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The ever-popular bench press has constructed its fame over the previous couple of a long time as a ceremony of passage, a trial by hearth, and a founding member of the powerlifting “huge three.” This train is all that, and extra. The bench press is so widespread that it even has its personal day of the week — “Worldwide bench day” has turn into synonymous with Monday in lots of gyms.

The bench press is a go-to train whenever you’re trying to improve the dimensions and power of your chest, shoulders, and triceps. The soundness of the bench and the fastened vary of movement of the barbell means that you can use extra weight. And shifting extra weight means constructing extra dimension and power.

A person doing a bench press in the gym.
Credit score: YAKOBCHUK VIACHESLAV / Shutterstock

Should you’re on the lookout for a standalone bench-focused exercise to extend power and muscle in your higher physique, you will have come to the suitable place. Let’s dive in under.

Finest Bench Press Exercise For Muscle and Energy

To acquire absolute power, it’s essential to deal with shifting heavier weights, working round 85-90% of your one-repetition most. (1) The cluster set approach offers you all you possibly can deal with on this regard — performing a number of “mini-sets” of low repetitions with heavy weights to build up important quantity. This helps set the desk for extra muscle as a result of a stronger muscle has the potential for extra dimension. After the heavy work, two completely different supersets think about workout routines that effectively improve your chest dimension and power.

The Dimension and Energy Routine

Carry out this exercise as soon as weekly as a part of your higher/decrease physique break up. To progress with the primary train, begin at three full cluster units, do 4 the following week, after which 5. Whenever you’re in a position to do 5 cluster units, add weight. The opposite three bench workout routines begin on the decrease finish of the rep vary and add one repetition every week. When you will have reached the higher vary, improve the load by 5 to 10 kilos and begin the method once more.

Bench Press Cluster Set

The flat barbell bench press needs to be a staple in your routine and your go-to for extra dimension and power everytime you wish to transfer probably the most weight. This benching variation focuses equally in your higher and decrease chest for higher total muscle improvement.

Learn how to Do it: Lay supine on the flat bench, arch your decrease again barely, and plant your ft on the ground. Pull your shoulder blades collectively to boost stability and higher again power. Seize the bar and squeeze your palms laborious to flex your arm and grip muscle mass maximally earlier than unracking the load. Decrease the bar to your sternum/base of your chest. Press the load up, hold your again tight and your shoulder blades pulled collectively.

Units and Reps: 3-5 x (4×2) — Carry out 4 mini-sets of two reps, repeated a complete of three to 5 occasions.

Relaxation time: Relaxation 10 seconds between every mini-set. Relaxation three minutes after every full set.

Shut-Grip Bench Press

The close-grip bench press has your palms set shoulder-width aside and shift the load to your triceps and inside chest. (2) You might not have the ability to raise as a lot weight, however you’ll be coaching your chest and triceps from a special angle for improved muscle improvement.

Learn how to Do it: Arrange as you’d for the flat bench press, however place your palms inside shoulder-width together with your elbows tucked into your physique. Pull the bar out of the rack and get tight. Pull hold your elbows near your ribs whereas reducing the bar to your chest. After you have reached your required depth, press again up till lockout.

Units and Reps: 3-4 x 4-6

Relaxation time: No relaxation earlier than shifting to the following train.

Seated Band Pull-Aside

After two urgent workout routines, you’ll get a break with this straightforward pulling train to strengthen your higher again and sustain the well being of your shoulders. This seated band pull-apart will improve your higher again engagement (due to the steadiness of being seated) with out you leaving the bench.

Learn how to Do it: Sit upright, holding a looped band at shoulder top together with your palms shoulder-width aside. Pull the band aside, protecting your arms practically straight. Preserve your shoulders down and your chest up. Pull till your shoulder blades are collectively and your arms are prolonged to both facet of your physique. Return to the beginning place and repeat.

Units and Reps: 3 x 15-25

Relaxation time: Relaxation two minutes earlier than repeating earlier train.

Single-Arm Dumbbell Bench Press

This single-arm (unilateral) train received’t can help you go as heavy as you would with the barbell bench press, however there’s nonetheless lots to love about this urgent variation. First, you’ll deal with any imbalances between sides of your physique, main to higher muscle improvement and improved joint well being. Second, you’ll have extra freedom of motion, as a result of the dumbbell bench press means that you can modify your grip and arm angle to discover a urgent path that’s snug to your wrist, elbow, and shoulder joints.

Learn how to Do it:  Place one dumbbell in your knee whereas sitting on a flat bench. Lean again and drive the dumbbell towards your shoulder utilizing your knee, whereas urgent the dumbbell up. Decrease the dumbbell, protecting your elbow at roughly 45-degrees out of your physique. Press the dumbbells as much as lockout and repeat. 

Units and Reps: 3-4 x 8-12 reps per arm.

Relaxation time: Relaxation 60 to 90 seconds earlier than shifting to the following train. 

Dumbbell Chest Flye

The dumbbell chest flye is as near a chest isolation train because it will get. This train takes the triceps out of the motion and stretches the pecs for a extra intensive vary of movement, which provides you higher muscle-building potential. (3)

Learn how to do it: Lie supine on a flat bench with a dumbbell in every hand. Start with each arms locked out above your chest. Create a slight bend in your elbows and hold this bend all through the motion. Decrease your arms out to your sides consistent with your shoulders. Whenever you really feel a stretch within the pecs, reverse the movement and squeeze the chest muscle mass to return to the highest place.

Units and Reps: 3 x 8-15

Relaxation time: Relaxation 60-90 seconds earlier than repeating the earlier train.

