The bench press is one of the most popular chest and strength exercises performed. While many would like to continue to increase their bench press they find it difficult to break through plateaus that can stagnate their strength on the lift. In this video, KC Mitchell joins me to show you three more bench press accessory exercises that will assist you in increasing your traditional bench press totals as fast as possible.
The key behind the success of these lifts is that it takes you away from doing the straight bench press. Contrary to what some believe, the most successful bench pressers in the world almost all spend more time doing lifts other than the bench press in a given training block. For instance, while the bench press, done traditionally, will be done once a week…the variations of the bench and the other accessory movements to the bench will be done far more frequently.
Last year, KC came by the gym and discussed three of his favorite accessory lifts for the bench. These were the lean back pulldown, barbell floor press and the seated shoulder press. Each of these lifts was performed with a different purpose in mind. They all had in common the fact that they were able to positively impact the bench by strengthening a different portion of the lift.
This time around, we were back in the gym and wanted to show a few more variations that could improve your bench press gains. The first is the pause bench. Due to the fact that each rep is going to be paused and held in the bottom of the rep, the time under tension will obviously increase but more importantly, the momentum of the rep will be removed. The stretch shortening cycle will be taken out of the equation and pure strength and leg drive will be responsible for moving the weight off the chest.
This is great for those that still struggle to feel the contribution of leg drive to their bench press that was talked about in the last video we did on the exercise.
Next, we address a variation of the floor press. This time instead of doing it with a barbell we use dumbbells. Not only are they easier to set up with in a crowded gym but they provide the additional stability benefits that are inherent to using dumbbells and help to groove the elbows and wrists into their proper position on the rep. The limited adduction that occurs with a fixed barbell is also something that is able to be overcome by splitting the load into two hands which can help those that fail to feel the contraction in their chest to finally feel it.
Finally, the static incline dumbbell presses are an amazing variation that will have high carry over to the bench press. Not only are you learning to develop isometric strength that will compliment your concentric strength on the lift but you are having to learn how to tap into a deeper well of concentric strength because of the fatigued state that you will find yourself in after the isometric contraction. These are tough but very helpful and will certainly carry over to the pause bench discussed earlier as well.
The use of accessory lifts in training cannot be understated. Too often, people continue to bang away at the lift they are trying to get stronger on failing to realize how likely it is that they will not see significant strength gains (or at least fast ones) by continuing to do that. Instead, by instituting bench press variations, they are providing a unique stimulus for their muscles that tends to provide a stimulus for better neural connection and ultimately performance on the traditional lift when you go back to it.
If you’re looking for a program that builds these accessory bench press movements right into the plan exactly when you should do them for best gains, be sure to head to the link below and check out the TOTAL BEAXST program from ATHLEAN-X.
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