Since the benchpress has been standardized by competition rules, the very wide grip using the pectoral muscles primarily is used only today by those who are devoting their time exclusive to bodybuilding. Considering this, let us talk about the benchpress as it used in competition.
This lift is performed by the deltoids and triceps, as well as the pectorals. In my experience I have found that doing as many as ten repetitions in training is quite good. This lift particularly needs to be “in the groove” to lift maximum poundages. I personally recommend a program of as many as ten reps working down to single attempts.
Everyone who has followed my lifting career or read my strength courses know I rely heavily on assistance exercises. One of the best assistance exercises I have found for the benchpress is a form of the handstand press.
As shown in the picture, the athlete should put his feet against the wall, sliding them up and down as the lift is performed. As you notice the lifter should be a little distance away from the wall with the back bowed. This puts him in the benchpress position a little more than an upright pressing stance.
Also the great advantage of this position is that the much needed blood rushes to the arms and shoulders to stimulate the muscle development.
Another assistance exercise that I have found very good for increasing the benchpress is doing the movement with dumbbells. By using a pair of dumbbells, the lifter can carry the exercise into a lower position, which helps build greater starting power, as well as strengthening the other areas of the lift.
I like ten reps and two sets in this movement. When doing these and all other assistance exercise always remember “Paul’s Proper Procedure” which is, “When doing an assistance exercise to improve particular lift, always include that lift in your routine”
This is essential for two reasons. One, it keeps the lift you are trying to improve in the “groove”. The other is that the athlete is channeling the strength the assistance exercise is producing into the lift that he is trying to improve. As always in the benchpress you should have spotters.
By using these methods and many others I will pas along to you from to time to time, I have benchpress over 600 pounds and feel that they will help this powerlift in your personal routine and competition.”
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