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Hi folks,

 

im currently doing a barbell strength routine and am so far pleased with my weight progress. As the weights I'm lifting are beginning to become higher I'm trying to be a bit safer in my training in regards to squat and bench press as I work out alone. The gym I use has a squat rack with safety pins that can be used so I pretty confident I can continue squatting safely my main concern is with the bench. I could maybe get a bench in the squat rack and use that if the rack are suitable height for bench, alternatively there is another machine that I think is a smith machine however the barbell is not fixed to just go vertical the bar can be moved off the vertical axis but is still attached the main frame if that makes sense? Is this still classed as a smith machine? I've heard smith machines are not as benificial as just using the bar and I'm concerned that because the bar is still attached to the rack you don't carry the full weight you think you are. Not sure if any of that makes sense I really should have taken a photo but if anyone thinks they know what I mean I'd love to hear your views :) 

 

many thanks 

Dave

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Don't use the smith machine for bench press. Bench pressing doesn't have a perfectly straight natural bar path and you don't want to be forced into it as it can affect your shoulder health. There are some things the smith machine is useful for, this isn't one of them. Keep going with the barbell.

 

With the barbell, there's two main suggestions. First is that you can ask for a spot. Yes, it can be intimidating and hard to put yourself out there for some, but most people in the free weight area are happy to do it, as they'd want the same assistance themselves at times. It has the side benefit of getting to know people a little bit as well if that's something you're interested in. Make it clear how you want them to spot. For example, I always tell the person that I'd like a lift off, but not to touch the bar after that unless I shake my head.

 

The other approach is to always leave 1 rep in the tank. Never do a rep unless you're getting it. Yes, you get a little less work per set because you won't do those slow reps that you end up getting without assistance, but you'll also never be stuck under a bar. I like doing this with higher rep sets in the 8-12 range because its easier to judge whether or not you have another left. If you're worried about not getting enough work, just add an extra set or two on.

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That "machine that I think is a smith machine however the barbell is not fixed to just go vertical" is a "jones machine" or something like it. You can google that term and find lots of opinions on its suitability for bench/etc. It provides a good deal of stability, but allows for a non-straight bar path, so it isn't as bad an option as the smith. 

 

Also, if there is absolutely no one around to spot you, then there is no one to be bothered by you dragging a bench into the squat rack for a few heavy sets. (You don't need it for your warmup.) 

 

The other pieces of advice I've heard for reducing the danger of benching without a spot: 

- don't collar the weights, so if you get stuck you can tip the bar and dump the weights off. If anyone is close enough to be potentially hurt by falling weights, they should spot you.

- in your warmups, include some singles moving from a weight you feel very confident with and adding small amounts until you get to your working weight. Small enough jumps that you are never surprised at how heavy the bar is. So if it is too heavy, it'll be just barely too heavy, not something that will crush your neck the second you unrack it.

- if you aren't 100% confident you can re-rack it, dump the plates off sideways, or roll the bar down your body until you can sit up.

 

Joshua - Yoga Ninja Weasel #20: The Weasel goes on an Adventure!

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as someone who benches at home, late at night, sometimes for sets of 2 at 90+% 1RM:

 

1) No need for the safeties that the squat rack has.

2) Do NOT collar the weights

3) If you can't get it to move anymore, tilt to one side and let the weights slide off. HANG ON TIGHT TO THE BAR as it will start to be unbalanced. U do NOT need all the weights on one side to slide off, just enough so the bar is completely unbalanced and will tilt to the heavier side. Stand up and get all the weights off.

 

I actually practice this move once in a while. And of course, I have been caught under 1-2 times over the course of the last few years.

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On 4/9/2018 at 12:12 PM, Gainsdalf the Whey said:

The other approach is to always leave 1 rep in the tank. Never do a rep unless you're getting it. Yes, you get a little less work per set because you won't do those slow reps that you end up getting without assistance, but you'll also never be stuck under a bar. I like doing this with higher rep sets in the 8-12 range because its easier to judge whether or not you have another left. If you're worried about not getting enough work, just add an extra set or two on.

 

Agreed. I'm not a fan of sliding the bar to dump weights. So to both keep me safe as well as see gains on the bench, I like to leave 1 in the tank, rack the bar, and then:

 - Quickly roll onto the ground and do push-ups until burnout ( you can also put your feet on the bench and do decline)

 - Or have a set of DB's next to me and do burnout DB bench right after you rack the BB. (You can easily dump the DB's at failure)

 - Or get up and quickly shed ~50% of the weight off the bar, hop back down on the bench and rep out another 10-12 reps (obviously be smart not to get stuck under this bar)

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