Board Presses Before Regular Bench or Instead of Bench?

I might be over-thinking this, but I’ve decided to add in some board pressing to help with my sticking point on the bottom of my bench. I’ve worked out form kinks, and gotten as far as I can with other methods, so I’ve just bought some boards. My only question though, is do I continue to do my regular benching routine, and just add the board presses before that? Or do I add the board presses in after I do my regular benching? Or even just replace benching with board pressing for now?

I don’t think of board presses as helping with bottom end sticking points. Mid-range and lockout, yes.


Most coaches seem to recommend pauses or extended ROM movements (at the lower end, like wide grip and not the top like close grip) and sometimes bands to promote exploding off the chest for benchers who are weak off the chest.

But anyway, usually variations go after the competition lifts. You can replace the variation with the main movement if you want. You probably wouldn’t want to do this for an extended period. But really, if you were weak off the chest and spent a month doing board presses in place of bench, I wouldn’t be surprised to come back to a weaker comp bench.


If you’re trying to make changes to the way you bench press, your comp benches should be Lighter than normal. If the weight is too heavy or challenging you’ll just revert to the flawed technique you usually use.

And its pretty normal for your bench press (or any lift) to go Down at first when you start making adjustments to technique. It could be frustrating to try to run your old program with a “new” max.

So maybe it’s not crazy to 1 Board Press first, then “bench” as an accessory after, just for a limited time, just while this is your focus.

What’s up with the bottom of your bench press? Does your chest fall and your shoulders slump forward, or do you lose your arch and back tightness at the bottom? If sure be sure not to “sink and heave” or cheat on the boards.

I guess I’m confused then, what are board presses for? I had thought that larger boards were for concentrating on lockout, and shorter boards were for off the chest.

Currently when I fail it’s because I just can’t push off my chest; I hold the arch pretty well actually, even when I fail.

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You need to be doing 2 and 3 count pauses then. And maybe some floor presses (paused) with your feet flat.

I worked out at the gym Charles Bailey trained and pretty close friend of his. He was what I would call a very successful powerlifter.

When Charles did board presses, it was all he did for that bench press routine. He did 1,2,or 3 boards, but usually only one of the three during that day’s training. (He did mostly the three power lifts, with various exercise alterations of each lift, and very little supplemental training.)

They let you overload the top of the range of motion, so you could focus more on your finishing strength. More boards is just for different sticking points. So one-board is maybe bottom of mid-range and three-boards at lockout. Also, more boards would just let you handle more weight: sometimes there’s a reason just to get more in your hands.

Pause reps. Lighter sets of 5 but only push from chest to half way up then bring it back down again. Keeps the pressure/strain on the pecs/front delts where you need to get stronger in the bottom.

Partial reps (from chest to half way up). Do these normally. Up and down no rest or pauses during the reps.

If you’re a raw bencher, you need very strong front delts and pecs at the bottom.

You’re technique where you touch may be flawed as well. Make sure your wrist and elbow are lined up perfectly vertical (straight up and down) from each other. If you don’t touch low enough you’re putting a ton of unnecessary strain on your shoulders. Touching lower also involves the lats allowing bigger muscles to get involved with the lift.

Use those 2 methods as part of your normal work. I’d suggest one of them one week and the other a different week. This WILL work. It works for everyone weak off the chest.

Boards are good for the triceps. At some point your strength off the chest will surpass your strength to lock out a weight.

For you I’d suggest any board work be done as assistance, heavy tricep work after the main work.

I’d also add in a slingshot after your main work to get used to the heavier weight. Strengthens you overall and gives confidence with the heavier weight.


Week 1 - Partial reps chest to half way up 3-5 reps per set. Stay around 60-75% for reps. Add in 2-3 sets of 2 board work afterwards heavier than 75%.

Week 2 - Pause reps chest to half way up 3-5 reps per set. Same %s. Add in slingshot 2-3 sets heavier than 75%.

In a month cycle it could look like this:
1- normal bench - heavy accessory work.
2 - partial reps + 2 board work - light accessory work.
3 - same as week 1
4 - pause partial reps + slingshot work - light accessory work

Happy benching! You’ll do great! This will work!