The piano bench industry grew from the desire of piano manufacturing companies to focus solely on the manufacturing of pianos. The bench was, for the most part, an afterthought. Many bench companies got their start in the early 1900s by contracting with the piano manufacturers to offer benches in multiple styles that would match the exact finish and leg style of the piano being bought and sold. As the piano would move from owner to owner the bench would not always make the trip, creating a need for the replacement bench manufacturer. The other primary reason for the piano bench manufacturers existence is the fact that the piano bench is typically handled very roughly by many teachers and students alike.
As with all types of furniture, quality is always extremely important. There is nothing worse than relaxing to put on makeup and then falling to the floor because the bench broke. Having a basic understanding of what makes quality vanity benches can really help with the selection process. Many vanity benches are metal, and one way to judge the quality of the metal is by checking the weight. However, most vanity benches are also very dainty, so it may be difficult to judge the quality of metal by the weight of the bench. Just remember that a very light bench may not offer as good quality as one that is slightly heavier. Also take a look at how the bench is put together. Higher quality benches will have joints that are welded together rather than screwed or bolted. These welds will also be located in very inconspicuous places if the bench is well made.
If the bottom of your bench press is your weak point, you are in luck, there are exercises that specifically target getting the bar off of your chest. The dip, and decline bench press are the two most helpful movements for getting an initial drive off of your chest. Also keep in mind that your form may be inhibiting your ability to drive the bar off of your chest. Always keep a tight back, firm feet, and a slight arch in your back when you bench press to fully engage your body. Nonetheless, dips are one of the most important chest related exercises to build muscle. The theory here is simple, dips focus their attention on the lower, stronger portion of the chest and can be trained quite heavy. Building up your lower chest will enable you to get the initial drive to push the bar off your sternum and into the air. The decline bench does the same thing. For a weak bottom of your bench it is simple, build up strength in the bottom of your pecs. Heavy, power and strength rep ranges should be incorporated, think 3-6 reps per set.
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