The powerlifter may be the fastest-growing group in the world, but many of them also use an odd method to help them train.
In a bid to increase their bench press capacity, these athletes also use a form of the squat that involves a bench that they can push up to their waist.
A new study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine suggests the bench press could help to improve strength levels.
The research was carried out by researchers from the Institute of Clinical Sport Science at University College London.
The researchers set up a control group of athletes and the squat bench was used as a comparison.
For each athlete, the squat was used twice, twice as often as the bench.
“For each participant, the average time to achieve a 4RM [bench press] was significantly greater for the squat compared with the bench,” they write.
“Thus, our results suggest that squatting may be more effective than the bench in increasing bench press performance.”
This means it may help with strength development and increase muscle mass in the bench by pushing up your waist to the point where you can use it to push up a large weight.
But the researchers suggest the squat might not be the best way to train the squat.
“The squat is a very dynamic movement, and this could lead to injury and loss of strength in the squat,” they say.
“Moreover, the effect of this movement on strength development is variable, with some studies showing no difference between squatting and bench pressing and others showing increased strength and hypertrophy.”
“In the future, it might be useful to assess strength and muscle development before and after the squat and the bench exercises.”
If you’re not a powerlifer, you’re in for a surprise, and the scientists caution against training the squat at all.
“In order to optimise the squat, a range of exercises including a single repetition of a barbell squat should be performed during each set of the barbell squats,” they conclude.
“However, if you are not a heavy-set lifter, a squat can be used as an intermediate or high-rep training exercise, with progressively heavier loads for increasing the bench strength.”
“The use of squats as a compound exercise is a good idea, and as long as the bar is used correctly, it should be relatively easy to get the bench to a suitable level.”