The bench press is often the favoured exercise within the gym environment for young men who crave size and even more perhaps that title as a ‘’strong dude.’’ The saying goes the same in every gym up and down the country, ‘’how much do you bench?’’ Well, today we are going to explore this exercise in a bit more detail, discuss some of the benefits and beyond that some of the best variations we feel will help you add size and strength. Sound fun!? Good.
A lot of people who bench heavy make the same mistakes. They don’t bring the bar down to their chest in a controlled fashion, they bounce the bar off their chest/rib cage and they often have their lower back up in the air creating a recipe for disaster. So before we discuss variations please remember the following –
. If you cannot lower the bar down with control it is too heavy
. If you have to bounce the bar off your chest/rib cage to lift it then the weight is too heavy
. If you have to bring your lower back off the bench several inches in the air then it is too heavy
Back to basics.
Moving forward, below are 3 of our favourite variations of the bench press. Used right you can unlock new levels of potential in size and strength!
Decline Bench Press
Dorian Yates is a massive fan of this exercise which in itself tells you something – you don’t win 6 Mr Olympia titles with less than perfect genetics without knowing a thing or two about training. Using a decline bench press creates a fantastic angle for total pec stimulation, rather than just the lower area so many people believe it is for. More than that it places less pressure on the shoulder joints, making it a safe choice. This is a staple exercise in our book!
This exercise is championed by a lot of physique coaches and it has to be said, it doesn’t half hit your pecs in a way no other exercise will. In contrast it does need to be done with a lot of care and more than that it isn’t suitable for anyone with shoulder issues. This exercise is meant to be done with slightly less weight than usual, strict form and more reps (12+).
Close Grip Bench Press
There is often this idea that close grip only hits the triceps and regular grip only hits the pecs. The thing is, a regular bench press will hit your triceps in a major way and some close grip variations hit your chest. We love this exercise for overall mass and power. Look at any powerlifter and they will shift big pundages on this exercise.
Use the bench press with intelligence and care to reach new heights in the gym!