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  • Back flexability during the bench press

    As some of you may know I have been taking stretching and flexibility very seriously for the past 6 months. I used to pull my adductors / hamstrings frequently and have primarily been focusing on hip mobility and glute activation stuff. I have next to no upper body issues aside from a tight left pec so I don't really do much stretching there besides some basic pec / shoulder / forcing my back into kyphotic position and rounding the shoulders to stretch out the upper back.

    watch this video of Al Caslow benching. See the piece of PVC piping on the first few sets? What is the diameter of that shit? I am guessing 5-8 inches which makes it around the same as my foam roller.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kLYGI...1&feature=plcp



    How the fuck can he keep his ass on the bench while having that thing under his back? I am writing it off to flexibility. He is probably generating some serious leverage and stability from that arch. I wasn't to be able to attain half the arch he has. I am assuming this is because I never put my back in that position beyond the slight arch I use for benching.

    What part of my back do I need to get flexible to do that, and what stretches do I use?

    Also, what is the point of that PVC pipe thing? is that just to train him to get into the proper position?

  • #2
    Ask Al Caslow of Elitefts.com. You'll get your answer straight from the source.
    "You can't be the fastest or the strongest but you can always work the hardest." - Jim Wendler

    "Failing is nothing more than inexperience" - Jim Wendler

    "You won't have to rotate squats and deadlifts, but do them both and thus get more fucking awesome every week" - cooltom

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    • #3
      Originally posted by LandryP View Post
      Ask Al Caslow of Elitefts.com. You'll get your answer straight from the source.
      how do I do that? I dont think they have a forum?
      Last edited by syssstem; 02-15-2012, 01:26 AM.

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      • #4
        I was a plumber / pipefitter for 15 years (now I'm a desk jockey). I know it is schedule 40 PVC pipe and it looks like 3", maybe 4", it's hard to tell from a video. Definitely not 5"-8".

        I agree. How does he keep his ass on the bench? If you get an answer from the source, please post it.
        2014 USPA Nevada State / Regional Championships - 1,168 total

        2014 USPA National Championships - 1,235 total

        2014 Village Gym Meet - 1,260 total

        2015 USPA Camp Pendleton Meet - 1,235 total


        Journal: http://intensemuscle.com/showthread....80#post1112980

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        • #5
          Originally posted by TLopez View Post
          I was a plumber / pipefitter for 15 years (now I'm a desk jockey). I know it is schedule 40 PVC pipe and it looks like 3", maybe 4", it's hard to tell from a video. Definitely not 5"-8".

          I agree. How does he keep his ass on the bench? If you get an answer from the source, please post it.
          well 3-4 inch's isn't that crazy and wouldn't be that hard to keep your ass on the bench with that under you.

          I have been fucking around with my foam roller (5.5 inch diameter) and when I am 100% warm I can actually keep it under my lower back with my ass on the bench now. It feels like complete shit and I am almost blowing up just getting into the position so it would be zero percent effective. I think over time I might be able to actually get into that position without dieing.

          I will figure out how to contact Al and I will let you all know what he says. If anyone beats me to it, post it in here!

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          • #6
            Look through Joey Smith's log, too. He does the same thing frequently.
            Ph.D., Theoretical Physics '16
            kind of a douche

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            • #7
              Probably 4 inches(normal for powerlifting). He does it the first couple of sets, to know how his body feels with the proper arch.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by syssstem View Post
                how do I do that? I dont think they have a forum?
                Where do you think the questions from the Q & A come from?

                "Ask a question"
                "You can't be the fastest or the strongest but you can always work the hardest." - Jim Wendler

                "Failing is nothing more than inexperience" - Jim Wendler

                "You won't have to rotate squats and deadlifts, but do them both and thus get more fucking awesome every week" - cooltom

                Comment


                • #9
                  Ultimately I would consider the risk versus reward of doing that. If you're young, healthy, and have no back pain (or pain anywhere else for that matter, especially above the low back), go for it. If any of those aren't so, be wary. Personally, I'd be cautious of performing a bench press that way for a few reasons. If you look at some statistics I've seen estimates that approximately 80% of Americans suffer from lower back pain during the course of their lives, and roughly 25% of Americans are in pain at any given time. Even if you're asymptomatic you can still be structurally a mess. In 1994, the New England Journal of Medicine published a study that showed that when doctors looked at MRIs of 98 asymptomatic backs. Researchers noted the following:

                  "52 percent of the subjects had a bulge at at least one level, 27 percent had a protrusion, and 1 percent had an extrusion [82% of subjects]. Thirty-eight percent had an abnormality of more than one intervertebral disk.

                  Also, you mentioned you have been paying attention to your hip mobility and working on activating your glutes. Do you find that your hip flexors are tight in addition to your adductors? I ask because typically those who have short hip flexors, & poor glute function often lack of anterior core stability and have tight lumbar erectors. These folks are more susceptible to extension-based back pain typically is worse with standing than with sitting. This can lead to injuries of everything from spondylolysis (fractures) to spondylolisthesis (vertebral slippage).

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by syssstem View Post

                    Also, what is the point of that PVC pipe thing? is that just to train him to get into the proper position?
                    Yes. I was taught using the same method. I am not sure such an extreme arch lends itself to raw benching the way it does shirted. Sure the stroke is shorter but I feel as though I don't get as strong a drive out of the hole as I do with slightly less arch. Might be just me. Mess around with it see how it feels.
                    Journal http://www.intensemuscle.com/showthread.php?t=51093

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by syssstem View Post
                      I will figure out how to contact Al and I will let you all know what he says. If anyone beats me to it, post it in here!
                      Originally posted by LandryP View Post
                      Where do you think the questions from the Q & A come from?

                      "Ask a question"

                      I hope this is old news, but

                      http://asp.elitefts.net/qa/training-logs.asp?a=ask

                      Scroll down to his name and BOOM.
                      #docswholift
                      PGY-1 FM
                      "No idea is above scrutiny and no people are beneath dignity." -Maajid Nawaz

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                      • #12
                        Overrall tightness is more important than arch in my opinion.
                        "You can't be the fastest or the strongest but you can always work the hardest." - Jim Wendler

                        "Failing is nothing more than inexperience" - Jim Wendler

                        "You won't have to rotate squats and deadlifts, but do them both and thus get more fucking awesome every week" - cooltom

                        Comment

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