Monday, October 22, 2012

How Much Can You Bench?

by Kris Pitcher

I see posts about PRs or PBs...those refer to personal records or personal bests. (Not to be confused with PB & J. That's much different.)

This new trend stands to reason with the latest fad programs stressing how much and how many of certain things you can perform. Not to pick on anyone. Group programs come and they go throughout the life span of the industry.

I have to laugh when someone asks us in the gym, "Hey, how much can you bench?"  The thing is, we don't bench at all in the sense they mean. Flat barbell bench - nada. Don't do it. We just need to look like we do.

No PRs there! The PR is how long has my husband been able to rehab his torn shoulder without surgery followed by taking a year off for recovery. The PB is how long has he been pain free AND able to lift and continue competing.

My point is, what is the PURPOSE of your exercise? As you collect your personal bests for this and for that...what it the purpose of that. If you have one, great! Gaining strength in an exercise for a specific reason is great. Or just the purpose of "getting the lift" in that exercise is fine too.

Whatever your reason - fine by me - just have one. Which leads me back to the question, how much can you bench? What difference does it make? Incline, yes. Smith, yes. Dumbbell, yes. Cable, yes. Fly, yes. Every variation/combination/inclination/etc. in between...yes. But flat barbell bench, no.

The person asking that question will always have a story about how he used to lift more, but he got injured. This is the point in his story when he pats his belly and tells how things went to pot after that. It's the same every time, clockwork.

If you're happy with your PRs and PBs good for you. If you're not sure why you're collecting them, it might be time to reconsider your plan. What is the purpose? Me? I'm going to find a PB... & J.

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