Ahoy Brigadiers & Pirates of the Playground! Did you know the paradox for developing a better bench press and, ultimately, pectoral muscles starts not with the chest but the back. A strong back and stable shoulder capsule is the foundation of developing a bench press. To develop a powerful bench press, priority must be placed upon learning proper technique and developing the rear deltoids (and shoulder capsule), triceps and upper back.
Occasionally older Brigadiers set on a path of athletic greatness ask my advice on traditional ‘gym’ movements such as the Bench Press. While my preference is achieving fitness goals at the local park or playground, there are some instances while adventuring in R-World I feel a need to support a local gym and one of the most common, but poorly executed movements is the Bench Press. Well, have no fear, we are going to correct those bad habits today, and set your sails towards building a proper foundation for the Bench Press with the help of Brigadier Coach John Davies of the Mascot Brigade.
Of note, for those Brigadiers looking to achieve greatness in sport my personal preference and recommendation is you consider “Kneeling Medicine Ball Chest Throws” in lieu of the Bench Press.
Bench Press Technique for Bodybuilding
The first step of developing your Bench Press must be technique and ensuring optimal mechanical function which will lower the risk of injury. Once technique is secure and the individual possesses sufficient shoulder capsule and upper back strength, subtle changes with bench angles can have a pronounced effect upon muscular growth and development.
Fix your mind and envision the press.
Sit on the bench with feet flat on the floor, spread sufficiently to provide a stable platform. Do not place feet on the bench haphazardly or this will GREATLY increase the risk of injury. It will NOT improve isolation of the chest musculature.
Pinch the shoulder blades back firmly as you lay down, sliding upwards on the Bench such that eyes are approximately underneath the line of the bar.
Think ‘tight torso’. With a 'tight torso' and proper placement of the feet, a modest and natural arch of the back will occur.
Reach up and FIRMLY grasp the bar across the heel of the hands. The thumbs ABSOLUTELY must be wrapped around the bar; otherwise, you can run the risk of a LIFE THREATENING injury.
Vary grip width to avoid adaptation. It should be noted that most bodybuilders will naturally lean towards a wider grip for greater emphasis upon the pectoral muscles and less upon the triceps.
With your dedicated spotter, prepare and count down for a proper ‘lift off’. The emphasis here is upon a ‘dedicated’ spotter who controls the bar out of the forks and only disengages when signaled by the lifter.
Lower with CONTROL and NEVER BOUNCE the bar.
In my early training days, to learn proper control, a piece of balsam wood would be placed on the chest with firm instruction that the bar should touch but not break the wood. CONTROL the bar, do not let it CONTROL YOU.
Lower the bar with complete control, in essence ‘pulling down’ with your ‘lats’, to approximately nipple- level with a momentary pause (remember to maintain absolute control and muscular tension) before driving upwards with speed.
Remember to place emphasis upon the eccentric phase.
For optimal muscular size, it is best to keep the rep range of the bench press on the higher side, i.e., 8 to 15 repetitions. Given the emphasis upon the eccentric portion of the movement (two to three times faster than the concentric), this will provide an optimal ‘time under tension’ setting. Training the bench press within bodybuilding is generally best within a five day split, but I cannot say it enough; it is critically important to develop the shoulder capsule and upper back! In addition to pull-ups and chin-ups, a regular component to all Back training, the STS™ system, will greatly assist shoulder capsule strength.
Big Bench Blueprint Workout Dumbbell Bench Press:
4 sets x 10-12 repetitions Dips (angled bars | weighted preferable): 4 sets x 6 repetitions Incline Flies (45°): 3 sets x 12 repetitions Barbell (or E-Z curl bar) pullovers: 3 sets x 12 repetitions
And there you have it Brigadiers and Pirates of Play, yes with hard work and a good training play you too can look like Beachbody Bert. - Mascot Coastee
Disclaimer The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RightCoastPro, MascotBrigade, Renegade Training, or any employee thereof. Examples used within this article are only examples. RightCoastPro or the MascotBrigade are not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the authors of this article. The information provided in this article, as well as this web-site blog is intended for informational and educational purposes only and should not be interpreted as medical advice for any condition. Always consult a qualified medical professional before beginning any nutritional program or exercise program. The information provided in this column is not medical advice and relying upon it shall be done at your sole risk.
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