Lets talk variation, every body knows bench press, there are still a few out there that don’t realise that a bench press consists of a full range of motion from chest to full lock out.
A 1RM in the Bench Press does not count if your training partner is trying for a all time best upright row at the same time.
Well to keep it simple, if you are a sprinter trying to increase his or her 100m sprint record! You sprint! Marathon runner, keep running! You want a stronger squat you squat! You want to increase your bench press, bench!. Simple . Yea simple. When you been in the game for a while you need to think smarter. The body responds to any thing new or change. If you are in your first few years of powerlifting 1- 5 years just worry about keeping it basic, Squat Bench and Deadlift. I’m going to quote a good friend of mine, John Lockington one of New Zealand’s best ever clay court tennis players. “ Keep it simple stupid” The Kiss principle.
Thinking out side the box. Are you after a big increase in the bench? Been training for a long time? Things are getting stale on the bench? Benching alone is just not cutting the mustard anymore……Lets change our focus to assistance exercises in the Bench. Choosing your assistance bench training should be judged on your week points in the Barbell Bench Press range of motion.
Quick key points to look for:
Failed on chest – Possible week chest or front delts. Rotator cuff.
Failed half way up – Shoulders
Failed over half way – Triceps
Please note this is a rough guild and there could be many other factors involved, injuries, age, weight, body types etc.
Here is a list of bench press variations to help increase your bench press 1RM. This is based on a top international strength coach Louie Simmons. We will hit each discipline for 2 weeks creating a 1RM for each exercise each week.
Floor Bench- Variations (Chains) (Band)
Block Bench – 2 inch / 4 inch / 6inch – Variations (Chains) (Bands)
Carpet Bench – 2 inch / 4 inch / 6inch – Variations (Chains) (Bands)
Bench Press – Variations (Chains) (Bands) (Weight Releasers) ( Close Grip/ Ultra Wide)
Cambered Bench Bar – Block 2 inch / 4 inch / 6inch – Variations (Chains) (Bands)
Rack Lock outs – Variations (Chains) (Bands)
Reverse Band Press – Variations (Chains)
Close Grip Incline – Variations (Chains) (Bands)
Decline Bench Press – Variations (Chains) (Bands)
D.B Bench – Variations (Inc/Decline) (Bands) – D.B’s Turned in/out
Pro-Tricep Bar – Variations (Chains) (Bands)
Pick half a dozen of these exercises create a cycle situation, 2 weeks on one exercise then move on, after 12 weeks you should be back at the start of your rotation cycle, you should be stronger at this point so your 1RM on each exercise should be increased on round 2 .
Don’t forget in your prescribed program you cover heavy shoulder work and Triceps (Plenty of Tricep extensions, 100+ reps per work out twice a week.
Upper back work for thickness, thicker your back and chest is, less distance the bar has to travel plus you have the advantaged of riding up on your shoulder blades though out the bench.
Keep me posted.
Founder of getstrength.com