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Powerlifting Bench Press

Bench Press Workout Routines

This is the bench press routine area. It will have various routines and training cycles. I will include offseason and contest training routines.

Bench Press Workout 1

Mostly precontest type workout.

Bench Press----------2 to 3 warmups then 4 sets of 5 reps
Competition Pauses---3 singles

This is about all I do on bench day. 4 hard sets five on the bench seems to be enough to keep my strength and technique improving. I would include another day of upper body work. But this is pretty much it for bench day itself.

Although I do reccomend a slightly wider grip for competition training and mass gains. I grip the bar with my middle finger on the rings. The bar does not really move fast, but it will not stop moving. That should be your philosophy. I control the weight down slowly to about nipple level or a little lower, although not super-slow. All the while I am thinking that this mother is going back up. Don't bounce the weight. You bounce and you won't get the lift passed and you could injure yourself. Another mental technique is to not really push the bar, but to push a point an inch or two past it. It makes a difference.

Competition Pauses are done for competition readiness. I am currently training for a meet, so I must include them to get ready. Also I believe that this movement is good for developing explosion in the bench. I pause the weight on my chest for a second and then mentally I hear the press command that a judge would give in competition. That is another helpful mental technique.

Other exercises I feel help the bench include: rack work; decline bench; and DB bench.
Rack work can be useful to work on sticking points in your bench press. If you have a week lockout you would want to set the bar up close to lockout and work with really heavy weights. One way that I like is to set the racks where the bar is just off the chest. I wiggle under the bar and press it from the bottom position. Boy is that tough. It is harder than a pause because you get no prestretch. Also rack work teaches you to keep pushing. You have to keep pushing for awhile sometimes to get the bar to move.
Declines are good because the work the chest more in the manner that it is used during a competition bench press. I reccomend these over the incline press. Just be sure you are lowering the bar to your chest and not your stomach. That does not provide strength benefits. The only reason you can lift heavier weights this way is because the bar doesn't have to move as far. There are no shortcuts to true strength.
DB bench is a good way to work on the start of your bench. I bring the DBs down so that their sides go down to the outside of my chest or torso. I lower them to about the level I lower my bench press, although they might be a little lower. The range of motion is the important thing for this move.

Exercises I don't reccomend include: Press behind the neck; flyes; and benching to the neck.
Press behind the neck is not a real good movement for the shoulders. Presses should be done in front, besides you can use more weight pressing to the front.
Flyes, the shoulder is not really designed to move that way.
Benching to neck can be dangerous, although probably not as bad as the other two I mention above. But it really provides no benefit to the competition bench. I feel the same way about the incline press. Why do it, if it does not help your competition lift.

Bench Press Workout 2

An offseason type workout.

Bench press: 2 sets of 6 to 8 reps
Decline Bench: 2 sets of 4 to 6 reps
Wide grip bench: 2 sets of 4 to 6 reps
OR, Dumbell Bench: 2 sets of about 4 reps

Bench Press:
The 2 work sets are done after about 2 to 3 warmup sets. As you can see by the rep range this is more of an off-season type workout. That is the time you should use to concentrate on your technique. It is alot easier to concentrate on technique when you do not have to concentrate on exploding the weight up on every rep. The percentage of my max I use for these sets is about 75 to 82 percent. That is based on my 1 rep max. For an example if you bench 250 you would use from 185 to 205 pounds. For a 400 pound bencher the numbers are from about 300 to 330 pounds. You can use a calculator to figure out the numbers for your own bench.

Decline Bench:
Before the 2 worksets, you do 1-2 warmup sets. These are more specific to the competition bench press than the more popular incline. There are some important keys to keep in your mind when you do these. Point one is to lower them to not much lower on your torso than your nipples. It does you no good to be a belly bencher. It allows you to use more weight, but only because you do not have to move the bar very far. Another key point is to perform the lift as you do your bench press. This includes smooth and under control movement and generally performing it very similar to your bench press style, whatever that normal style is. You want to do fairly close to your normal technique, but you might want to use you weaker grip.

Wide grip Bench:
You also do 1-2 warmups on these. These are done by taking as wide a grip as you can get and still rack the weight without pinching yourself.

Dumbell Bench:
These are sometimes done instead of wide grip benches. Like the other assistance work these are done after usually 1 warmup set. I do these by taking dumbells all the way down, so that the insides of the dumbells touch the outside edges of my chest. These really help the start of the bench.

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