Chest Anatomy

The chest is a big superficial fan-like muscle, and the 2 chest muscle mass are the pectoralis main and the pec minor. It has two attachment factors — the clavicular head on the higher chest and the sternal head attachment on the mid-to-lower chest. The pec main is in your anterior (entrance) ribcage, whereas the pectoralis minor is a small muscle beneath the pec main.

Credit score: Ihor Bulyhin / Shutterstock

The pec main’s clavicular head originates, as anticipated, in your clavicle’s (collarbone) anterior or entrance floor. The pec main’s sternal head originates on the sternum’s anterior floor. Each muscle heads insert on the humerus (higher arm) and are concerned in most higher physique actions. The 2 main chest features that the coaching above focuses on are:

  • Shoulder flexion — Elevating your arms up by pushing or lifting in entrance of your physique.
  • Horizontal adduction — Bringing your palms (and joints) collectively in entrance of your pecs, as you do throughout a chest flye, bench press, or push-up.

Apart from creating a giant and muscular chest, the pecs are the first “hugging” muscle. Pec dimension and power assist deal with, seize, and fend off opponents within the sporting area, in addition to throw and swing more durable and sooner in the event you play sports activities like soccer, baseball, or tennis. 

Learn how to Heat-Up for Your Bench Exercise

Have you ever ever seen somebody stroll off the road below the barbell and begin urgent away to their coronary heart’s content material? Don’t be that individual, they’re asking for accidents and poor efficiency. Though not warming up might not an enormous situation on uncommon events, over time, it could result in a lower in efficiency and elevated damage danger.

It’s higher to take the time to warm-up and get the blood shifting via your working muscle mass, whereas get your shoulder and elbow joints prepared for motion.

As a result of your higher again and rotator cuffs are concerned within the bench press, remember to carry out any higher again motion that’s efficient for partaking your scapula and rotators — face pulls with exterior rotation or band pull-parts.

After that, a couple of gentle ramp-up units on the bench press (low rep, gentle weight units getting progressively heavier), focusing laborious on partaking your chest muscle mass, may have you able to roll.

Should you resolve to take extra time for an intensive warm-up, take this upper-body prep for a spin. There are a few higher back-focused workout routines right here as a result of your lats and higher again stabilize your chest throughout benching. You’ll must get your again prepared for chest day to totally defend and put together your shoulders and rotator cuff.

  • Face Pull with Exterior Rotation: Safe a resistance band to a secure object at eye-level. Take an overhand grip and step again till your arms are prolonged straight forward. Drive your elbows again consistent with your shoulders whereas pulling your palms to the highest of your head. Within the peak contraction, your thumbs ought to level behind you and your palms needs to be close to your ears. Return to the arms-extended place. Carry out two units of 15 reps.
  • Scapular Push-up: Start in a push-up place, together with your palms and toes on the bottom and your physique straight. Preserve your arms stiff and locked as you pinch your shoulder blades collectively whereas reaching your chest towards the bottom. Drive your palms “via the bottom” as you lengthen your shoulder blades down and push your chest away out of your palms. Carry out two units of 10 reps.
  • Rear Delt Fly: Take a pair of sunshine dumbbells in every hand, or stand in the midst of a lightweight resistance band and maintain every finish. Bend ahead on the waist, practically parallel to the bottom, and let your arms dangle towards the bottom with a slight bend in your arms. Drive your arms up consistent with your shoulders. Don’t permit your arm angle to vary all through the train. Pause briefly earlier than returning to the stretched place. Carry out two units of 12 reps.
  • Spiderman With Rotation: Start in a push-up place, together with your palms and toes on the bottom and your physique straight. Step ahead together with your left leg, aiming to get your foot close to the pinky of your left hand if mobility permits. Preserve your proper leg straight. With out bending your proper arm, raise your left arm to the ceiling, turning your higher physique to permit a full rotation. When your arm is perpendicular to the bottom, really feel a total-body stretch earlier than returning to a push-up place. Alternate sides with every repetition. Carry out two units of 5 reps per facet.
  • Incline Plyo Push-up: Setup close to a secure flat bench or field, in a push-up place together with your palms on the bench, your toes on the bottom, and your physique straight. Decrease your chest towards the bench and explosively drive upwards, letting your palms depart contact with the bench. Catch your self with barely bent arms and brace your core. Take a breath and reset shortly earlier than performing the following repetition. Carry out two units of eight reps.

Completely satisfied Benching

There are a lot of alternative ways to focus on your chest, shoulder, and triceps, however the bench press is the preferred and, doubtlessly, the best instrument. You possibly can construct muscle and power by specializing in a handful of the best actions to enhance the bench press. At all times warm-up your chest and shoulders, after which assault the muscle mass utilizing the in-depth, final bench exercise laid out above. Your Mondays won’t ever be the identical.


  1. Schoenfeld, B. J., Grgic, J., Van Each, D. W., & Plotkin, D. L. (2021). Loading Suggestions for Muscle Energy, Hypertrophy, and Native Endurance: A Re-Examination of the Repetition Continuum. Sports activities (Basel, Switzerland)9(2), 32.
  2. Lockie, Robert & Moreno, Matthew. (2017). The Shut-Grip Bench Press. Energy and Conditioning Journal. 39. 1. 10.1519/SSC.0000000000000307.
  3. Baroni, B. M., Pompermayer, M. G., Cini, A., Peruzzolo, A. S., Radaelli, R., Brusco, C. M., & Pinto, R. S. (2017). Full Vary of Movement Induces Higher Muscle Injury Than Partial Vary of Movement in Elbow Flexion Train With Free Weights. Journal of power and conditioning analysis31(8), 2223–2230.

Featured Picture: YAKOBCHUK VIACHESLAV / Shutterstock



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