are still aligned with her chest, not floating over her face or belly.  The weights do not touch each other at the top of the motion:  that would be cheating.  As she inhales, Stickie slowly lowers the weights until they are nearly but not quite touching her chest.

She chooses a weight heavy enough that completing 8 to 10 reps is the most she can do in a set.  She likes to do three sets, unless she is working up to her maximum weight.  In that case, she increases weight each set until she can only complete a single, good-looking rep.

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