1. #1
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    Question What's the Average Bench Press...

    Just wondering what kind of goal I should be looking at.
    What do you think the average weight for bench press and squats are for FF's?

    (of course I'm not going to stop at that weight, just wanting something to compare to)

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    Would be tough to get an average as we come in all shapes and sizes.

    Here's the minimums I would shoot for though

    Bench - 1.5 times your body weight minimum
    Squats - Twice your body weight minimum

    We got a guy around the station that Hershel Walkers it. He never hits the weights, just does pushups, wide grip pullups and lunges with an old steel SCBA full of sand.

    He's 5'10" and weighs in at about 190, but he's strong as a freakin' ox.
    It's only my opinion. I do not speak for any group or organization I belong to or associate with or people I know - especially my employer. If you like it, we can share it, you don't have to give me credit. If you don't, we are allowed to disagree too (but be ready to be challenged, you may be on to something I'm not). That's what makes America great!

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    With wieghts firefighters should also include endurance. Our muscles must be able to work for long periods and beable to recover quickly. You can train your muscle for better endurance by taking shorter rest period between sets. Our bodies must be ready for stop and go activities. So when we do rest our bodies need to be conditioned to recover quickly and carry on.

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    I think 1.5X body weight is a lofty goal for the bench. I think you'll find most people are nowhere near that figure. I don't mean to brag...

    In the 60's the Russians used 2x body weight as a minimum standard for beginning a plyometric program, because of the severe strain on the musculoskeletal system.

    If you are wanting to keep track of and shoot for goals, use your own, don't compare yourself to others, especially a weight that could only be figured in an incorrect manner...
    ...if you put the handline in the right spot, you won't have to jump out the window...
    -Andy "Nozzles", SQ18, 9-11-01

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    I think you just have to stick to one routine and try to put some more pressure each week.
    I use the Scott Mendelson routine which is working great for me. Some people at my gym told me about it.

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    I read about this routine of Scott Mendelson and now following.
    It might work for you too.

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    Default Bench press and shoulder injury

    I do a lot of sports injury rehab work, which entails a lot of shoulder injury work. When someone comes to me, and says they hurt their shoulder working out, I ask what their upper body workout consists of.

    All of them do at least one of these exercises:

    Behind the neck military press

    Behind the neck lat pull downs

    Straight bar bench press

    This is what I tell them: "Any time you put your shoulder joint in a position that twists the shoulder joint capsule (extreme internal or external rotation, as in all 3 of those exercises) you are ringing it out like a sponge. Then, if you add a load, such as pushing or pulling, you are asking for trouble."
    The usual response is, "Yes, Doc, but I feel it here when I do that, and I never get that feeling with any other exercise!"
    My answer, "That feeling you get is the tearing up of your shoulder joint. You don't want that feeling! Even if you don't have a big injury now, you will! Stop doing those exercises!"

    Substitute (respectively):
    back flies or upright rows for posterior delts
    Swimmer pulls with tricep push down pulley machine (straight armed) for teres/lats (drawn out on my site under Biddle Adendum)
    dumbbell pec presses and pec flies in a safe range of motion for pecs
    Your shoulders will thank you.

    Ask your friends instead, if they have a max dumbbell press weight. That would make more sense than some silly comparison over an unsafe exercise that will probably hurt you in the end. Then you’ll have no real power or strength.

    The poster above, who speaks of push ups, pull ups and weighted walking lunges has a very good point.

    Also, it is my opinion, that pulling muscles are much more important in your field than pushing muscles. And core and leg strength too!

    Dr. Jen
    www.fireagility.com

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    Drjmilus seems to have some good advice.

    I used to lift like an animal in my teens a early 20's. In my late 20's my joints started hurting. Doing pull ups made my shoulders hurt for days.

    I stopped worrying about my max a long time ago. Now I never lift anymore weight than I can do 3 sets of 15 reps with. If I can't pull that off, then I need less weight.

    Also, I quit bench presses. I do dumbbell presses, and concentrate on a slow smooth form.

