So, as I’m writing this it’s Monday, what happens on a Monday? To 99% of the gym goers it’s international chest day but for me it’s Squats (because Squats are life!). The Bench Press is probably the most widely used and popular upper body strength and hypertrophic building movement. How often have you heard “How much to you bench” as the ultimate test of strength question?
As I’ve already looked at Squat and deadlift, I may as well look at the third powerlifting discipline – the bench press. The main focus of the bench press is an upper body movement to increase strength, power and size of the anterior upper body. Again we shall look at the muscles involved (in no specific order) pectorals, triceps, anterior deltoid (shoulders), lats, rhomboids, spinal erectors, forearms and even the glutes.
Now to look at Bench Press variations –
Barbell bench press is the standard and probably most common pressing style used. This movement can be done in a variety of ways. There are different grips such as wide grip or close grip, different bench angles such as incline, flat or
decline and different tempos can be used. All these variations enhance muscular development and pressing performance.
Dumbbell Bench Press – By training with dumbbells, you allow for a greater range of motion (ROM), unilateral
development and can better adjust the angles of movement if you have any shoulder issues barbell bench pressing. Again varieties of dumbbell bench Press can be different bench angles and tempos which can all be used to increase muscular development and pressing performance.
Floor Press – This can be done with both dumbbells and barbells. This variation will have you in a lying start on the
floor. The range of motion is decreased, placing a much greater load on the triceps and chest. This partial bench press variation can be beneficial for lockout strength, added muscular hypertrophy to targeted areas and allow pressing if you have shoulder injuries or precautions.
Finally although not strictly a bench press variation, The Push Up is fundamentally important in the ability to perform a bench press and critical for bench press performance. Without the ability to support yourself on the push up can lead to injury and weakness in supported pressing variations.