You will probably think for a big bench you need a big chest. Wrong! Even the 700lb Bench Presser Jim Williams knew, only a big chest will not make you super strong. Bench Pressing affects your whole upper body. Thus to become successful you need to train even your lats and wrists!
Most important parts for a good bench press according to Big Jim
(1) Forearms – wrist and deltoids
(2) Biceps an triceps
(4) Lats ands upper back
While pressing you need strong well wrapped wrists. Your wrist have to be straight. If the wrist bends there will be no step back. According to Big Jim if the wrist is very strong, you will never suffer any negative feelings when benching with heavy weights.
Training the wrist will automatically affect the forearms. Weak wrists put strain on the forearm, thus a golfarms could occur. Strong wrists will protect you from negative feelings and injuries.
Big Jim trained well the wrist and forarms. It prevented him from sore lower arms. Look at the picture. He had indeed big and strong wirsts/hands!
Exercises for forearms
-Power grip machine
-Regular wrist curls, which work the underbody of the forearm
-Reverse wrist curls, which work the area nearest the wrist
Big Jim also placed the deltoids on the first place in his priority list. The shoulders are divided by three areas: front (anterior) deltoid, rear (posterior) deltoid, and side (lateral) deltoid. Jim cites that for a good bench press the deltoids are also very important. With strong wrist and forearms you will not really hold any weight. The delts covers the shoulder joint.
For the front deltoids: Jim Williams Front Plate Lift
Jim used to take a 45-pound York weight and hold it almost to arms length at the upper thigh. He inhaled a chest full of air, hold it, and raised the weight to just a little over his height. He did 10 sets until his delts get accustomed.
In his third week, he went to failure. In his fifth week, he used a 100 pound plate. This exercise will enhance the front deltoid.
In his book Jim recommend Presses Behind the Neck – Rear Dumbbell Swings, Seated Straight Dumbbell presses, cable pulls to the rear, and the Frank Peffer Rear Delt Machine.
Side or Lateral Deltoid
This part of your shoulder add width. Jim favorite exercises:
-Seated dumbbell raised to the side
-Side laterals with cables
-Heavy circle shrugs
Triceps and Biceps
This is how Big Jim developed a 24-inch arm:
(a) kneeling triceps pulldowns ( two different bars: one should be straight and the other slanted)
(b) lying tricpes to the bench
(d) The Jim Williams/Bob O’Leary Triceps Machine (I really don’t know much about this machines, but Jim wrote this in his book without more details)
(e) bench dips with your feet elevated
(f) closed-grip bench press
(a) the incline dumbbell curl
(b) the standing barbell curl
(c) standing alternate dumbell curl;
(d) single arm pulley curl
(e) lying dumbbell curl
(f) the preacher bench curl
(g) the Zettman curl
(h) the concentration curl
According to Jim you should end your curling for the day with speed curls; using 15-20 dumbbells per pump
To build the chest he just recommended to benchpress 5 times a week (8-10 week run). He described this routine as though but the results were great.
You have to benchpress 50 times in 70 days. And of course there is 20 days rest for you. Big Jim promised, if you would benchpress max. 400 pounds every day you will end up benching 475lb or 500lb at the end of the 50th day.
Exercises to assist the bench press
(a) Jim Williams Front Plate Lift (see above)
(b) Jim Williams Lying Shoulder Shrugs (see below)
(c) inclines – barbell, dumbbell
(d) declines – barbell, dumbell
(e) benches, wide and close
(f) incline front dumbbell raises
(g) incline circular dumbbell raises
(h) read the “Failure Method”
Big Jim’s secret weapon “Lying Shrugs”
Jim would lie on a bench and have immense dumbbells around 200 lbs each at handed to him, resting on his front deltoids. He would then contract and roll the deltoids and dumbbells toward the center of the chest and out again, back and forth, spreading the scapula and then crunching back toward the rear and then forward.
Jim recommended to do lats before working out the wrists. Thus there is enoug energy left to focus on your lats.
Big Jim’s most effective Exercises to develop big lats:
(a) T-bar bent-over rowing
(b) bent-arm barbell pullover
(c) lat machine pulldowns
(d) Jim Williams Rowing Lat Machine
Jim Williams’ Book
Editor’s note: use the tag system and click “benchpress” for more benchpress articles!