    I still do behind the necks though, and lat pull downs, but with weight light enough for 3x20.

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    Renegade rows, prone/side planks, overhead squats, front squats using the rack position(elbows forward), hanging knees to elbows, and scapular depression exercises can help to "bulletproof" your body. the first six exercises develop tremendous core stability/strength, while the scap. depressions are crucial to shoulder health, in my opinion. These exercises can be found on youtube, and crossfit.com. Also, try standing up, totally relaxed, with your arms hanging at your sides. Your palms should be facing each other. If your knuckles are facing forward, with your palms facing backward, you probably have internal rotation issues. This can typically be caused by excessive benching, without proper exercises to counterbalance. I don't think that benching has much carryover to supression related activities.
    Last edited by edpmedic; 05-15-2008 at 12:20 AM.

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    Default edp medic

    Very good points. Scapular depression... those are actaully hard to learn for people with the palm-facing-backward-posture. That kind of coordination takes some practice...

    Try standing straight, palms facing each other (in) Squeeze your shoulder blades as if your intention is to touch the lower inside corners together. Do 3 sets of 20 per day for a week, then start doing 20 squeezes at every red traffic light after that. At first you will be sore in about a 2" by 2" square on either side of the spine. But, it will change your shoulder joint function...

    Kind of cool.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Drjmilus View Post
    Very good points. Scapular depression... those are actaully hard to learn for people with the palm-facing-backward-posture. That kind of coordination takes some practice...

    Try standing straight, palms facing each other (in) Squeeze your shoulder blades as if your intention is to touch the lower inside corners together. Do 3 sets of 20 per day for a week, then start doing 20 squeezes at every red traffic light after that. At first you will be sore in about a 2" by 2" square on either side of the spine. But, it will change your shoulder joint function...

    Kind of cool.
    Thanks for the tip. I haven't tried those yet, but I will today. It's cool that these can be done anywhere. I like scapular wall slides as well.

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    Lightbulb

    If you want to protect the shoulder area with the benching type activity, you might try talking to a trainer / someone in the know at your gym about how to do it with more of an "elbows in" technique. If you look into it, you'll immediately find that it takes some of the pressure off your front delts and moves it back into your larger, more robust triceps.

    You'll take a substantial loss on your poundage at the beginning until you get used to it... but it'll get up there eventually and better yet, no aggravated shoulder injury.

    Also- doing lighter dumbbell work with one of those "resist-a-balls" can be a really good way of involving the core and some of the smaller stabilizing muscles.

    Another thing a lot of people don't realize is when they get that annoying "stinger" in the front delt region- a lot of people start by thinking it's their pecs (because it attaches in the region of the irritation), then when getting their pecs worked on with massage and stretching doesn't help, they figure it's a front delt... then when that doesn't help... they either push through it or stop training as hard. (This goes particularly out to the guy who complained of shoulder irritation for days after chins.)

    Finally, I looked at a chart of the body's nervous system and found the culprit: There's a nerve that actually shoots through one of the BICEPS tendons! This made sense immediately because I would actually feel the pain more after arm workouts (including chins). Once I started stretching my biceps and getting them worked on, the pain went away... never to return!
    Ian "Eno" McLeod
    Senior Firefighter /EMT-A, A Shift
    HESD / OFD
    "To me, the charm of an encyclopedia is that it knows and I needn't."

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    Question? So is it healthy to use dumbells instead of straight bar? And why is that so?

    ms

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    It's not necessarily healthier, nor more effective... or less effective. A bar is generally more used for "power" work, and dumbbells used more for "isolation" work. It's good to include both in a conventional weight / workout regimen. Keep in mind the three orientations, incline, decline and flat. These should be rotated throughout your workout periods between the bars and the dumbbells. This allows the body to continue to adapt and helps prevent stale performance improvements.

    If you're building strength, do more barbell work... and finish with isolation "dumbbell" movements. The reverse is true with endurance / isolation. Still do the bar work first, just do less of it.
    Ian "Eno" McLeod
    Senior Firefighter /EMT-A, A Shift
    HESD / OFD
    "To me, the charm of an encyclopedia is that it knows and I needn't."

