Pendulum Chest Press; A Comment From Dr. Ken
If you are involved in strength you know Dr. Ken Leistner. You have read his articles in Milo, Powerlifting USA, Hard Gainer, the Steel Tip and elsewhere. He has trained Olympians, World Champions and numerous professional athletes. His practice is located in East Rockaway, NY.
I was glad to see the recent brief article on the Rogers Strength Blog that noted that "The Shoulder Press is also a Great Incline Press" because it is. At times we as coaches or athletes forget that making a simple adjustment on a properly designed strength training machine can provide a completely different exercise. The strength training industry is such that there are decades of evidence indicating that a properly designed machine can provide not only a training stimulating effect that is the equivalent to a similar barbell or dumbbell exercise, but one that is superior.
Overcoming or "bypassing" the limitations imposed by gravity-only provided resistance, a machine's leverage factors, affected by the positions of the involved body parts, moment arm length, or a functional cam can in fact insure that effective resistance is provided over a greater range of motion and/or in a more accurate manner than a barbell. Some "barbell only" training advocates deride the use of machines as "non-functional" even in the face of evidence that a properly designed piece of equipment provides advantages that a barbell will not.
What is sometimes overlooked is the ability of the coach or trainer to make a specific machine movement more effective for the athlete. Altering the seat angle position on the Rogers Pendulum Shoulder Press as the given example, provides an excellent incline press movement. This type of versatility is even more evident on the Vertical Chest Press machine.
The philosophy in our facility and in our Gridiron Strength And Conditioning facility directed by Frank Savino, is that rotator cuff problems were infrequently encountered before the rising popularity of the bench press exercise. Certainly rotator cuff dysfunction was seen in baseball pitchers or quarterbacks at times, but it was not viewed as a pervasive injury throughout the spectrum of sports.
In today's athletic culture, rotator cuff problems are a major contributor to lost practice and competitive time on the field. As much as I have advocated the advantages of weight training over many decades, I must admit that the bench press exercise, or more accurately, the over emphasis upon the bench press exercise and its rampant overuse, has no doubt exacerbated this problem.
The Rogers Pendulum Vertical Chest Press obviates many of the problems inherent to the barbell version of this exercise and makes it safer. The ability to adjust the seat height and range of motion actually provides a variety of body positions which makes it much easier to note what might cause discomfort for any specific athlete, and then efficiently train around that particular position.
Very often, placement of the handles throughout the range of motion can make the Vertical Chest Press, as opposed to a "non-adjustable" barbell bench press, a very safe and efficient movement. Altering the range of motion can do the same as well as allowing for much more effective rehabilitation options. In summary, having the ability to adjust the athlete's "bar" or handle placement throughout the range of motion, varying the range of motion, and utilizing proper biomechanics makes the Rogers Pendulum Vertical Chest Press an ideal addition to any facility.
All Photos By Kathy Leistner