If you asked someone to name one resistance exercise (and they were of the average population) they would more likely than not say bench press. This is something that has become somewhat of a joke within the fitness profession. Everyone knows that Mondays are "National Bench Day" and every commercial gym you go to, there are about 20 guys doing either chest, biceps, or abs in between their sets of "mirror stares". For some reason the world has this idea that the bench press is the All Mighty of the gym as well as the determinant for manhood. I have ease dropped on many conversations in the gym (for purposes of pure humor) and almost every time I hear one guy ask another guy, "How much you bench?"
Does benching more than the next mean you would win a fight (I have heard this adressed in a fight before..you know who you are)? Does benching more mean you have a better body? Does benching more mean you get more girls? NO. NO. And NO. Don't get me wrong, I incorporate bench into my own workouts and strive to get it stronger, but I do this along with strengthening the rest of my body. (For you bench lovers out there that includes the back, legs, shoulders, and some smaller muscles that you probably don't even know exist.) The bench press can be a great tool but it has to be used within a program and not be the program.
For those of you who still don't understand why you would do anything more than bench and do some crunches let me explain a few things. Too much bench and not enough pull will cause a foreword rounding of the shoulders. This is because the bench press not only is performed with internal rotation of the shoulders but it also strengthens and tightens the pecs and anterior delts. With this, the posterior delts and back stay weak and stretch out. This combination causes the rounding.
Secondly, if you think that doing bench all the time and getting a big chest is going to make you look big and get girls, you are wrong...AGAIN. Your big chest will get hidden by the rounded shoulders mentioned above. Not only this but with bigger legs and a bigger back comes a bigger look. Even if you have a smaller chest but a big back and big legs, you will look big. A well rounded body will also give you a more athletic look, which is what the ladies like, not a big chest with nothing around it.
So start focusing more on your other body parts. Do some rows, some pull-ups, some squats for God's sake. Maybe you will be able to fit some of this into your workout if you cut back the volume of the "mirror stares" a little bit. Just a thought.
As I was looking for pictures I found this:
Are you serious? Ladies, instead of buying this crap, go to the gym and strengthen your back and scapular muscles (shoulder blades). Strengthen these muscles and your shoulders will be pulled back naturally and you will look taller, have better posture, and certain assets will stand out more. I sure hope I never take a girls shirt off and find one of these. Deal breaker!