T Nation

Strength Off the Chest Recommendations


#1

Anyone got any exercise recommendations for strength off the chest when benching. I feel very strong once I get the bar about 4 inches off of chest but just getting it there seems to be the problem. Already doing ME work w/ floor presses, 3 & 4 board presses, 1 Board press w/ bands. I was thinking heavy flat DB work, dips, and low pin presses but was interested to see what others think may help.


#2

dude if you’re doing floor presses and many kinds of board press CLEARLY you’re going to be stronger at the top half of the lift, since ALL of those bench variations only include the top ROM.
If you want to improve upon strength off of the chest, then do what makes sense. Do more benching that involves the lower ROM of the lift. My personal fav for strength off of the chest is an isometric push from the bottom, the safest way to do this is load the bar too heavy, then let it rest on safety pins so that it floats right on your chest. The rest is pretty self explanatory - just push…


#3

Dips and rack presses with pins set right at your chest then press dead weight out of pins.If possible set another set of pins 4-6 inches above bottom so that you have to stay in your weak zone.

maybe try isometric presses as well.


#4

One more thing that needs to be mentioned is that you need to be realistic about how much you can bench. If you hit a weight and then move up 5 pounds and it doesn’t budge off your chest, that is a sticking point. If you hit a weight with difficulty and add on 100 pounds and it doesn’t budge, that is completely different. Everyone’s sticking point with 1000 pounds raw is off the chest.


#5

what about full ROM benching


#6

[quote]Astar wrote:
what about full ROM benching[/quote]

Wait… Benching to get stronger at benching? That is just silly…


#7

[quote]VikingsAD28 wrote:
Astar wrote:
what about full ROM benching

Wait… Benching to get stronger at benching? That is just silly…[/quote]

don’t fault me for trying to think outside the box…


#8

Full range benching, alternated with some of the movements you’re already doing. Keep the Floor Press and 1-Board w/bands. Now add 10 raw singles and 5 sets of 5 into the mix. The DB Flat Press and Dips you can work in as auxiliary movements. Here’s what I mean:

A One Month Bench Cycle (Benching once a week. A second “heavy tricep” day would help if you compete)
Week One: Floor Press 1-3RM followed by 2 sets of 10-15 reps. Legs are straight and pause the bar on each rep.

Week Two: Ten Singles. Start at around 75% of your best bench and add weight whenever you get all 10. Sounds easy huh?

Week Three: One-Board Press against bands 1-3RM, followed by close-grip version 2 sets of 10-15.

Week Four: Bench 5 sets of 5. I like the version where you build up to a difficult 5 reps in 5 sets. You can go 5x5 with same weight of course.

Best of luck.

Add the two auxiliary movements mentioned wherever you see fit and do specific tricep work the other two bench days. Don’t forget upper-back work in your weekly routine.


#9

And, as no one mentioned them, you can use paused bench presses.


#10

[quote]JPuxHenri wrote:
And, as no one mentioned them, you can use paused bench presses.[/quote]

You just beat me to it. :slight_smile:

Yeah, pausing a bench press on your chest for a good 5-6 seconds will help eliminate the stretch reflex and build good power off the chest. Just a warning tho, these are brutal. Have someone else count the seconds for you so you don’t cheat yourself and go light at first.


#11

Actually I was just wondering…what about taking a weight
And then instead of full ROM benching…just bench from your chest, to 1/4 of the way up.
Do that for reps of 5-6 or maybe even up to 8 reps.
This seems pretty logical because you will be stressing all over the muscles that just get teh weight up off the chest.
Of course don’t bounce the weight but make a relatively controlled effort going up from the chest 1/4 way up then back down to chest. repeat.

Might work. might not.


#12

form??? are you staying tight? Lats! Speed work.


#13

Extra wide grip bench to a 6rm


#14

[quote]UpChucker wrote:
form??? are you staying tight? Lats! Speed work.[/quote]

I think form is good --elbows in close, feet digging in, low back arched, squeezing shoulder blades together and lowering bar to nipple line and trying to drive it straight up and not back across the face.

