Bench Press And Morphology

bench press morphology

I read a Frederic Delavier’s book « Strength Training Anatomy » and I learned good stuff.

I think you’ve noticed that the bench press is the most practiced exercise in a gym. And as this is the most practiced exercise, it’s also the exercise that create the most injury per year. This is why, it’s important to have basic morphology’s notions to be able to do this exercise correctly.

Arms length

bench press morphology

The majority of injuries with the bench press are muscle tears or rupture of the pectoralis major tendon (during the descent of the barbell).

The pectoralis major inserted on the humerus. As a result, during the descent of the barbell, more the arm go down and more the pectoralis major is stretched and vulnerable.

But the descent of the arm and the stretching of the pectoralis major vary from one individual to another. More the arm is long, more the humerus will go down, which causes the pectoralis major to be stretched. It’s for this reason that willowy people (a person with long body members) often have this type of injury.

Rib cage thickness

bench press morphology

More rib cage is thick and less the barbell can go down. This means a limited strech of the pectoralis major therefore less risk of injury.

It’s for this reason that the majority of great bench press champions are brevilineal type (a person with short body’s members). Having a thick rib cage and short members allow to achieve a record with a morphological safety that limits the risk of muscle tearing or rupture of pectoralis major.

Morphology has a fundamental place in sport success and it’s injuries that limit the progression. Sport progression isn’t only based on mental (mindset), diet and workout type.

It’s fundamental to adjust the training program with the morphology. Let couple things be clear : what’s good for the person next to you, is not automatically good for you.

Limit the injury risk

bench press morphology

There is a bench press variant and it’s close-grip bench press. This variant limits the arm’s descent and this reduces the pectoralis major’s stretch thus limits the injuries risks.

This variant used by bench press champions with willowy type but the disadvantages are reduced performances, triceps work more and the movement’s amplitude is more important.

There is also another variant, the partial bench press. The concept is to decrease the barbell’s descent for it doesn’t touch the chest. This avoids excessive pectoralis major’s stretching.

Muscle predominance

Depending on the muscular strength of a person, there are 2 ways to do bench press :

  • Elbows spread to make more work the pectoralis major

  • Elbows close (to close arm/chest angle) to make more work deltoids.

Regardless morphology, these techniques can be used to specifically target a muscle (elbows spread => pectoralis major or elbows close => deltoids).

Attention : for bench press, it’s necessary to adjust the technique according to the different morphologies

bench press morphology

Image A

A thin rib cage with long arms when the barbell approaches the chest during the descent dangerously stretch the pectoralis major. The risk of muscle tears or tendon rupture are increased with the weight on the barbell.

Image B

A thick rib cage with short arms when the barbell approaches the chest during the descent limits the movement’s amplitude and the pectorlis major’s stretching. It’s for this reason that there are many bench press champons with this morphology.

Share this article if you think it can help someone you know. Thank you.

-Steph

Rupture Of The Pectoralis Major

rupture, tear, pectoralis, major, tendon

I read a Frederic Delavier’s book « Strength Training Anatomy » and I learned good stuff.

Pectoralis major begins on the anterior surface of the thoracic cage and its insertion is to the anterior surface of the upper end of the humerus.

Pectoralis major is a muscle which has the function of bringing the arm forward in front of the rib cage which make it possible to make hugs.

Bench press can create small tears at the pectoralis major which can sometimes cause a partial rupturing of its tendon (around upper chest).

This partial rupture of the tendon occurs in powerful athletes who have gained an abnormally rapid strength, which didn’t allow time for tendons to strengthen. This injury can also happen to athletes who make a « dry » diet, so a low-calories diet to better make muscles more visible. These low-calories diets weaken joints, tendons and muscles.

The wound always arrives during a bench press and affects only the clavicular head of pectoralis major.

The rupture of the tendon can be so painful that the athlete may lose consciousness. Often a tumefaction with eccymosis apprears on the anterior surface of the arm and the retraction of the clavicular head create a hollow around the upper chest.

Diagnostic error

how much

A problem that very often happens with this wound is that doctors, after diagnostic, considers it to be gravity-free. This is an understandable mistake because during the diagnostic, the injured person can make all movements related to the pectoralis major’s motor function. It’s for this reason that doctors consider this wound as a simple muscle tear rather than a ruptured tendon or a severe muscle tear.

Indeed, many muscles compensate the functional loss of clavicular head of pectoralis major to continue to move the arm. I spit of the rupture of the clavicular head of pectoralis major, it’s possible to raise the arm forward by the sternal portion (middle chest) and abdominal portion (lower chest) of the pectoralis major which also compensates.

When there is rupture of the pectoralis major, it’s necessary to have it reinserted as quickly as possible on the humerus with a surgery operation.

If not done as quickly as possible, there is retraction and fibrous transformation of the muscle. In this case, surgery is no longer feasible.

It’s true that the injured person can still move his/her arm without the upper portion of the pectoralis major but the injured person can never regain its initial strength and will be seriously handicapped to continue to do heavy bench press.

Share this article if you think it can help someone you know. Thank you.

-Steph

Bench Press And Elbow Pain

elbow pain

I read a Frederic Delavier’s book « Strength Training Anatomy » and I learned good stuff.

Elbows pain arrives because of bench press. This pathology of wear is linked to excessive training of long sets.

At the end of the bench press movement, when you lock your arm to block the barbell, it causes rubbing and micro-trauma on your joints. And this can create inflammation.

