Connect

Bench Press and Ribcage Expansion?

Fantastic's picture
Fantastic
Offline
306 Posts
316 Points

Recently I the following statement:

--------------
Bench Press – 2 sets of 6 reps

No weight training session would be complete without a bench press. Many martial artists actually advise against the bench press as it expands the rib cage, which is a weakness in fighting. Bruce Lee taught that a fighter should aim to develop a solid set of ribs, which can take strikes. Performing many bench presses and pullovers can open the ribs too much, so if you plan to fight competitively, do not place too much emphasis on these exercises.

Source: Bruce Lee Workout | Fitness and Strength Workouts http://www.motleyhealth.com/fitness_and_strength/martial-arts/bruce-lee-...
---------------

What are your thoughts/knowledge on the voracity of this information? Seems plausible and I have never really given any "emphasis" to it anyway with me leaning more towards dips, flies, and push-ups (plyometrics, perfect push-up handles, w/ weighted vest, etc.). However, I feel like I may be neglecting a useful time-tested exercise. What are your opinions?

I wanna be the very best, like no one ever was. To catch them is my real test, to train them is my cause. I will travel across the land, searching far and wide. Teach Pokemon to understand the power that's inside. Pokemon!

-Pokemon Theme song

bigvic's picture
bigvic
Offline
460 Posts
471 Points

I always advise fighters against the flat barbell bench press. From long experience, I find it is harmful to the shoulder musculature, possibly causing impingement problems. Plus it does not actually closely mimic any combative movement. Guys that do a lot of bench press at our gym are usually tapping to a kimura before it is actually locked in, and punch very wide and slow, with their hands held down as well...I advise using alternating kettlebell floor press, pushing off with the planted foot and raising the hip and shoulder as the KB is pressed toward the ceiling. Lots of other exercises are better IMO: ring push ups, ring dips, alternating landmine push press, any type of push up off the floor (you almost never fight off your back ON A BENCH)...if you have to bench press, use a slight incline and dumb bells, your shoulders will thank you.

The biggest room in the world is the room for improvement...

Enigmachrysalis's picture
Enigmachrysalis
Offline
1815 Posts
1983 Points

As much as I love bench, I have to agree. In terms of sports training, it affects a relatively small muscle group in a less than explosive manner.

I have never heard much about its ability to expand rib cages, but that is definitely one of the supposed goals of db pullovers lying across a bench. I think it would spread more in one's formative years. i used to do those all the time and i felt like I was getting wider b/c of muscle growth in my back, not b/c my ribs were moving apart.

Grandmaster Red Belt in P(C)JJ

kelby's picture
kelby
Offline
856 Posts
1060 Points

i used to bench shit load of weight. and i agree with you guys. i wish i woud of not touched the bench at all. more of the explosive movements are better.
it is true, i usually tap to kimura before it is locked. and my punches are ver telegraphic.l i think push ups are alot better. plus it improves alot of speed and power. that is probably why cus made tyson do hundreds of them at fast speed.

jasonpnsmith's picture
jasonpnsmith
Offline
279 Posts
420 Points

A lot also has to do with how you bench. If you are lifting for power then of course it's going to have the affects you all are claiming. If you are lifting for endurance it can be useful since you are better isolating the same muscles you would in a push up. There is really no need to bench more than your body weight. I weigh 260 and I rarely bench over 225 if I am doing it. I also do push ups and other things mentioned but I wouldn't completely write off the bench. I have found it pretty useful. Just my thoughts.

----
"The nation that draws too great a distinction between its scholars and warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting done by fools."

--Unknown

KevinDillard's picture
KevinDillard
Offline
1382 Posts
1584 Points

The bench that most people do is WAY too wide and that is where the shoulder problems happen.. elbows flared way too far out away from the body and that places the shoulder at a huge, almost certain risk.
Bringing the elbows in, lightening up on the amount of weight (most don't wanna do this b.c they need the ego stroke and/or don't wanna have guys in the gym mock them for uses less than monster pundage), keeping the arch out of the lower back (you can either put your feet up on the bench or put a rolled up towel under your spine).. this in the long run will give you more "real world" power and involve the enitre pressing chain (pecs, delts, triceps and even neck).