Yea, I’m doing plenty of lat work. At least 2 lat exercises on ME & DE. Typically some type of chin-up/pullup variation and then barbell, DB, or cable row. I also have been doing extra workouts on the day’s after ME & DE workouts which usually includes lat pulldown’s w/ bands or rows w/ bands for 5min. ME days are mondays. DE days are on Fridays. I use purple bands, do 10 x 3. 4 grip variations–3 sets super wide, 3 sets inside the rings, 3 sets narrow, and last set is my normal bench grip. I rotate between 50-60% of 1RM each week.


#15

[quote]ultimatethor wrote:
JPuxHenri wrote:
And, as no one mentioned them, you can use paused bench presses.

You just beat me to it. :slight_smile:

Yeah, pausing a bench press on your chest for a good 5-6 seconds will help eliminate the stretch reflex and build good power off the chest. Just a warning tho, these are brutal. Have someone else count the seconds for you so you don’t cheat yourself and go light at first.[/quote]

Great idea. Have never tried these. Will rotate them into the training. Thanks.


#16

what’s your reason for purposely pressing the bar straight up instead of arcing back??


#17

I read this in a Louie Simmon’s May 2003 article “How to bench press 500 easy” so I have always attempted to bring the bar straight down and press straight back up. Here’s the paragraph on it:

“The bar should be pushed back up in a straight line, not back over the face. This requires strong triceps. This path is a shorter distance and requires no shoulder rotation, which is also much safer. The barbell will always seek the strongest muscle group; that’s why most push the bar over the face. Their delts are stronger than their triceps. But it should be the reverse. One sees a lot of shoulder and pec injuries, but seldom do you see a triceps injury. Why? The triceps have never been pushed to their maximum, potential.”


#18

[quote]obatiger11 wrote:
I read this in a Louie Simmon’s May 2003 article “How to bench press 500 easy” so I have always attempted to bring the bar straight down and press straight back up. Here’s the paragraph on it:

“The bar should be pushed back up in a straight line, not back over the face. This requires strong triceps. This path is a shorter distance and requires no shoulder rotation, which is also much safer. The barbell will always seek the strongest muscle group; that’s why most push the bar over the face. Their delts are stronger than their triceps. But it should be the reverse. One sees a lot of shoulder and pec injuries, but seldom do you see a triceps injury. Why? The triceps have never been pushed to their maximum, potential.”

[/quote]

I could be wrong, but I think a lot of the Westsiders (including me) have started to rethink this. all of what he is saying is true. Obviously, it’s Louie Simmons.

I find that the natural bar path for me is back over the shoulders…no the face. pressing back over the face could definitely lead to injury but pressing back to the shoulders allows the shoulders to come into play as well as the triceps during lockout. pressing straight up, like the article states, is mostly triceps. i would prefer to use as many muscle groups as i can during my bench.


#19

[quote]obatiger11 wrote:
I read this in a Louie Simmon’s May 2003 article “How to bench press 500 easy” so I have always attempted to bring the bar straight down and press straight back up. Here’s the paragraph on it:

“The bar should be pushed back up in a straight line, not back over the face. This requires strong triceps. This path is a shorter distance and requires no shoulder rotation, which is also much safer. The barbell will always seek the strongest muscle group; that’s why most push the bar over the face. Their delts are stronger than their triceps. But it should be the reverse. One sees a lot of shoulder and pec injuries, but seldom do you see a triceps injury. Why? The triceps have never been pushed to their maximum, potential.”

[/quote]

I used to bench this way, and my sticking point was exactly the same (4-5" off the chest). Since I started to drive the bar horizontally (toward my shoulders) while pushing it up, it’s no more a problem (now, the problem is getting overally stronger…but that’s another issue! :slight_smile:

Maybe the “press in a straight line” technique works for lifters using bench shirt (seen also Simmons’ emphasis on tris).

EDIT: Didn’t see Maraudermeat already answered…sorry :slight_smile:


#20

+1 for pushing back

I feel like I can generate more bar speed that way, which gets me thru my sticking point.