January 7, 2012
It is OK for weightlifters to bench press. It doesn’t look pretty. But it’s OK.
Benching doesn’t hurt your ability to snatch and clean and jerk, NOT mobilizing everyday hurts your ability to snatch and clean and jerk. And if you are not doing mobility work like you should, then you won’t have the positional strength necessary to be good at the lifts. I know. I did a poor job mobilizing for years.
I stopped bench pressing altogether after high school. I was on that “real weightlifters don’t bench press” trip. Now I’m on that twice a month program. It’s working out pretty well. This was 155kg. My best before this was 150kg. Note that I don’t pause at the bottom because I’m not a powerlifter but if I did ever do a powerlifting meet, I would open significantly lighter and pause.
Is benching harmful for a weightlifter? No. Not if done sparsely and safely. Obviously eleeete level weightlifters don’t waste their time on it because they are too busy breaking records or standing on the medal podium. But I’m guessing that is not you.
Is benching helpful for weightlifting? No, not at all. Not unless you are literally too weak to hold a barbell above your body. But you will fill out a singlet better.
In conclusion, I snatch or clean probably around 9 times per week. I bench around twice a month. Necessary? No. Important? No. Fun? Yes.