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Worst ... Bench ... Ever?


Than_Bogan
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As I was struggling to complete my 3rd set of 85 lbs on the bench this last weekend, I had a strange thought that is a mix of self-mocking and self-congratulation:

 

Is it possible that I have THE worst bench press of anybody who has ever run a tournament -38?

 

Can anybody claim worse? It occured to me that maybe one of the women who has run it could be worse at bench press than I am, but then again Regina Jacquess can probably bench my 85lb bar with me sitting on top of it...

 

In a few weeks, I'll probably hit my static strength peak and do sets of 10 at NINEty-five lbs. Woohoo!!

 

As you can tell, found myself a little bored at the gym...

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Good thing not much chest/tricep involvement in slalom skiing! I've got the open men single rep record in MN at 440.6 lbs in the 198 lb class...but you and I ski about the same. It's a pretty useless lift, really. If you want a bigger bench, shoot me a PM.

Don't sweat it and run some more tourney 38's next year!

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Thanks! But, no, I don't think I'm gonna work too hard on my bench. For me, it's just a way to quickly hit a whole bunch of muscles that are kind of dual to the ones used most in skiing.

 

I actually almost never see anyone bench less than I do, but I kinda figure that's because anyone whose chest/tri is this weak thinks they'll look silly on a bench. I have no fear of looking silly!!

 

One disadvantage I have is that my arms are very long. So I had to pick a sport where that was a good thing...

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Hadn't benched in years but me and my youngen just joined a health club. He put 175 on and benched 8 or 9 times, and then thought he would see what the ol man could do. I was around 15 or 16 very rusty reps. I guess there is still a little horsepower left in the 52 year old motor. Pushups in the morning must have done something. Back in college I closed in on the 300 lb club but fell a little short when my training partner moved out of town.

I was probably 180 ish.

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At the rock climbing place my buddy and I went to there was some free weights. He benched really big plates on the bar while I pressed the little ones. I couldn't be more week in the chest. But I've run 5 @38 in tourney and run 39 in practice (once). He is still long line and slow speed. I'll take short line over big plates any day of the week. On a more serios note: do any of you feel that doing things like bench press or other weight training of muscles that are NOT involved while skiing balances things/the body and in a way lessons injuries??
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@Wish...Which muscles are not involved while skiing?

 

I understand that most of us are not actively trying to push the boat away with the handle, but the bench press specifically is still an important lift. When done properly, the bench press can engage core muscles and even some leg muscles. More importantly for bouy chasing it is necessary for core strength, balance, and symmetry. We would look silly and likely have future issues if all we did was lift back and biceps. You can't optimize the strength of your back and bicep muscles without equally proportioned chest and tricep muscles.

 

On a related note...I've heard Kyle Tate (2011 Big Dawg) recommends "cleans" as one of the most relative lifts for slalom types...

 

 

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Kris Lapoint once told us in a clinic at our lake that skiing is all about pulling and you need to push to maintain muscle balance. Can also help elbow problems, etc.. If your forearms are only in pulling mode, they can get out of whack and cause elbow issues.

 

 

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Onside 135, I think there is a difference between doing something to keep your chest, tri's, front delts in shape vs. pushing massive weight in terms of benefit to slalom. It's important to train those muscles, but they are not the primary slalom movers. Doing push-ups or what Than is doing is probably fine.

As a winter gym rat, here's the example: I lift only in the fall/winter/spring. In summer no time for lifting plus skiing. After 4-5 months of slalom and no gym I walk back in and can step right up to seriously heavy shoulder, bicep, back and leg work...slalom keeps these in shape. My chest, front delts, and triceps go to hell every summer b/c skiing doesn't hit them hard enough. In the fall I will be down 150 lbs on bench vs. spring.

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About the time Sammy D. was jumping in the two teens, in other words (as I recall) , before he went 220, but not long before, he was strength tested. Turned out he was about average in leg strength. Not average for an elite athlete, not average for an average athlete, but average for a man his age. Nevertheless, he was one of the top jumpers in the world, and had been a top three event skier. Conclusion: There is more to the equation than what you can do in the gym.

Lpskier

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One of the best things I ever did in my years of weight training was to switch to free weights for all presses. Esp. shoulder presses. (BTW, NEVER use barbells for shoulder presses unless you want permanent shoulder damage.....)

 

Free weights really develop the balance muscles and overall core strength. These balance muscle development makes a BIG difference in all sporting activities outside of weight training. It's more than just balance strength - it trains the mind to coordinate that balance with heavy loads.

In addition, free weights allow for the natural rotation of joints through your range of motion. After several years, these things make a huge overall difference.

 

My .2

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@6balls....I can certainly agree that the benefits of pushing massive weight are minimal...in most aspects of life really. Far more applicable are body weight exercises and strength to weight ratio performance, but I think we had a whole thread on this recently. Personally I've always focused mostly on form, high reps, and heart rate when lifting. With reference to Wish's question, I was just explaining that I do feel it is essential to work out muscle groups that we generally don't think of as being skiing related. Seems like we agree that just like marathon runners throw up weights or cross train once in a while, the aspiring slalom skiier might benefit from a comprehensive workout. This does not necessarily even need to include weights, as you point out. Pull ups, sit-ups, push ups, and running can be enough for most.
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The only reason I bench press in the offseason is that it is fun. With neck surgery coming up Friday I have pretty much reached my high point for the offseason. Last Saturday I did 4 sets of 4 reps at 305lbs. On Monday I did 4 sets of 10 reps at 225lbs. I also do a set of 50-70 push ups and 50 "band squats" every morning before work. The band squats I highly recommend (Todd R had a picture of it in Water Ski mag last spring, I think). Works every part of your legs, glutes, and core. Perfect ski exercise.
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@Than I must say I think you might have the record on that one! :) But I too would take buoys over plates any day of the week. @onside135 I definitely agree with Kyle Tate on that one. I started Crossfit during the last off season and we do quite a bit of Oly lifting. Cleans are a great movement for waterskiers. It is a movement that requires speed, quickness, balance, and power. Sounds a bit like trying to transmit forces from a boat to a ski? I had a great season this year and attribute a lot of it to my off season training. I'm doing a lot more this off season so we shall see...
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FWIW- I believe high rep bench, squats and lunges are about the best metabolism exercizes there are. They burn lots of calories, increase core strength, and I believe the repeated accomodation of the muscle recovery phase helps prevent some injuries and shortens recovery from (any) injuries you do sustain.
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I know what you mean. Last year I got some old snowmobiles to help the winter pass. This year no snow! Now I ice fish but most of the time no fish. My work outs are low weight high reps. Never really worked hard on bench pressing. My college coach thought it was only good for getting off the ground when you blew your assignment and that kind of stuck with me.
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Your coach is mostly right, but it is kinda fun and a constant challenge when moving up in weight every week still trying to crack out 4 sets of 4. I do lots of other stuff higher reps and am trying to keep core in check this winter. Have gained a few pounds I also look to pull back off over the next month or two.
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Than- My trainers have all recommended dips- un-weighted and weighted to build your bench press capacity, I do them either arm or chest days as secondary exercize(s). As a ski specific exercize... it MAY help you- in my case there may be no such exercize...
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I cannot bench press much at all, nor do I very often. I feel a dumbbell press is more effective. I do some Olympic type presses and lifts. They engage core in every exercise and work nearly every muscle you can think of. I have heard that crossfit is really good for this sport.
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