Note : This pathology which caused only by bench press can, rarely, create intra-articular calcifications. In this case, surgical operation is often the only solution to recover the complete arm’s extension.

If you feel pain at elbows, it’s advisable to stop for several days the exercies of arms extension to avoid complications. When you restart your workout, do bench press without locking your arms at the end of the movement until the pain has completely disappeared.

Share this article if you think it can help someone you know. Thank you.

-Steph

Close-Grip Bench Press

close grip bench press

I read a Frederic Delavier’s book « Strength Training Anatomy » and I learned good stuff.

Lying on a horizontal bench with your butt glued to the bench and your feet on the ground :

  • Takes the barbell with a pronated grip. The distance between your hands varies from 10 to 40 cm (3.9 to 15.7 inches) of your wrists flexibility.

  • Inhale and lower the barbell by controlling the movement to your torso.

  • Press and exhale at the end of the movement.

This exercise works the inner chest and triceps. This exercise can be part of an arm training program. By doing this exercise with the elbows along your body, it allows to work more anterior deltoids. This exercise can be done at the Smith machine.

Attention : There are several different morphologies so it’s possible that the close-grip create wrist pain. In this case, it’s advisable to spread the hands slightly.

Share this articles if you think it can help someone you know. Thank you.

-Steph

Acromioclavicular Problems

acrominioclavicular problem

I read a Frederic Delavier’s book « Strength Training Anatomy » and there is good stuff.

Frequent bodybuilding’s athletes are often confronted with acromioclavicular diseases.

This doesn’t happen in the same way as with sports like rugby, football, riding or combat sport with projections where the shoulder joint can be damaged by a fall or violent contact which leads to acromioclavicular dislocation with a ligament tear.

In bodybuilding, it’s micotraumatism caused by excessive, repetitive and poorly controlled work of the shoulder joint.

The pain happens little by little and after a while, pain prevents doing exercises like bench press or dips.

When doctors examine the acromioclavicular joint, it’s painful to pressure and slightly swollen.

It’s a problem without real gravity but the cure is long. The joint capsule and ligaments stretched because of inflammation, which give play to the joint. It takes some times for the entire articulation to return to its inital size.

Firstly, it’s necessary to stop the upper body training for 2 weeks

Note : from a bone view’s point, the upper limb connected to the bust by the clavicle which goes from the sternum to the scapla. In bodybuilding workouts, clavicular joints are often over-solicited and this create inflammatory pathologies of wear and tear.

Back to train

When upper body workout starts again, it’s necessary not to do bench press, dips and all movements with pushed down for at least 2 months. This is important to avoid re-stretching acromioclavicular ligaments.

Military press with barbell/dumbbell, inclined bench press and all movements with pusched up are allowed as they stabilize acromioclavicular joint. These movements limit the risk of ligament stretching.

If these tips aren’t respected. The joint inflammation will continue causing intra-articular calcifications and seriously compromising a sport career.

acrominioclavicular problem

Prevention :

These acromio-calvicular inflammations often occur after excessive training with the bench press due to a poorly controlled movements, with a too rapid descent, rebounding on the torso, sets too long and jerky.

The bench press in powerlifter’s style can also trigger inflammatory pathologies.

It’s for this reason that, at the least suspicious pain, it’s necessary to stop these movements for a time and to replace them by cable chest fly, dumbbells movement with a certain inclinaison of the bench for continue working chest.

Share this articles if you think it can help someone you know. Thank you.

-Steph

Bench Press

bench press

I read a Frederic Delavier’s book « Strength Training Anatomy » and there is good stuff.

Lying on a horizonzal bench with your butt glued to the bench and your feet on the ground :

  • Takes the barbell with a pronated grip. The distance of your hands is wider than the width of your shoulder.

  • Inhale and lower the barbell by controlling the movement to your torso.

  • Press and exhale at the end of the movement.

This exercice work mainly the pectorals and a little bit triceps, anterior deltoids, serratus and coracobrachialis.

Variants

  1. You can do this exercise by arching you back like powerlifters, This allows you to use your lower chest which are more powerful for lifting heavier weights. But you have to pay attention to your back if you want to avoid injury, caution.

  2. You ca do this exercise by making the press with your elbows along your body to work more your anterior deltoids.

  3. You can do this exercie by changing the gap between your hands :

    your hands closer => inner chest

    your hands wider => outer chest

  4. You can do this exercise by changing the trajectory of the barbell :

    By lowering the barbell to the lower chest (near the edge of the rib cage) to work the lower pectorals

    By lowering the barbell to the middle of the chest to work the medial pectorals

    By lowering the barbell to the upper chest/lower nech area to work the upper pectorals

  5. If you have pain in the back or you want a better isolation of the pectoral work, you can do the « press » with your legs raised.

  6. You can do this exercise with a Smith machine.

Share this article if you think it can help someone you know. Thank you.

-Steph

Stretching Pectoralis Major Muscle

stretching pectoralis major muscle chest

I read a Frederic Delavier’s book « Strength Training Anatomy » and there is good stuff.

Standing with your arm outstretched, grip to a support with your hand to slowy rotate your torso on the opposite side of the support.

This exercise mainly works the major pectoralis, anterior deltoid and brachii biceps.

Variant : It’s advisable to place your hand at several different heights to stretch all the pectoralis major’s beams.

Note : It’s an excellent stretch for bench press, throw sports, volleyball and handball.

Share this article if you think it can help someone you know.Thank you.

-Steph