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How half a year of bench presses will change your body

If you start doing bench presses for the first time in your life, then your pecs will become noticeably bigger after 1 week. After another 2 weeks your maximum strength has increased, and you can increase the load with which you work out. Japanese sports scientists, affiliated with the University of Tokyo, wrote this in Interventional Medicine & Applied Science. The Japanese research also shows that bench pressures are not sufficient in the longer term to optimally develop the triceps.

The researchers had 7 young men, who had not previously trained with weights, 24-week bench press three times a week. The men made 3 sets with 75 percent of the weight with which they could just make 1 rep.

During the experiment, the researchers measured the size of their pectoral muscles and triceps using ultrasound technology.

Already after 1 week of bench pressures, the pectorales had significantly increased according to the researchers' measurements. Afterwards they continued to grow steadily.

The weight with which the subjects could carry out a maximum of 1 rep was significantly increased after 3 weeks.

The triceps were only significantly increased in size after 9 weeks. Remarkably, the growth rate of the triceps seemed to level off in the second half of the experiment, while the pecs continued to develop. The researchers do not know why.

How half a year of bench presses will change your body

In the past we have discussed studies, which showed that novices in strength training do not have to do separate exercises for the biceps or triceps during the first 10 weeks. When they do pulls-downs for their upper backs, or bench press exercises for their chest, they already stimulate their biceps and triceps.

The Japanese study did not last 10 weeks, but half a year. And then the story becomes different. Then separate exercises for the triceps - and probably also for the biceps - have added value.

Interv Med Appl Sci. 2012 Dec;4(4):217-20.

Separate exercises for biceps and triceps? Not really necessary... 15.01.2016
Pull-downs and from curls equally effective for biceps growth 06.01.2016

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