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    Default Advantages of Dumbells

    This emphasis on barbell training is unfortunate because dumbbells provide significant advantages to firefighters athletes, bodybuilders, and those training for general fitness. These advantages include:

    1. Dumbbells require more balance than training with barbells or machines. This increased balance requirement is of value in terms of enhancing athletic performance, a significant consideration in fitness programs, and can lead to greater muscle fiber recruitment if you're interest is in building muscle.

    2. Dumbbells require more muscular control than barbells, enhancing kinesthetic awareness.

    3. Dumbbells allow unilateral training (training one limb at a time), which can provide the opportunity for emphasizing greater movement specificity in the training programs of firefighter and greater program variety for bodybuilders and those training for fitness. Adding a few sets of dumbbell alternating bench press to your workout is a great way to change it up and challenge the body.

    4. Dumbbells promote greater recruitment of the stabilizing muscles, enhancing joint stability and hypertrophy.

    5. Some exercises can be performed with a higher degree of safety with dumbbells than barbells. For example, when performing step-ups, if you lose your balance it's much easier and safer to drop the dumbbells from your hands than it is to allow the barbell to slide off your back!

    6. Finally, dumbbells provide greater variety in the training program. Greater variety leads to less opportunity for physiological and psychological staleness in the training program, enhancing the opportunity for continued growth.

    Be Safe
    JC
    http://www.ultimatefirefighterworkout.blogspot.com

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    This is the American College of Sports Medicines percentiles for upper body strength. Based on weight ratio = weight pushed/body weight. Ex. 25 y/o male Weight = 175 benches 225 makes his ratio 1.28 which puts him in the 70-80th percentile. I am not typing out all the ages cause that would take forever but here is 20-29 for Men.
    90% = 1.48
    80% = 1.32
    70% = 1.22
    60% = 1.14
    50% = 1.06
    40% = .99
    30% = .93
    20% = .88
    10% = .80
    This may help you put it into perspective about the average male in the US. I would think a firefighter needs to be at least 70-80th percentile.

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    edpmedic:
    what exactly is a "renegade row?"

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    never mind - I googled it.

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    1.5 times your body weight for bench is quite a bit. I way 175 so that puts me at benching around 262. Few people as it is can bench that much. And as for the dumbell question, I think that dumbells work really well. I prefer them over straight bars in just about everything except flat bench. They work your muscles more because not only do you have to have the strength to just do the weight, but you also got to be able to balance them. Plus you can do a lot more stuff with free weights over a bar.
    Knowledge is the difference between KNOWING and GUESSING

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    I just do a ton of pushups. I quit benching due to a shoulder injury last year, and relied on pushups, 20-40 at a time. From it I have plenty of strength, and am probably near my old max.

    But I'm not too concerned with my chest as I am than shoulders, back and legs. What do you do as a firefighter that used bench press? Not much...

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    My answer woyld be to focus on quality, not quantity. More reps less weight is more of a realistic workout for Firefighters. We're more likely going to strain our bodies using endurance than raw "one burst" strength.

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    "How much you bench?" is the unofficial measure of how strong someone is. Right or wrong it really has become just that. It's not a good measure as can be seen by the mongrel pressing 400 with green beans for legs. You really need to focus on total body strength. Focus on multi-joint exercises that incorporate several body parts like squats and even bench press. Keep your core strong to prevent injury.

    However there isn't anything wrong with strength and mass building. If you can bench 300 and work all day long I say that's better than benching 150. The fire service still needs door busters as much as it needs attic rats. If you don't have enough strength to drag a victim or your partner out of danger your value in my eyes has gone down the drain. I'm not at all saying that about you as I don't know you. But it seems like some of the previous posts might not have addressed the gravity of that idea as much.

    That's why I think a test like CPAT, as flawed as it might be, is valuable to ensure a candidate can perform essential fireground functions and not just can you run a mile and a half and do a few push ups.
    "...When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you." Isaiah 43:2

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