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  1. #1
    Registered User Skinnyguy4's Avatar
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    Unhappy Should I use the smith machine because it's safer than bench pressing?

    I did bench presses today and I couldn't finish my last rep. It was super embarrassing.

    The bar was pinning me down to the bench. I managed to sit up, but I didn't have the strength to lift it off me. I sat there for about 30 seconds helplessly, unable to move the bar.

    Eventually, I managed to tilt one side of the bar towards the ground and push the weights off until they slammed down on the ground. The bar then quickly swung up like a see-saw, almost hitting me in the head, and I got the weights off the other side, before lowering the empty bar to the ground.

    I sat there thinking to myself how close that was. How embarrassing that was. How dangerous that was.

    And now I'm scared to do the bench press again. Because I don't have a spotter and I hate talking to other people in the gym.

    Should I use the smith machine instead, from now on, to prevent this from happening again?
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  3. #3
    I love my power hour MrCarrot's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Skinnyguy4 View Post
    I did bench presses today and I couldn't finish my last rep. It was super embarrassing.

    The bar was pinning me down to the bench. I managed to sit up, but I didn't have the strength to lift it off me. I sat there for about 30 seconds helplessly, unable to move the bar.

    Eventually, I managed to tilt one side of the bar towards the ground and push the weights off until they slammed down on the ground. The bar then quickly swung up like a see-saw, almost hitting me in the head, and I got the weights off the other side, before lowering the empty bar to the ground.

    I sat there thinking to myself how close that was. How embarrassing that was. How dangerous that was.

    And now I'm scared to do the bench press again. Because I don't have a spotter and I hate talking to other people in the gym.

    Should I use the smith machine instead, from now on, to prevent this from happening again?
    When the same thing happens on the Smith Machine, what are you gonna do? Because you won't be able to maneuver the bar like you did today.

    You could switch to DB's, where you can simply drop the dumbbells when you need to.

    Or, you could simply ask for a spot. Anyone in the gym will likely be happy to do it for you. They don't even need to be strong because you still have plenty of strength in you on the failed rep, just not quite enough to get the bar up on your own. You could even tell them you don't want help, just reassurance that someone is there for the last rep just in case. Asking for a spot is a hell of a lot less embarrassing than being stuck under the bar. You don't need to be talkative, just a simple, "Would you mind giving me a spot?" and then a "Thank you" afterwards.
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  4. #4
    Registered User sowilson's Avatar
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    check your ego at the door and be more sensible in how much weight you bench. Also bench using proper safeties. Spotters are good when you can't quite make that last rep, they won't help you if you have a failure. Or use DB's. I don't believe the Smith Machine is safer, partially for the reason mentioned above, secondly for the bar path on the Smith Machine as it locks you into a straight motion it can raise havoc on your joints.
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    I dropped 185 on my ribs about a year ago. Since then I only bench in a rack with safeties.

    I suggest you also bench with safeties set. I think it's grossly irresponsible for commercial gyms to buy benches without safeties pins. People literally die and/or get seriously injured doing this.

    Be safe... Learn to setup in a rack and set the pins. Maybe more people doing this will convince gym owners to buy benches with safeties or get more racks.
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    Registered User William2018's Avatar
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    Safety first. Too many times I stopped myself early because I knew the slightest instability during the final rep could result in serious injury. My local gym is too crowded for my liking, so I purchased a rack to use in the backyard and adjusted the height of the landing bar to rest just above my chest. Looks similar to this. I can now bench without any hesitation to complete the final set.


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    Bench with safeties. If you don't have safeties, ask for a spot. If that's not an option, consider dumbbells
    The only way to do something is to do it
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    I'd lower the weight a slight bit til you're able to complete your rep range safely and successfully. But yeah, always make sure you have your safeties in place before benching - it's a very serious injury if you fail on it, and not worth the time it will take to recover from as well. Also, doing sets inside the power rack is a terrific idea; it's why they're there - so use one if it's available and if not, wait for it to be. The smith machine isn't a bad idea, but for me it's more of an alternative or accessory i'll swap out benchpressing for if I feel like a little variety now and then. Just my opinion.
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  9. #9
    Registered User Skinnyguy4's Avatar
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    What do you all mean by "safeties"?
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    Registered User Garage Rat's Avatar
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    I'll concur with the above comment,bench in a power rack with safety pins just slightly below chest level or get a spotter or both.
    He means either safety arms or pins in a power rack.
    Some racks that are single column have safety arms to rest the bar on if you can't get the lift.
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    Originally Posted by Skinnyguy4 View Post
    What do you all mean by "safeties"?
    Pin/pipe as seen on most full racks:
    https://www.roguefitness.com/rml-390...ck?icid=slider

    Spotter arms as often seen on squat stands and half-racks:
    https://www.roguefitness.com/sml-1-r...te-squat-stand

    My rack at home has spotter straps on the inside for squats and arms on the outside for bench, like the top left photo on this page:
    https://www.repfitness.com/strength-...t/power-racks/
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  12. #12
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    Originally Posted by sowilson View Post
    check your ego at the door
    I think this is all the answer that is needed.

