Effect of Barbell Weight on the Structure of the Flat Bench Press

J Strength Cond Res. 2017 May;31(5):1321-1337. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000001816.


Król, H and Gołaś, A. Effect of barbell weight on the structure of the flat bench press. J Strength Cond Res 31(5): 1321-1337, 2017-In this study, we have used the multimodular measuring system SMART. The system consisted of 6 infrared cameras and a wireless module to measure muscle bioelectric activity. In addition, the path of the barbell was measured with a special device called the pantograph. Our study concerns the change in the structure of the flat bench press when the weight of the barbell is increased. The research on the bench press technique included both the causes of the motion: the internal structure of the movement and the external kinematic structure showing the effects of the motion, i.e., all the characteristics of the movement. Twenty healthy, male recreational weight trainers with at least 1 year of lifting experience (the mean ± SD = 3.3 ± 1.6 years) were recruited for this study. The subjects had a mean body mass of 80.2 ± 8.6 kg, an average height of 1.77 ± 0.08 m, and their average age was 24.7 ± 0.9 years. In the measuring session, the participants performed consecutive sets of a single repetition of bench pressing with an increasing load (about 70, 80, 90, and 100% of their 1 repetition maximum [1RM]). The results showed a significant change in the phase structure of the bench press, as the barbell weight was increased. While doing the bench press at a 100% 1RM load, the pectoralis major changes from being the prime mover to being the supportive prime mover. At the same time, the role of the prime mover is taken on by the deltoideus anterior. The triceps brachii, in particular, clearly shows a greater involvement.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Body Weight
  • Deltoid Muscle / physiology
  • Electromyography
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Movement / physiology
  • Muscle Strength / physiology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Pectoralis Muscles / physiology
  • Weight Lifting / physiology*
  • Young Adult