Charles talks about the BAMBOO BENCH®, a gym apparatus designed to let the shoulder blades move freely allowing an increase in range in pressing exercises.
Stuttgart, Germany – Your Personal Strength Institute Gym
The Bamboo Bench proves to be a very useful tool for all pressing exercises.
What is the BAMBOO BENCH®?
This training device was invented by Bernd Stößlein. His struggles to isolate his chest prompted him to look for an alternative set-up. In addition he had been suffering from a “painful arc” indicative of a shoulder impingement problem. This made lateral rises, and all kinds of overhead presses impossible to perform.
Rather than training around the pain and skipping the classical versions of bench pressing (incline, decline, flat) he endeavored to cure the “root cause” instead of focusing on the symptom. His goal was to device an exercise set-up that was safer for the shoulder blades and the entire shoulder.
When you press and lay on a normal flat bench, your scapula does not move through the full range. This is why Bernd thought of superimposing a half moon foam roller inside upholstery with Velcro straps. This makes it easy to move the implement from gym to gym and on different benches. The velcro straps also ensure that the bamboo bench doesn’t flip from the apparatus when you train alone. Guarantying you enjoy the benefits from the Bamboo Bench even without the assistance of a training partner.
What is the Biggest Advantage?
The surface of support is very small, so when you lay your spine on it, it allows your shoulder blades to move back further. This allows, for one thing, to work on full range of motion, which is integral to joint stability, health and longevity. Likewise in these conditions the long biceps, pectoralis minor and supraspinatus tendons are spared from unnecessary friction. Then, it also prevents the rotator cuff components i.e infraspinatus, supraspinatus, subscapularis, teres minor, teres major, ligamentum coracohumerale from being overly stressed.
On the down movement, the shoulder blades move much more freely which allows the elbows to drop further. This increases the stretch on the shoulder flexors and elbow extensors. The movement becomes not only as close as possible to “natural“ biomechanical movement such as push-up and dips. But it will allow the recruitment of more muscle fiber in the pectoralis major and minor. This translates into added training efficiency. In fact, it solves two problems simultaneously: pain is reduced and muscle fiber recruitment is enhanced.
Tips and Tricks
Initially you may feel unstable, but it will feel natural over time
This set-up is excellent for prehabilitation and rehabilitation, e.g. after shoulder surgery.
It is a very valuable tool during accumulation phases. The increased range of motion is conductive to extended time under tension. Using a cambered bar with a neutral grip is optimal.