T Nation

Board Press Progressive Movement Training


#1

What is “the best” way to utilize the board press as a max effort accessory lift (completed after your major full range of motion compound exercises), with the goal of using partial range of motion to improve your full range of motion lift??

My plan is to start with a 5 board board press and pick a weight I can do 2-3 reps. After I am able to do 5-6 reps (in 2-3 weeks) of the same weight, I will remove a board and repeat the process with the same or slightly less weight. Then in 2 weeks, go to 3 board. Then 2 board, and probably 1 board, or I might just skip to no boards.

I’m tempted to just skip from 5 boards to 3 boards because I think my sticking point is around the 2-3 board area. Usually if the weight is high enough, I’m gonna lock it out. So you might say “just do board press with 2 or 3 boards then.” I would, but I can do more weight with a 4 or 5 board and I want to get my body used to lifting more weight, even if the range of motion is less. What do you guys think??


#2

“The best” way is to use it to get stronger at your weak point within that range of motion.

Pretty much, yes.

It doesn’t work like that (in my opinion). Unless there is some kind of mental block you have where you need to feel a slightly heavier weight in your hand before it gets closer to your chest, you are just wasting your time using 4 or 5 boards.

Work your weak point, thats how your competition lifts will get stronger.


#3

If you are failing around the 2-3 board range, like the majority of raw lifters, then it’s more often than not that you are weak/slow off the chest. Starting out at higher levels than this will do nothing for your bench, because you won’t have the momentum to get past your sticking point. Sure you will have a strong lockout, but what’s the point if you can’t get the bar high enough past your sticking point. I would stick to one and two boards, floor presses and pin presses and if you want to overload and get the feeling for heavier weight throw in higher boards after or get a slingshot.

By starting out at higher boards, for most raw lifters you would be working backwards. I like high boards for direct triceps work, but for directly building your competition bench it won’t do much unless that is where you are sticking. I do like overloading from high pins, boards, and slingshot to help me settle into and get comfortable with heavier weights, but you would be better served prioritizing starting strength or even reversal strength by accentuating the eccentric and isometric portions of the lift. This type of training itself I wouldn’t get into much without doing a little research on triphasic training.


#4

Thanks for the replies!

I suppose my reason for wanting to use the 5 board is because of the fact that you can’t press a weight with full range of motion if you can’t even hold it. At least, this has worked well for my rack pulls. Also because PMT has worked well for rack pull/deadlift, I thought it could be applied to the bench press as well.

But perhaps bench press can’t be compared to a pulling exercise. Also, if I really want to get the feel of heavier weights, maybe I am better off training w/ 2-3 boards and then finishing w/ a couple sets of 4-5 boards and heavier weight.

Regarding pin press, I’ve done it. Don’t like it. It feels weird and I’d rather have something on my chest I can press off of. As for floor press, I have done them. A floor press for me is about a 4 board press. And for some reason, I’m weaker on floor press than I am on bench press. Maybe I just need to practice the lift more.

What are the advantages to sticking to one or two boards? I’ve thought (and I might be wrong), that at 1 board, you’re so close to the chest you might as well just press off the chest.


#5

My competition bench max i about a triple to a 1-board, so there is definitely some assistance there with the shorter range of motion. My sticking point is a few inches off my chest so I pretty much stick to 1 and 2 boards if I’m doing board work. What you are doing is building reversal and/or starting strength from the point that the bar touches the board. The thought being that if you do this at your weak point, you will build enough strength to be able to push through it eventually at least up to a higher weight.


#6

With pressing off 1 or 2 boards, for me, it just means I have 1.5-3" less ROM to build momentum to get up to and past my transition point to where my triceps reach peak engagement. As for floor presses, mine is weaker as well as is probably most people’s. If you’re pausing in the bottom, most of your stretch reflex is eliminated and if your legs are laid straight, you are eliminating leg drive. My floor press is in between a 1-2 board and carries over well for me. Pin pressing can be dangerous and if it feels uncomfortable I personally wouldn’t do it. I get allot out of any type of pin movements, but they’re not for everyone.


#7

I’ve done something similar to what you’re talking about. Only I never went over 3 board (don’t think there’s much use for raw lifter going higher), and I did it in place of speed benching.
Put a weight slightly over my max and banged out some reps off of 3board. Then next week a tripple or a double of a 2 board, and third week a double of 1 board. Deloaded for a week and repeated same thing with +5 pounds or did same weight for more reps. Realy strenghtened that mid portion of my banch, witch alot of us strugle with


#8

Interesting. I was starting to think you guys were saying PMT is not very effective. Now, I understand its not that PMT is not effective, its that I have to consider training specificity. That is, I can get really strong on a 5 board press but thats almost 100% triceps and near 0% chest. So, when I remove a board or two, I will have to deal with my weak chest.

I’ve noticed this problem with rack pulls as well. when starting from around 2 inches above the knee, I could get really strong in that range of motion. But, when I lowered the pins to knee height I realized that doing it so far above the knee isn’t specific enough to the deadlift so it doesn’t train the movement pattern the same as if I was at the knee or below.

That said, I think I’m going to stick with PMT using a 3 board. Each weak I will remove a board and then test my standard flat bench press. Still might use a 5 board for triceps every now and then.

Regarding speed benching, I’ve never done it, but I’m considering working them into my routine. I have a volume day (usually lighter weight, more reps) and intensity max effort day. I’m thinking board press will be an accessory exercise on my intensity days, and I might speed bench on my volume days. Does that sound reasonable?


#9

Yes. Very reasonable. Also, nobody is going to kick you in the dick if you use 5 board. You can always try it and see how it works


#10

All laid out here, especially 5:00 mins onwards…


#11

You may even want to make a board that’s half the thickness of the regular boards so you can go down in smaller increments.