Bench press safety Bench press safety

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Thread: Bench press safety

  1. #1
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    Default Bench press safety

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    I recenty returned to lifting but my new gym has an issue. I would like to do the real bench press/not machine bench press. Unfortunately, this gym does not have any plain benches to use in the squat area which are half squat cages. Both benches are dedicated for the bench press only and there is no practical way to separate the stands from the bench.

    How dangerous is it to bench without safety bars? Oh, and I train at 1am when no one is there to spot me. Any advice is appreciated.

    68 yo here. Just started benching last night and started at 65lbs.

  2. #2
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    May 2020
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    As noted in Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training, the bench is "the most dangerous exercise in the world" and in the U.S. every year, "an average of eleven people are killed while training with weights, essentially all of them under the bench press" (p. 153-154).

    Few on this board would recommend anything other than (1) benching in the rack with the pins set above the level of your face or (2) using a spotter. Personally, benching is just not important enough to me to do outside the rack--I don't plan to drop even 65 lbs. on my face, but I prefer to have the pins protect against that possibility, however unlikely.

  3. #3
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  4. #4
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    The primary hazard you are trying to avoid by using safeties (or having spotters present) is being stuck under the loaded bar. In theory if you leave the collars off and can dump the weight to one side, you may be able to get out of that situation. But you also may not be able to.

    Personally, I'd avoid benching in the situation you're in. Go to YouTube and look at weightlifting / powerlifting accident videos, and you'll see plenty of people who have almost suffocated themselves to death on camera. Those are the ones who filmed it, survived it, and posted it. Probably a small percentage of those who have been in that situation with different outcomes.

    My two cents. Grain of salt, etc.

    I've never been pinned under a heavy bar but I have had a heavy set of benches decide it doesn't want to go up and had to put it on the safeties. Not a fun feeling.

  5. #5
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    SSBBT (Vol 3), Chapter 5 under "Racking Errors" says it best. But if safeties aren't available, make sure to _not_ use collars so that you at least may be able to dump plates in an emergency.

  6. #6
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    Do not use safety collars on the bar, that way if you get stuck you just tip the bar and dump the weight. If no one is there at 1am, no one will mind the noise!

  7. #7
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    Bench with proper grip and form so you donít drop the bar on yourself, and donít collar the weights so you can dump them if you get stuck. And consider making other arrangements so that you have a spotter or safeties as the weights get heavier. Or maybe do your benching at a time when someone else is in the room to hear/help you if needed?

  8. #8
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    Thanks all for some great advice!! I'll be careful and will have to modify my training time when the weights get a little heavier....maybe over 150lbs..maybe earlier.

    On a side note, the day after my initial bench session I suffered from an excruciating DOMS, the likes of which I've never felt before on my upper body.

  9. #9
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    Oct 2018
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    I starting benching at home because I wanted safety bars. Just a few weeks ago, I ran out of steam during a bench and lowered the bar to the safety bars, but I missed one, so the weighted bar rolled down to my neck and almost cut off my breathing. I was saved only because 1) I caught one safety bar & the full weight wasn't on my neck, and 2) the bar was uncollared, so the weights fell off the low side. Scary.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dust Devil View Post
    I starting benching at home because I wanted safety bars. Just a few weeks ago, I ran out of steam during a bench and lowered the bar to the safety bars, but I missed one, so the weighted bar rolled down to my neck and almost cut off my breathing. I was saved only because 1) I caught one safety bar & the full weight wasn't on my neck, and 2) the bar was uncollared, so the weights fell off the low side. Scary.
    I am curious, how do you miss a safety bar? Are you talking about something about the safety arms that extend out a couple feet?

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