top of page

The bench obsession

The bench obsession.

I recorded a new episode of the 2 Guys on Fitness podcast recently with my good microphone buddy Allen Therisa. It’s always a great experience when Allen and I get together to record these monthly episodes, partly because it prompts me to consider my views on personal training and fitness.

In this month's recording, for example, I found myself thinking back to when bench-pressing used to be a central part of my gym workout.

For those not so familiar with the weights area of the gym, bench-pressing encompasses lying down (on a bench!) and lifting a bar of weights.

Sounds simple, right? You put weights on a bar, lie on a bench underneath that bar, lift it up and down several times, then you get up and do something else.

The thing is, there is a lot more psychologically to bench-pressing than that, and for myself hitting the bench became almost an obsession the more I did it. How much could I lift? How much weight could I add to the bar? Could my mental resolve push me to new levels of bench pressing and could I get bigger in the process?

It became something of a battle of wills: Me versus...well, what, exactly? Metal gym equipment and weights (of inevitably increasing) different size? The other guys in the gym that might be lifting more than me? Guys in online videos, grunting, moaning and sweating as they lifted more and more weight?

Or was it all about my ego, chasing the model of a man that is bigger, stronger and more attractive than I might be?

Eventually, I got bored of doing the same (increasingly exhausting!) bench-pressing exercises ever and over again and I moved on to more whole-body workouts to build my stamina and fitness. This had the effect, together with my rugby training, to build the physique I have today and which I am more than happy with - muscular, strong and aesthetically suitable for my size.