Saftey of bench press?

What do u think of the safety profile of flat bench presses? I've read that Dante (of Doggcrap fame) has said that with flat bench presses assuming you keep progressing in weight it's a case of not if but when as far as pec tears go. He recommends doing incline bench presses or if you must do flat bench presses doing high rep sets 15-30.

It does seem like every second powerlifter has torn their pec (I think Dave Tate has torn both his pecs). Do you think the floor press would be safer as it shortens the ROM somewhat?

it doesn't even take a heavy weight to tear a pec. i tore mine on my warm up set a couple years ago, because i was rushing through them... there is an ugly gap there now.

key is to warm up first and don't go too fast

Doing partial ROM benches will not help, it will shorten the muscle and probably put you at greater risk.

Warm up and lift with in your capabilities.

Powerlifters tear their pecs because they are going for max effort lifts ALL the time.

Its their job.

And I agree w/Hamilton.

Also try flat bench press with dumbbells. It's a more natural movement, IMO.

I tore a pec about ten years ago during a warm-up set. I got sloppy on one freakin' rep, bounced the weight, and blamo, there it went.

Personally, I think the flat bench press is a uni-tasker... it works great if you want to build a bigger bench press, but isn't good for much else. Push ups and dips are a better overall workout, IMHO.


Bench Pressing is as safe as you are. If you're not a competitive powerlifter there's really no incentive to push the limits of what your soft tissue and joints can handle.

That said, I think the Incline Press is an awesome exercise and arguable a better choice for non-competitive lifters than either bench press or overhead press. IMHO you get a greater ROM over flat bench and it's easier on the shoulders and back than OH work.

I've personally haven't had any problems benching, either flat or incline.

Some things I do that keeps things safe:

- I NEVER bounce the bar off my chest.

- I make sure I have good technique (I use powerlifter style benching, so I really go through my checklist before I lift).

- I mix it up. Floor presses with the barbell, floor presses with KB's, incline presses, dips, etc. I'm not at the bench exclusively.

- I only bench twice a year, for a 12 week cycle at a time. At other times I work on other lifts like deads, snatches, TGU's, pullups, pistols, etc.

- I RARELY max. Maybe once every 18 months I'll try it, but only to see where I am. I mostly play with 3/5/8 rep schemes. Maybe every 1 and a half years I'll do a 54321 cycle, but generally I don't do max singles. I personally don't see the point of them, unless I'm a competitive powerlifter.