Often people are not doing the exercise they think they are because of poor form. I know this sounds crazy but often people are doing bench when they *think* they are doing incline press. Or they *think* they are doing military press for shoulders when they are really exercising.
People fail to realize that which exercise you are doing isn’t determined by the bench you use, but how you sit on it!
First, lets think about what makes each of these exercises distinct.
|Bench Press||In bench press, the motion of the bar is perpendicular to the spine.|
|Incline Press||In the incline press, the angle between the spine and the motion of the bar is between 90 and 180 degrees|
|Military Press||In the military press, the motion of the bar is co-linear with the spine.|
Almost everyone I know is strongest in the bench press, next strongest in the incline press and weakest in the military press. Why is this important? Because very often, people lift more weight than they can control and have to compensate with bad form. For example, this happens at the gym all the time. Someone is doing “incline press” with way more weight than they can really do, here is what they look like:
They arch their back to raise their hips way off the bench. What exercise are they doing? They are doing bench press, not incline press!! Why? Because the motion of the bar is perpendicular to the spine, the definition of bench press!
Lets take an even worse example, the military press. This exercise is for shoulders, not chest. The problem is that the shoulder is very weak when compared to the pecs, here is what happens all the time at the gym when someone is doing “military press” with way more weight than they can really do:
They slide their butts forward and lean way back on the bench. What exercise is this? Its incline press, not military press because the motion of the bar is not co-linear with the spine. What’s worse, this is almost 100% pecs and almost no shoulders.
You have to always be thinking about what you are doing when you are lifting. Think what muscles are being used, feel it. If you are working out shoulders, then work out shoulders – not chest!
Don’t be blinded by the never ending quest to lift more and more weight or you will fall into these traps and remember:
The exercise you are doing isn’t determined by the bench you use, but how you sit on it!