    Use proper technique and stop ego lifting. Or, if you swear you aren't ego lifting, restart your program with an empty 45 lb bar and work up slowly so that you actually know how much weight to use and learn when to stop the set well short of failure.

    And if you have the ability to bench in a power rack, and you don't, or you don't set the safeties, you're an idiot right there on the level of guys who choose not to wear a seat belt or powerlifting competitors who think they are hot **** badasses for refusing to use real safeties

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  13. #13
    I love my power hour MrCarrot's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Millz12323 View Post
    I dropped 185 on my ribs about a year ago. Since then I only bench in a rack with safeties.

    I suggest you also bench with safeties set. I think it's grossly irresponsible for commercial gyms to buy benches without safeties pins. People literally die and/or get seriously injured doing this.

    Be safe... Learn to setup in a rack and set the pins. Maybe more people doing this will convince gym owners to buy benches with safeties or get more racks.
    Must admit I've never trained in a gym that has benches with safety pins. My gym has power racks but they're the other end of the gym from the benches so only practical for squatting, rack pulls, etc.

    I would prefer to have a bench with a rack / arms / safety pins as I wouldn't have to constantly ask for a spot. I also cringe watching people no bigger than myself benching twice the amount to failure without a spot.
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    We know lol Farley1324's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by MrCarrot View Post
    Must admit I've never trained in a gym that has benches with safety pins. My gym has power racks but they're the other end of the gym from the benches so only practical for squatting, rack pulls, etc.

    I would prefer to have a bench with a rack / arms / safety pins as I wouldn't have to constantly ask for a spot. I also cringe watching people no bigger than myself benching twice the amount to failure without a spot.
    Mainstreams gyms are generally not equipped by or for people who lift seriously, unfortunately. You have to find a powerlifting or black iron or hole in the wall equipment 20 years old and beat to **** gym run by an enthusiast who was sick of no real options out there. Or buy yourself a power rack and put it in your basement or garage
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    Registered User dylanstephens54's Avatar
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    You need to train differently if no spotter mate

    If you go solo you need to learn your muscles you can feel when you cant get 1 more rep without a little help and stop there

    You cant fully push till failure with no spotter but you can get pretty damn close just focus on knowing when body is at its limits
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    We know lol Farley1324's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by dylanstephens54 View Post
    You need to train differently if no spotter mate

    If you go solo you need to learn your muscles you can feel when you cant get 1 more rep without a little help and stop there

    You cant fully push till failure with no spotter but you can get pretty damn close just focus on knowing when body is at its limits
    Better idea with the bench is to stop 1 rep before that, even. If you're benching outside a rack and without a good spotter, planning to go until you couldn't get another rep is going to bite you in the ass eventually. Which is also where proper technique comes in handy, so that if/when that happens, the weight is at least over your sternum and unless it's a sudden catastrophic breakage (like of your bone or muscle tear or bar slips etc) you are lowering it semi-controlled to your sternum where you have a shot at rolling it down or tipping or getting somebody to help you by pulling plates off the side to lead to a tip etc (Tip: Don't try to lift the weight past your neck and face with spotter help after you've failed the rep unless you're benching like 105 lbs and the dude pulling it off you is a D1 linebacker, roll it or tip it or have them strip weights, don't put that bar over your neck and face
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    Emperor of Antarctica JoshLV's Avatar
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    Smith bench isn’t safer. You’re actually more prone to shoulder injuries as you are strictly limited to vertical motion and are allowed no lateral motion.
    I do use smith for bench though as I feel it hits my chest better and if I can’t finish the last rep, I just need to get it a few inches off my chest. Best case scenario for either, just ask for a spot.
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    Registered User Nuthead007's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Skinnyguy4 View Post
    I did bench presses today and I couldn't finish my last rep. It was super embarrassing.

    The bar was pinning me down to the bench. I managed to sit up, but I didn't have the strength to lift it off me. I sat there for about 30 seconds helplessly, unable to move the bar.

    Eventually, I managed to tilt one side of the bar towards the ground and push the weights off until they slammed down on the ground. The bar then quickly swung up like a see-saw, almost hitting me in the head, and I got the weights off the other side, before lowering the empty bar to the ground.

    I sat there thinking to myself how close that was. How embarrassing that was. How dangerous that was.

    And now I'm scared to do the bench press again. Because I don't have a spotter and I hate talking to other people in the gym.

    Should I use the smith machine instead, from now on, to prevent this from happening again?
    This happened to me once a few years ago when I started lifting. Don't worry about it.

    If this wasn't your first set, and you did all reps in your first set then you didn't rest for long enough.
    If you are doing 4-6 reps you need 5+ minutes rest.
    8 - 12 reps you need about 3+ minutes to recover.
    I would recommend timing yourself using your phone in between reps that's what I do for every set.

    If it wasn't your first set then you are trying to jump too much weight/aren't aware of how much you can lift, and you should be more aware of that in the future.
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    I've successfully aborted 165 by rolling it to my hips and standing up.

    Floor press is a built in fail safe, the plates are real enough you can just drop it on your face and not get hit
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