Everyone knows pushing yourself too hard can lead to injury. Despite this, we all want to outdo our mates in the gym (and live up to the Arnold Schwarzenegger posters on the walls). As always, balance is key.
However, if (as a recent study has found), even the US military, with their advisors, physios and medical staff is experiencing, “An alarming frequency”, of bench press injuries, what hope does the average civilian have of getting it right?
A study (reported by Science Daily), conducted by Loyola Medicine orthopaedic surgeon Dane Salazar, in which nine active duty soldiers and airmen were treated for pectoralis tears—all of whom were injured while doing bench press training – during just four months, suggests that this is a difficult muscle to successfully build.
For anyone looking to avoid the surgery (plus the four month rehabilitation period) required to overcome a serious pectoral injury, D’Marge spoke to fitness expert and the Biggest Loser‘s Commando Steve, who said these injuries usually occur when you lift beyond your capabilities or without a spotter. And how do you know when you’re ready to increase the weight?
“That’s a tough one depending on your goals and intentions. If it’s muscle building: your ability to complete 3 sets of 10 reps with a 60 sec to 90 sec rest. Strength: 5 sets of 5 reps with a 90 sec to 3 minute rest.”
We also asked Blake Thompson, a personal trainer, fatloss and performance coach, about the implications of this study on the average Australian guy.
“You just need to go to the gym on a Monday night and you’ll see all the boys doing bench. The thought of shoulder mobility, balancing your anterior (front of your body) with your posterior (back of your body) doesn’t even exist within the boys programming. I don’t think it’s anymore dangerous than other exercises, it’s just that shoulder health isn’t something we consider.”
So there you have it. Go forth and bench your little heart away with care.