The bench press in its commonplace kind is enjoyable whereas it lasts, however repeating the identical type of the elevate from week to week may be monotonous. It will possibly additionally stymie your positive aspects, or a minimum of decelerate your fee of change.
Everyone knows the usual execution of a correct bench press (if not, try this step-by-step explainer), and it’s train. However after some time, you’ll want to combine it up with completely different loading methods, rep schemes, and modalities to maintain stimulating your muscle tissue and construct power. 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 a normal 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 burden 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 increase the bar to a full extension. All of that’s 1 rep.
Specializing in units of three to five reps utilizing this type is right. Bear in mind, the time spent beneath pressure for every rep is for much longer than commonplace bench press.
The 1.5-rep bench press works properly for chest hypertrophy and power as a result of the half-rep parts of the elevate double the chest stimulation earlier than the triceps absolutely enter the motion. From a mechanical perspective, it’s the right solution to actually focus the bench press on the chest muscle tissue.
2. Paused Reps
Pausing mid-rep makes a normal bench press rather more sincere. The how-to is easy: Decrease the burden to the chest beneath management, after which merely freeze for two to three seconds on the chest. Whereas doing so, remember 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 burden up out of the underside place of the bench press rep. Eradicating it kills any momentum and makes every elevate occur from absolute zero.
For paused reps of any kind, remember to scale back the burden accordingly. Your 5-rep max with regular weight gained’t be your paused 5RM. Cut back the burden by 15 to twenty p.c and deal with managing correct approach.
3. Pin Press
The pin press isn’t only a depraved power builder, it’s additionally a really sensible solution to defend your shoulders. That’s particularly vital in case you have a historical past of shoulder damage (this transfer can be useful 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 beneath 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 power.
4. Cluster Units
Clusters are a good way to squeeze extra work out of your muscle tissue with heavy weight. The science behind this variation is easy. Taking a small break halfway by a heavy set permits your vitality shops to partially rejuvenate themselves. That provides 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 burden again off the rack, and carry out 2 extra reps to finish a set. You’ve simply carried out 6 reps along with your 5-rep max. Be sure you relaxation properly between units—2 minutes at a minimal. Do 4 cluster units complete.
5. Cable Bench Press
Switching to cables in a cable rack as an alternative of a barbell bench press creates a flurry of advantages on the subject of hypertrophy. First, cables pressure either side of your physique to work individually. This creates a really completely different demand on stability for every shoulder and likewise makes every pectoral muscle accountable for its personal load. Second, the path of pressure is completely different with cables than with a barbell, which may be useful. In most cable stations, the pulleys might be set out a lot wider than a lifter’s shoulder width. That angle aligns higher with the precise path 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. Preserve reps a bit greater right here; units of 12 to fifteen reps will elicit an superior pump.
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