So, we’ve all heard the saying “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”  Well, I have anyway.  Although, I could probably write a book with sayings that I’ve heard that my wife hasn’t.  She thinks I just put words together.  But that is another discussion for another day.  In the gym, we are all about “functional” exercises.  That word is thrown around more than anything.  It means exercises that apply to daily activities (The more things change….).  Yet, the basic measure of strength is still the basic bench press (The more they stay the same).  Now, to preface this, I have nothing against the bench press.  I like the exercise and perform it.  Not as often as most, but I do.  But really, what does my bench press tell me about my overall strength?  Much less what does it tell me about how I am better at living my life.  The answer is very little.  What the bench teaches is how to apply force against resistance.  OK, fine.  But when was the last time that you had to move something?  Furniture, appliances, small children, etc.  Did you take that object with a super wide grip and try to lift it that way, by only using your upper body?  Probably not.  Or, did you center it on your body (probably within your shoulders) and push the hell out of it?  I’ll bet that’s the way.  I know, because I’ve done it dozens, if not hundreds of times.  So even if the bench teaches us to, and helps us apply force, there is a right way and a wrong way.  And it kills me to see the wrong way done time and time again in the name of nothing more than vanity and pride?  The fact is is that most of us are NOT competitive lifters and have no real need for a maximal level bench press that tears the crap out of the shoulder when done improperly.  We need to apply force in the most efficient manner possible to aid us in our daily activities, which occasionally include moving heavy objects.   How much ya bench?  Just as much as I need to, thank you very much.

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