What does the NFL, bald eagles, McDonalds, and bench pressing all have in common?
Welcome to ‘MERICA.
In all seriousness though, we know that you’re going to commandeer the nearest bench press every Monday for the rest of your life because that’s what every over-caffeinated, testosterone raging male has ingrained in their psyche.
However, new research is quickly emerging which shows that benching may be more deleterious to your health than previously thought.
I’m not talking about your shoulders either, slick. I’m talking about every man’s pride and joy.
Listen bro, I know you’re a #certifiedstallion according to your Instagram but truth be told, if you keep this pec pumping routine up for much longer, you’re going to have a tough time “releasing the kraken” if you catch my drift.
Don’t believe me? Whatever, it’s your call. Keep on benching but don’t be surprised when you’re not a “freak in the sheets” anymore (I’m talking to you too ladies)...
Benching in the Bedroom
A new study from a lab based out of Hong Kong recently published a study in the Journal of Exercise Physiology and Phallic Hemodynamics which found an inverse correlation between bench press frequency and perfusion to the pelvic outlet.
In other words, as you bench more frequently, you alter blood flow to specific organs within the pelvic girdle. As you know, all of these organs rely upon the venous system for the delivery of nutrients and removal of waste. In fact, one organ in particular requires additional blood flow in order to perform when called upon in times of dire need.
I’m sure you might be asking yourself, “Well, what causes this and why am I just hearing about it now?!”
Turns out, there are a number of large pharmaceutical companies which want this information to be kept quiet. You see, if folks begin to put together the pieces on their…ahem, “issues” then these companies would quickly be out of business if their products weren’t needed. Big pharma wants you to keep benching because in essence, you’re lining their wallets with every repetition you complete.
The Shocking Secret Science Wants Kept Quiet
If we turn our attention from the financial sector to the anatomy side of the equation, we can begin to put together some of the pieces which might help to explain this rather shocking and unwanted phenomenon.
When examining the bench press, the first thing you likely noticed is the excessive arch (i.e. lordosis) typically found within the lumbar spine. This arch is ideal and desired for most of the powerlifting and strength community as this helps to set the shoulder blades in a safe and efficacious position for power production. On top of that, it also helps to decrease the range of motion required during the lift.
In an ideal world, we should be able to generate global extension through our spine from sacrum to atlas; but, given the fact that we live in a fairly sedentary environment, we quickly lose shoulder function and articular range of motion.
As such, we typically compensate by extending through our thoracolumbar junction (intersection of T12 to L2) and lumbar spine (L1-L5) which presents a whole host of biomechanical consequences.
Looking at the pelvic floor, you will notice that the superficial transverse peroneal and levator ani both play a critical role in stabilizing the pelvis and reproductive organs in both sexes.
However, when you overextend within the spine, these muscle become stretched and must contract due to the effect of muscle spindles on tissue excitability.
Ever heard of the stretch shortening cycle? Well, it occurs in every muscle in your body, not just during the squat, despite the fact that that’s everyone's favorite example.
Once these muscles contract, they restrict blood flow to organs within the pelvic girdle as their primary goal is to ensure stability of the spine in order to protect your most vital assets (i.e. your spinal cord and brain).
Now I’m sure some of you might argue that you have other more important “assets” that you’d want to protect but we’re speaking strictly from a survival standpoint here…You pick up what I’m putting down?
Alright, good. MOVING ON.
What I’m driving at is the fact that these organs lose blood supply and without perfusion they can’t function. But, if you think about it, this makes perfect sense as a survival mechanism - why would your body shunt blood away from working muscles for reproduction when it’s trying to deal with the fact that you’ve got a couple hundred pounds of forged steel bearing down upon your chest?
Exactly my point, it won’t.
When you increase your benching frequency, these muscles can become hypertonic (in a state of constant contraction) due to their repeated use and the constant stretch placed upon them. If they remain contracted around the clock, guess who’s getting deprived of blood?
Your little buddy from down under.
Performance and Perfusion: The Best of Both Worlds
So, now the question remains - what can you do about it?
Well, listen up Teddy Swolsevelt, just because you wear a fleXXL and today ends in “y” does not give you a legitimate excuse to bench. If you would quit paying homage to the bench gods all the time you might stop looking like Quasimodo and actually be able to keep up in between the sheets.
Cool your jets bro, before you publish your strongly worded Instagram post with an excessive number of hashtags, I think you should know that this article was entirely satirical in nature and represents broscience at its finest.
Benching isn’t doing anything to your pelvic girdle and if you have an actual problem with performance, you should consult with your doctor. This article isn’t intended to diagnose, treat, or prevent any legitimate medical condition.