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Removing flat bench and replacing with OHP indefinitely as a powerlifter.

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  • Removing flat bench and replacing with OHP indefinitely as a powerlifter.

    Hello,

    I'm a pretty casual "powerlifter" with a about a 1500 total, 93kg. Competition isn't my life but I do like to compete locally every 18-24 months just to set a new total.

    I've had a re-occurring pec issue for about 2 years now which (along with gym closures) has stopped me from hitting a single bench PR. I'm not asking what to do about it because I know it's just tendinopathy (tendinitis?) and isn't a serious injury, but once it finally goes away and I start flat benching normally again it's an inevitable 2-4 months before it's back - seemingly no matter what I do. I have a coach and I can't blame him for it. He does a great job at fixing things when they flair up, but we eventually have to start increasing workload if I'm ever going to hit a PR and once the volume/intensity gets to a certain point it always comes back, negating the progress we've made yet again.

    I'm starting to feel like a drag to coach because of it and I'm honestly really tired of having to "work around it", I just want to train hard and optimally without being paranoid and having to be vigilant all the time. At this point I'm starting to think about just removing bench press all together and simply pretending that overhead press is the comp press instead.

    That's really my main question, as coaches who train powerlifters how would you feel if one of your clients brought up forgetting about bench press indefinitely and swapping it for the OHP - treating it as a comp lift? Additionally is OHP a suitable replacement general upper body mass builder? I'm reluctant to bring it up to my coach because I feel like I've just been all over the place with my pec situation and now he'll have to change things yet again. I don't want to "fix" anything anymore.

    When I decide to compete again I'm sure we could just throw 8 weeks of bench in there and hit something un-embarrassing anyways, squat and dead will do more for the total regardless.

  • #2
    I few the press and bench as interchangeable for a "priority lift" unless you're going to a meet in the near future. I think that breaking the cycle of injury, pain, rehab would likely best be addressed via programming changes. In other words, the bench press probably isn't uniquely injurious. Rather, the programming associated with a return to sport is inappropriate for your heightened level of sensitivity and current training tolerance. A better approach would be to protract the return to sport, e.g. returning to sport-specific rep ranges, loads, and exercises more gradually.

    In this case, you may be well-suited to bench only 1x/wk as a variant (tempo, partial ROM, high rep, etc.) to help desensitize you to the movement while doing more OHP work for the time being.

    I also think it may be useful to explore some thoughts on why you feel like a drag to your coach and have some hesitation in bringing up these issues. As a coach, I would 100% want to know and work to better suit my client's needs.
    Barbell Medicine "With you from bench to bedside"
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