Bench Only Powerlifting - Lower Body Power or Higher Rep?

For someone who competes in bench only meets, would it be better to work the lower body for power with low reps, heavier weights, or use a more ‘bodybuilder’ type approach with higher reps and lower weight?

How much of a carry over to the bench will a person get from power training the lower body? Would there be a benefit to the better recovery and lower injury risk of higher rep work?

I should note also that I compete bench only due to a lower body disability. I can safely perform box squats and rack pulls. I currently perform box squats for power, with higher reps on the rest of my lower body work.

I would do a powerbuilding style approach. A strong body is always stronger than just a stronger upper body.


I’ve known two guys at our gym that did Bench Only meets and they did absolutely zero work for their lower body. Their justification was that they didn’t want the added muscle mass on their legs so they could compete at lower weight classes. It worked. I think their training consisted mainly of powerlifting specific work for the bench press and some bodybuilding work for mass for the rest of the upperbody. I believe one competed at 181 I’m pretty sure, here is a video of him from several years back…

1 Like

There is an interview with Dennis Cieri on powerliftingwatch, he says he squats 225x10x3 once a week. I think he switched to bench-only because of an injury though, he said he squatted over 500 in competition before.

In your case, it depends on what your priorities are. Getting stronger is never a bad thing, even if you can’t compete in the squat and deadlift. Don’t do so much that it takes away from your bench training, but if you can then why not?

1 Like

A guy at the gym has spina bifida, limited in his exercises for lower body he does do leg presses and hack squats, but cant balance squats or deadlifts. But ive seen him nail 295 at 140 in the bench.
We also have competitive bencher 740 at 98 ? Who just does like 315 for ten on squats, he dont want to compete at 220, but want s some tone.
I do think a bubble butt of a huge squatter moght help arch.
As reference can somebody upload SNL scit whats ya bench.

1 Like