Illustration of how the abducted arm position does not ideally leverage the pecs in a bench press motion.
I often get asked if there are any books or other courses outside of N1 Education that I recommend on anatomy and biomechanics, and I’m always reluctant to suggest anything, because everything else that I’m aware of, (and I buy pretty much every book and every course out there), is very incomplete at best.
A huge reason for this is the lack of a 3D perspective when looking at anatomy and biomechanics.
Take this example of a few drawings I did on the pecs in the bench press. From the side and top views (images 1&2) you can clearly see the pecs have a significantly more advantageous line of pull in a less abducted position.
Now look at image 3 and you will see that the difference appears minimal. Now take in perspective that most people are thinking about anatomy and biomechanics with functions/ images etc from not only just 1 viewpoint, but 1 position.
This is what has to change at the foundational level. Learning the muscle functions in a book based on 1 position, from 1 perspective with no context will make your understanding of actual human motion and muscle function very poor.
You can’t learn half ass anatomy and then expect to make good decisions off it. I got an ad recently for an anatomy course directed at coaches that was self described as exactly that (simplified anatomy). You can’t over simplify anatomy and then claim to offer application. Like any other field, a solid foundation is what supports understanding and application. An additional understanding of physics, physiology and neurology is needed as well. You know…because we aren’t robots. Regardless of mechanics, the muscles still have to work and still need to be controlled by the nervous system