The bench press in its commonplace type is enjoyable whereas it lasts, however repeating the identical fashion of the carry from week to week will be monotonous. It might additionally stymie your beneficial properties, or a minimum of decelerate your charge of change.
Everyone knows the usual execution of a correct bench press (if not, try this step-by-step explainer), and it’s an excellent train. However after some time, you’ll want to combine it up with completely different loading strategies, rep schemes, and modalities to maintain stimulating your muscle tissue and construct energy. The bench press variations under are nice methods to shake up your typical bench routine.
The Greatest Bench Press Variations to Spice Up Your Lifting Routine
1. 1.5-Rep Bench Press
For this, you’ll nonetheless want an ordinary barbell bench press setup. Both use a bench press rack or create one by sliding a bench and security latches to the suitable locations in a squat cage. To carry out a 1.5-rep bench press, unrack the load and decrease it to the chest in a managed movement. Pause for half a second, after which transfer the barbell up, stopping midway between a completely lowered place and an arms-extended place (the highest of a typical bench press). Maintain that midway place for a second. Subsequent, decrease the bar to the chest, pause, after which elevate the bar to a full extension. All of that’s 1 rep.
Specializing in units of three to five reps utilizing this fashion is good. Keep in mind, the time spent underneath pressure for every rep is for much longer than commonplace bench press.
The 1.5-rep bench press works effectively for chest hypertrophy and energy as a result of the half-rep parts of the carry double the chest stimulation earlier than the triceps absolutely enter the motion. From a mechanical perspective, it’s the proper strategy to actually focus the bench press on the chest muscle tissue.
2. Paused Reps
Pausing mid-rep makes an ordinary bench press rather more sincere. The how-to is straightforward: Decrease the load to the chest underneath management, after which merely freeze for two to three seconds on the chest. Whereas doing so, make sure to stay tight, and don’t permit your chest to sink in towards the bench whereas paused.
Pausing removes the stretch reflex that almost all lifters use to assist “sling” the load up out of the underside place of the bench press rep. Eradicating it kills any momentum and makes every carry occur from absolute zero.
For paused reps of any type, make sure to scale back the load accordingly. Your 5-rep max with regular weight received’t be your paused 5RM. Cut back the load by 15 to twenty % and deal with managing correct method.
3. Pin Press
The pin press isn’t only a depraved energy builder, it’s additionally a really sensible strategy to defend your shoulders. That’s particularly necessary if in case you have a historical past of shoulder damage (this transfer can be useful if in case you have lengthy arms). In a pin press, the barbell will get blocked by security latches (pins) earlier than it reaches chest stage, so the shoulders are spared from a susceptible backside place deep within the gap.
Place a bench in a squat cage and set the security latches about 3 to five inches above the extent of your chest. Place the bar on the latches and slide into place underneath the bar so it’s positioned over your nipple line. Draw the shoulder blades collectively, grip the bar, and drive it as much as full extension. Maintain on the high for a 1-second depend. Decrease the bar again to the pins, and let it settle earlier than commencing the subsequent rep. Pause one other second and repeat. Use units of three to six reps for elevated energy.
4. Cluster Units
Clusters are an effective way to squeeze extra work out of your muscle tissue with heavy weight. The science behind this variation is straightforward. Taking a small break halfway by a heavy set permits your power shops to partially rejuvenate themselves. That offers your muscle tissue simply sufficient juice to squeeze out an additional rep or two.
To do them, load the barbell to your 5-rep max weight. Carry out 4 reps earlier than racking the bar. Relaxation for 15 seconds, take the load again off the rack, and carry out 2 extra reps to finish a set. You’ve simply carried out 6 reps together with your 5-rep max. You should definitely relaxation effectively between units—2 minutes at a minimal. Do 4 cluster units whole.
5. Cable Bench Press
Switching to cables in a cable rack as an alternative of a barbell bench press creates a flurry of advantages in relation to hypertrophy. First, cables pressure all sides of your physique to work individually. This creates a really completely different demand on stability for every shoulder and in addition makes every pectoral muscle liable for its personal load. Second, the route of pressure is completely different with cables than with a barbell, which will be helpful. In most cable stations, the pulleys shall be set out a lot wider than a lifter’s shoulder width. That angle aligns higher with the precise route the pectoral muscle fibers journey—the pec’s position is to adduct the higher arm (or pull it inward towards the physique). Doing a bench press with cables combines a typical press sample with a flye sample due to the fixed inward pressure you’ll have to use all through every rep.
There are few simpler coaching choices for chest hypertrophy than utilizing a pair of cables. Mix this transfer with decrease relaxation intervals (or create a superset or compound set with one other press sample, like pushups) and you’ve got a surefire recipe for constructing muscle. Hold reps a bit greater right here; units of 12 to fifteen reps will elicit an superior pump.
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