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Bench Press is Not a Dirty Word in CrossFit

By Coach Kelly

When I talk to people about CrossFit it always seems to come up, “do you guys ever bench press?” and of course the answer is yes!

Here are some of the reasons we at CrossFit West of the River choose to include Bench Press in the programming.

  1. To improve lock out strength on Olympic Lifts.

To get a strong lock out, you need strong triceps. If we bench press with a narrow grip on the bar this helps build the triceps.  By using this narrow grip, it will also take stress away from the shoulder and decreases the force on the joints. The ideal hand position is going to be the same grip you use for your shoulder to overhead movements. This helps to strengthen that overhead position.

  1. Improved push strength and bone health.

Doing bench press can increase your push strength which in turn helps in movements where we are putting weight overhead.  It does this by making the chest, shoulders, and triceps stronger.  These muscles are needed to help get that weight up. Another benefit it has is bone health.  When there is added resistance on the body’s structure in large movements such as the bench, it promotes healthy bones.  According to the Journal of Family & Community Medicine it can increase bone mineral density.

  1. Maintaining Shoulder Flexibility

In order to maintain shoulder flexibility there are a couple of things we need to consider.  First, we want to keep the reps low.  By keeping the reps low, it will strengthen the muscles.  Second, you must spend time stretching out your shoulders.  When doing bench press you should stretch your shoulders after every set and continue to stretch after the session is over and even more later on the night.

What it all comes down to, is the bench press is no different than any other strength training modality.  When it can be performed in programming while utilizing proper technique it can be a valuable asset to your overall training.

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