Powerlifters are athletes who aim to lift as much weight as possible in three exercises: the squat, the bench press, and the deadlift. The only exercise that focuses on the upper body, however, is the bench press. Because of this, when you want to strengthen the pectorals and the other muscles of the trunk, it is very useful to imitate the powerlifters and train on the bench. To make the chest workout even more effective, it helps to combine bench presses with other chest-specific exercises.
Bench press exercises are among the main exercises to train the upper body and, specifically, the pectorals. This is why they should play a central role in the training routine when the goal is to strengthen the core muscles. Bench pressing allows you to get stronger lifting as much weight as possible in a few repetitions: in fact, repeating the exercise for a limited number of times allows you to use more weight.
Bench with barbell
When the goal is to increase strength, execute da one to six reps per set and three to six sets for training.
- Lie down on a bench with a barbell resting firmly on a rack about an arm's length away;
- Bring together and depress the shoulder blades, pulling the chest out, planting the feet on the ground and creating as much arching of the portion as possible thoracic - NOT lumbar;
Warning! For those suffering from low back pain, it is advisable to bend the knees, cross the legs and leave them suspended;
- Grasping the barbell with the hands wider than the shoulders - let's say that, strictly speaking, the correct opening would be 190% of the width of the acromions (bony ends of the shoulders);
Note: by regulation, powerlifters cannot exceed 81 cm between one index finger and another, which is why the "longer" athletes may be forced to tighten their grip excessively despite the above criteria.
- Lift the barbell from its place and hold it above your chest with your arms straight.
- Slowly, with control, lower the bar onto your chest, until it just touches your chest.
- Push the bar back in a straight line until your elbows are straight.
After the bench press, it is good to move on to what in technical jargon are called "accessory" exercises, which will help train the muscles that play a fundamental role in bench presses, mainly the chest, shoulders and triceps. These exercises will further develop the chest muscles, which is why they are a must in the chest workout. Both exercises proposed below are a variant of the crosses o aperture, an exercise that consists in bringing the arms on the torso, almost like a bird flapping its wings. In this case they can be done higher repetitions because the movements are designed to build muscle mass, while the bench press serves more to strengthen the muscles.
Crosses or openings with dumbbells
This exercise works on the chest muscles without tiring many other muscles. However, this should only be done if your shoulders are healthy and you can feel a contraction in the chest muscles. To execute three sets of 10 repetitions. Take two dumbbells and lie down on the bench with the weights in hand.
- Push the dumbbells towards the ceiling until your arms are straight. The knuckles of the hands are turned to the side so that the dumbbells line up parallel to the body.
- With your elbows only slightly bent, slowly lower your arms to the side. Continue until the dumbbells are as low as your shoulders. Don't let the dumbbells drop lower than the bench.
- Without bending your elbows, press the weights up and join them at the top to complete one rep.
Side scrolling push-up
This variation mimics the previous movement and involves the chest forcing the arms to join. To execute three sets of six reps on each side.
- Get into a flexion position with a towel under your left hand.
- Slowly descend into a push-up. Slide your left hand to the side with the elbow bent.
- Once you have reached the bottom of the push-up, slowly slide your left hand in and press up with your right hand until you are back at the top of the push-up position. Repeat on the other side.
Incline bench lifts
With this exercise, you train the lower chest area, which will help to give your chest and chest a defined, well-rounded look. As this is a challenging exercise to master, start with a lighter weight or no weight on the barbell to improve your execution first and master the movement. To execute one to six reps per set and three to six sets for each chest workout.
- Lie down on an incline bench and grasp a barbell with your hands, which should be in line with the shoulders or slightly outside.
- Widen your shoulder blades and press them onto the bench to create more stability.
- Make sure your legs are in the correct position with your knees bent on the bench cushion and your feet flexed under the roller. This will prevent you from sliding backwards.
- The bar should be level with the lowest chest, but not resting heavily on the chest.
- Press up with control until your arms are straight. Inhale and unlock your elbows, letting the bar descend slowly and with control in a straight line to your lower chest.
- Let the bar lightly touch your chest but don't lean on it before starting the next rep.