The bench press is probably the second most favorite or the most hated exercise in the world, depending on who you ask. The first one being, of course, the curl.
So, should you bench press? It all depends on what you are going for. It’s not a necessary exercise for everyone, as we are not really pushing things in every day life as we do during a bench press. On the other hand football players (especially lineman) really do benefit from this workout for obvious reasons. Moreover, if you are trying to bulk up and get really strong, bench press is definitely something you’d want to include in your routine because it is one of the best exercises for that (besides the squat).
Shoulder injuries are common and big concern for those who do not use the right technique. To make sure your technique is the proper one, check out Bench Press Secrets from Dru Patrick and learn from a world champion in bench pressing.
If you want to add benching to your current routine, make sure start with good technique, listen to your body, and be sure not to throw it on top of a bunch of other pressing exercises.
I will have to say neutral! It has its benefits like you said Logan. I benched for years before getting into the Oldtyme feats. I quickly realized that it was time to do other exercises to enhance the goals I wanted to achieve. I have for years now given up the idea of wanting to look like the hulk…but still want his strength LOL. And now since submerging myself in my fresh routine that includes dumbbell swinging, snatching, and barbell pressing along with isometrics, I am far from the “traditional” cry of weight lifting I did when I first started training over ten years ago!
My opinion, is that the bench press is a competitive lift. Yeah I know bodybuilders use it but I will ignore them. If you are interested in competing or comparing your strength, in this standard lift with others; then of course your route is clear.
Personally, I am not interested in the lift. That is because the lift incorporates a support – the bench. The only way you can express the strength developed is in the position you train. Now, I think about it, it might be a good exercise for a wrestler?? I am thinking along the lines of pushing someone off you, when you are on the ground.
I remember Nick Tumminello had an article stating that in a standing position, the max you could press was something like 80% (?) of your body weight. So for say a football player who wanted to push another player away, the max he could press before being defeated by leverage, would be 80% of his own body weight. Off the top of my head, perhaps sled dragging would be a better exercise.
I think too, you have to give consideration to how much time you can give to training. Time, focus, endurance etc (resources). With the sled dragging example; you are training multiple aspects at one time. Your cardio is being trained in the specific manner you would wish to employ it; your also getting the joint stabilisers trained, as well as strength, strength endurance, whole body alignment, whole body integration from foot through neck; training all of this in the position of competition and I will add psychological preparation. All of these advantages will directly contribute to being more injury resistance as well. It would seem like a smarter choice to train the whole carriage with one exercise rather than just elbow extension.