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Bench press

NASMSUM13_wkt09BIf you are like most fitness professionals, reading about exercise technique can be confusing with so many opinions floating around as fact. It is hard to get a grasp on what is right, what is fallacy and what really matters when it comes to exercise technique. One of the leading questions hitting fitness facilities around the country is the question of elbow placement when performing a bench press. 

How far down should the elbows move when performing a bench press – what is the right range of motion?  

The answer is simple, yet it is not black and white. The short answer to the question is simply that elbow position depends on the potential muscle imbalances of the exerciser and the amount of load the exerciser is lifting. However, to understand the answer more completely, it is imperative to know the anatomy and mechanics of the shoulder.

The major prime movers of the shoulder are the pectorals major and pectoralis minor, anterior, medial and posterior deltoid, trapezius (lower, upper, middle), rhomboids and latissimus dorsi muscles.

The stabilizers consist of the subscapularis, supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and teres major.

The shoulder consists of four joints that work together to allow proper movement. These joints are: glenohumeral, sternoclavicular, acromio-clavicular and the scapolo-thoracic joints. Each joint must move as the shoulder moves, allowing for the most range of motion of any joint. Several muscles attach to each joint, some serving as stabilizers and others serving as prime movers.

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