See video

kevint09's picture
kevint09
Offline
434 Posts
474 Points

I don't quite understand what "expand the ribcage" means.

Pull your shoulders back when you bench and do pushups. It will keep the shoulders in a more neutral position and lessen the chance of injury. While you're at it, you might as well work to improve your posture.

Face your fear, close the distance.

Rick Roll free since 3/31/08 (5/26/09).

Fantastic's picture
Fantastic
Offline
306 Posts
316 Points

By expand, from what I understand, is that the repeated compression of your ribcage, exerted by the load of the bench press, causes the ribcage to warp and expand. The hypothesis is that this compression would lead to a structurally larger and, therefore, weaker anatomical defense. The underlying logic being the a condensed ribcage is stronger.

I wanna be the very best, like no one ever was. To catch them is my real test, to train them is my cause. I will travel across the land, searching far and wide. Teach Pokemon to understand the power that's inside. Pokemon!

-Pokemon Theme song

kelby's picture
kelby
Offline
856 Posts
1060 Points

another thing about expanding the rib cage is, i don't think you get that from benching. exercise like pull overs where you lye(sp) across the bench with your back . that expands the rib cage, and makes it strong.

tat2edup's picture
tat2edup
Offline
6458 Posts
7700 Points

My close grip bench and regular bench are almost the same. Ever since I started benching in this fashion I have noted no shoulder pain (I used to suffer from chronic shoulder pain in my AC) and I can throw up just a much weight. When I do DB presses I use a neutral grip, I start with my palms facing eachother and twist at the top and return to the same position so my elbows never flare out.

To remain more explosive and less bulky I generally stick to 5 or less reps with moderate to heavy weight. Also, before any exercise I never, ever stretch. Instead I do some sort of plyometric exercises that will directly isolate the muscle group/groups that I will be working. In this case I warmup with 5 sets of 15 plyo pushups. Then I do some really light weight speed presses- slow coming down and explosive going up.

I am also a huge advocate of push-ups in any every fashion.

"Courage is endurance for one moment more"- Unknown Vietnam vet


"If size mattered, the elephant would be the king of the jungle."- Rickson Gracie

kevint09's picture
kevint09
Offline
434 Posts
474 Points

Unless you're benching 300 or more, I don't think there is enough load on the ribcage to cause the ribs to grow thicker. Even if they did, they would thicken; I doubt they would grow enough to be noticeable. There would be increased muscle mass, but the ribcage itself wouldn't experience too much change.

Face your fear, close the distance.

Rick Roll free since 3/31/08 (5/26/09).

kevint09's picture
kevint09
Offline
434 Posts
474 Points

Unless you're benching 300 or more, I don't think there is enough load on the ribcage to cause the ribs to grow thicker. Even if they did, they would thicken; I doubt they would grow enough to be noticeable. There would be increased muscle mass, but the ribcage itself wouldn't experience too much change.

Face your fear, close the distance.

Rick Roll free since 3/31/08 (5/26/09).

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous

bench is amazing, every muscle including such a major one needs to be worked, and as for your comment bout not even close to combative movement u must be a chump, 1st off no weight lifting is close to combative movement in that u have gravity unnaturally force upon in a downward motion, but every muscle needs to be worked, and compared to every other weight lifting move it's the same relatation to combat as a bicep curl to a choke, no one actully chokes on either a full 90 degree or 45 degree angle or pulls or anything like that in combat the same way u work out ur biceps, but u need that weight lifting training to make it much more effective, the pecs are major in punching, your entire body is, if your not trainign everything i mean everything ur fingers ur toes ur groining ur ankles ur wrists... every single muscle needs that extra strenght training... n no real fighter punches like their bench pressing unless using a spefic type, theres 100s of ways to punch, 1000s of ways to strike and not one of them is exactly like ur choice of push ups.... soo for the maker of this post, it is great to do, haven't heard much on effect of ribs crossed with weight training n fighting but expansion is key to rib strenght and breathing, people don't like the expanding because if ur going all puffed up in a fight like an amature ur gonna get the wind knock out of u easier, and since your following bruce lee u should know most of this and that the more movement and free control u have over your body esspecially ur core which most guys just make solid rather then fluid, the better real life fighter you will be, not just showy sports

 

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.