Go into a gym on any Monday during the year and you see lines of gym goers waiting on the few benches on the gym floors.For most people, the bench press is a right of passage for anyone who has touched a barbell. Some people say that it’s a waste of time. No matter what side you’re on, we can all agree that watching someone press 2 times their body weight with good form is an impressive sight.
When you’re under a heavy bench, every part of your body shakes. You get cramps in your abs and lower back from bracing. Your quads shake from using leg drive. Every part of your body is involved in benching when you’re doing it properly. Even your hands hurt because you grip the barbell with all your might. Here’s a list of muscles worked when you bench.
- Triceps- These are the prime movers of the bench. The pecs are not activated as much as people think.
- Anterior deltoids (front part of the shoulder)
- Taps (secondary mover)
- Upper back (secondary mover)
With all it’s variations, the bench press can can be used to develop an awesome upper body. You don’t have to make it the primary movement in your weight training program, you just need the right amount of stimulation to keep you healthy and keep you growing. 6-9 sets of any of the following exercises with 8-12 reps can increase your strength and change your body with a little hard work.
- Flat barbell bench
- Incline barbell bench
- Flat dumbbell bench
- Incline dumbbell bench
- Machine variations of the exercises above
One of the good things about the bench is that you don’t need a lot of equipment.
- Wrist wraps- you want to keep your wrists supported. The last thing you want is the barbell crashing down on you because you couldn’t support it.
- The Slingshot- If you want to overload your bench (use more with that you usually would with some assistance) to help with improve performance you need a slingshot. It’s a big help and I’ve used it for a while.
So how do you do it? Here’s how.
- Sit on the bench
- Lay back and position yourself on the bench so your nose if directly under the racked bar.
- Place your feet firmly on the floor
- Grab the bar at a comfortable with and squeeze the bar…hard.
- Tighten your upper back and unrack the bar
- Do a “leg extension” any try to push yourself off the back of the bench
- Tighten your glutes and lower the bar under control
- Touch (don’t bounce) the bar to your chest and reverse directions.
- Lock the rep out by moving the bar to the starting locations.
- Complete your prescribed number of reps and re-rack the bar.
Here’s a video that will help give you an understanding of what I’m talking about.