The Bench Press

The best upper body exercise. The end all be all, the most popular piece of equipment in the gym. The answer to the most important question of all time: "how much do you bench bro?"

And before reading on, yes ladies bench press is amazing for you as well.

How's that for an intro?  I'm guessing you’re on the edge of your seat, ready to speed through this so you can tear me a new one. And some are getting comfortable, anticipating reading something that confirms what they already believe.

Let me clarify, for the goals of improved strength, increased muscle size, improved athletic function and general fitness, the bench press is the best for the upper body, contended only by the push press. Bench press is easy to tear down. Oh, what, you lay on a board, pushing a perfectly symmetrical load away from your body, when does that happen in real life. Name a sport where anything like that happens?

Furthermore people who are good at bench press are typically slow, barrel chested, and arms so internally-rotated that it looks like they are constantly scooping air behind them as they walk. I've heard it all and I’m here to let you know, its B.S.

The problem with knocking the bench press out, is you have to put something else in its place. If you value upper body pushing motion, you'll need something to replace it. And if you value your pecs, delts, lats, and triceps, along with many many supporting muscles, you'll need something to accomplish that as well.

A good Pressing or Bench program will have a starting point and an end goal in mind, as well as a very non biased way to get there. Kind of like a road map. There is one way that focuses on lock out strength and stability and another way of building a support system of a heavy bar floating over your face, neck and sternum. All methods have a reason behind them.

We also should focus on speed/power and sticking points.  A typical 5x5 program is wonderful to gain a few more pounds on that PR, but if you would like to see that needle continue to move in the right direction without constantly hitting plateaus, we need to keep things interesting. Using different types of bars, resistance levels, different angles to push from and of course hitting those accessories to ensure we don't have any imbalances or weaker points. 

Yes the bench press with the correct amount of bracing will strengthen all of the muscles needed, but what if you’re a teacher and constantly write on the board with your right arm above your your head and a small tilt in your hips to the left. Now we have an imbalance you didn't even realize you had, that can be helped with isolating accessory lifts.

The goal of this program is to practice the bench press lift but spend the majority of your time in the gym building your bench. What I mean by that, is putting full intensity in to what will build or strengthen your bench press numbers by attacking the building blocks of what makes it a powerful movement. We ask you not ignore the things in this program that doesn't sound fun or things you haven't done before. Wobble sticks, chains, weird name exercises and so on.

Doing the same lift the same way over and over is going to create that guy mentioned above who cant lift his arms over head but will brag about his bench press back in collage for the next 20 years.

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