For many people, the bench press is one of the big three lifts, along with squats and deadlifts, that is the cornerstone of building mass. “How much can you bench?” is a common question and a way that many people compare themselves when considering upper body strength. So what is the key to making sure that your bench press number is high? Along with hard work, it is all about your bench press workout.
There are a lot of different chest workouts. Some like dumbbells, other utilize a mix of strength and shaping exercises, but nothing beats a classic bench press workout for adding size and increasing upper body strength.
The Ultimate Bench Workout
Warning, this is not for the faint of heart or people that plan on living their days looking like a stick-figure. This bench press workout is meant to be done on a day for chest, triceps, and shoulders. It is completely geared towards building more strength and power in the bench press along with muscle size. This workout attacks normal areas of weakness.
Make sure you warm up with light cardio for 15 minutes to get the blood flowing. Next do at least two rotator cuff exercises to get the blood flowing in the joints. Rotator cuffs are generally a weak point for many people when pressing heavy weight. Finally spend at least 3 to 5 minutes stretching the shoulders, triceps, and pectoral muscles before you start.
You will be going to complete failure on the final work set.
- Weighted Dips – 3 sets of 6 to 10 reps – on the final set do a drop set, reducing the weight 15-20% at least 2 times and going to failure.
- Military Press – 3 sets of 6 reps
- Triceps Pushdown – 3 sets of 6 reps
- Incline Barbell Press – 3 sets of 6 to 8 reps
- Decline Barbell Press – 3 sets of 5 to 7 reps
- Dumbbell Flat Bench Press – 3 sets of 6 to 8 reps – on the last set do rest-pause with 10 second rest periods until you cannot lift the weight anymore.
- Dumbbell Flyes – 2 sets to failure with at least 10+ reps each set.
After your workout spend another five minutes stretching hard while the muscles are pumped up then stretch the next day as well to alleviate soreness.
Focus on the Results
Many people will look at this routine and wonder, “where is the bench press?” Yes, you actually do zero flat benches in this bench press workout. The reason is that for most people keep doing the same thing over and over expecting gains when they aren’t targeting the actual problem; the weak links.
Your front deltoids and triceps are usually the problem when it comes to bench press power; they just can’t handle the weight you want to put up. This program starts with hard work on the shoulders and triceps, and then you work the upper and lower chest before finally focusing on the middle chest. Even then the dumbbell presses and flyes focus on a fuller range of motion. The end result is that you will shore up weak points in all three muscles.
Stretching and rotator cuff work are just as critical as the actual work itself. The more you lengthen the muscles, the less chance of injury and greater flexibility during the lift. The cuffs are a potential breaking point in the bench press motion.
The bottom line is that this is one serious bench press workout. If you follow it religiously then results will not be far behind. Use it for at least 4 weeks before trying your normal chest routine to see how much stronger you are in this core lift.