The bench press is widely considered a foundation exercise. For good reason – this exercise is capable of building your entire upper body, all while simultaneously boosting strength and size! Like many things in life, there is no one perfect way to do this. Depending on your goals you may want to make small modifications to your bench press form to maximize your results.
We are going to show you 3 tried and tested ways you can bench, which will help you reach your goals.
1. Powerlifter Style
You may or may not have seen competitive powerlifters complete a bench press.
If you have, you probably notice their back was curved so strongly it looked as if it would snap at any moment.
The powerlifting style of bench press form allows for a few things:
More weight moved
Less stress on the shoulder girdle
More muscles in the upper and lower body are worked
If your goals are strength or athletics you should try doing your bench press in the powerlifter style.
There are a few crucial components of a powerlifter bench press:
Shoulder blades pinched together tight during the entire movement
Butt cheeks squeezed and touching the bench during the entire movement
Knees at 90 degrees and feet anchored to the ground
Back arched; only your pinched shoulder blades and butt should touch the bench
Bar must touch your chest at the bottom of the movement
If you try the powerlifter bench press, in a few weeks you may be shocked at how much your strength has increased – not only on your bench press, but also on your back exercises.
2. Moderate Incline Bench Press
Hold up – you may think you know about the incline bench press, but this isn’t the one you are familiar with.
This incline bench press involves a moderate incline of only 10-15 degrees – versus the normal 45 degree incline you will see at most gyms.
This is different from the larger incline press because:
This focuses far more on chest muscles – particularly ‘upper chest’ muscles most people who do incline presses are trying to target.
This is far less likely to injure your shoulders.
This will help boost your shoulder exercise performance.
If you perform just moderate incline bench press – supplemented with should presses – you will notice far better results than large incline bench combined with normal bench press and shoulder press.
The moderate incline bench is mostly for people who are trying to build their upper chest, but athletes can also take advantage of the boost it can give to shoulder exercises.
You can do this exercise just by performing a normal bench press, but on a bench with a 10-15 degree incline – this is normally just 1 notch upward on adjustable benches.
3. Close Grip Bench Press
The close grip bench press is probably my favourite arm builder.
Even though it doesn’t involve curling, the sheer load you are able to move with this exercise produces tricep growth most will notice pretty quickly.
It is really quite simple – you perform a normal flat bench press, but with each hand 2-3 inches closer to the center of the bar. 2-3 inches doesn’t sound like much but it means all the difference when you are talking about arm growth – anything more and you may just injure you wrists or shoulders.
If you didn’t already guess, this modification is best for our friends seeking bigger arms. This is an easy arm grower and – trust me – it feels a lot more rewarding than endless curling!
Try one of these 3 easy bench press modifications at your next workout. You have nothing to lose, but you may just notice you’re reaching your goals way faster!