As you might have guessed from the constant comparing of bench press stats by the guys in your gym, this chest exercise is a pretty big deal. The bench press, in addition to being relatively easy to learn and requiring only basic equipment, offers an effective strength-boosting workout for your chest, shoulders and arms. Although the bench press may seem like a one-lift-suits-all exercise, you can tailor the bench press more closely to your needs and goals by altering the repetition range of your performance. High-repetition bench press training, for example, can help enhance your muscular endurance.
Bench Press Muscles
High-rep training plan or not, the bench press will give your upper body one heck of a workout. The exercise can help sculpt shoulders and arms that will impress in strapless tops and build a powerful chest for sports. Specifically, the bench press targets your pectoralis major, the primary muscle in your chest. Helping to drive the motion of the bench press are your anterior deltoids, located on the front side of your shoulder joint, and your triceps, located on your upper arm. The bench press also provides a biceps workout, as those muscles help stabilize your arms as you lift and lower the weight.
High Repetition Definition
The world of fitness can be confusing, especially if you're just starting out and don't understand the terminology. But even for exercise veterans, nailing down the meaning of some terms can be difficult because they are so vague. High-repetition training falls into this category, as what you may consider to be a lot of reps might not seem like so many to another person. According to the American Council on Exercise, a "high" repetition range would be one that consists of 12 to 16 repetitions. The organization suggests performing two to three sets of that range with a weight heavy enough for you to be tired at the end of the set but not so heavy that you can't complete the desired amount of repetitions.
High-Rep Training Applications
A high-repetition bench press training program is undoubtedly a lot of work. You might only find it necessary to do if you're working toward a goal such as improving sports performance. Because high-repetition ranges enhance muscular endurance, you may find this type of training effective for improving distance swimming, playing tennis or shooting a basketball; all of those activities involve repetitive arm motions and require muscular endurance. If you have a job that requires you to push or carry heavy objects over long distances, a high-rep bench press training program can also be valuable.
The best fitness routine is one well-suited for your goals. If your priority is performing tasks that require a significant amount of force but that don't occur too frequently -- golf or baseball swings, for example -- a high-rep training program may not be ideal. You may also find that a high-repetition bench press program could exaggerate any overuse injuries you might have, such as tennis elbow or a strained shoulder. Also, if you're training for purely muscle size or maximal strength, this type of plan will be too high in repetitions to be ideal for those goals.
Brian Willett began writing in 2005. He has been published in the "Buffalo News," the "Daytona Times" and "Natural Muscle Magazine." Willett also writes for Bloginity.com and Bodybuilding.com. He is an American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer and earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of North Carolina.