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Four Exercises That Are Better Than the Bench Press

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If you want to build a bigger and stronger chest, here are four moves you would be crazy to overlook.

1) Partial to Benching
Whether you are talking about chest or any other bodypart, partials are all about overloading a particular portion of the range of motion (ROM) without doing a full range rep. By bench pressing with partials, you break the lift into smaller components within the range of motion. This allows you to isolate a particular portion of the lift and allow you to work only at that angle. This further allows you to train and lift more weight over a shortened ROM.

2) Chained to The Bench
Can chains really make the bench press even better? First and foremost, the idea of chains isn’t merely about adding weight, though at first glance, it might appear to be. You may be thinking ‘Why not simply add more plates?” That is a good question. But with chains added to the ends of the bar, you actually vary the resistance during the bench move from the bottom of the rep to the top, unlike when you simply add a weight (which goes along for the ride all the way through the range of motion). Chains cause the bar to get heavier the further you press it away from your chest, which allow for maximal tension on the on the pecs when the muscle is at it’s strongest.

3) Try Not To Move
This is a technique that focuses on zero visible movement. You naturally think that the bar needs to be moving for there to be any benefit. But indeed, in no other exercise can isometrics better catapult you to the next level than on the bench press. An isometric contraction is one in which the muscular force equals the external resistance, producing no visible movement. A good example would be if you loaded up the bar with more weight than you could possibly bench and it doesn’t move an inch. While the bar may not be moving, that does not mean nothing is going on inside your muscles. Research, confirms that you can increase both size and strength doing isometric contractions.

4) Bench In Reverse
Like the other techniques, this one starts on the standard bench press. The idea is to completely flip the bench press, which is exactly what a “reverse movement” does. To review, here is how a typical rep goes: you unrack the bar and hold it above your chest. Nect, inhale and slowly lower the bar towards your pecs (this is not a negative, just lower it under control as usual) before exploding the bar back to the start position. That is how you have done it a thousand times, but we are going to completely reverse the protocol.

A reverse bench press has you beginning with each rep with the bar at your chest, completely eliminating that initial downwards phase. Unless you have tried it, you may not realise that when you lower the bar to the chest, you are actually building up negative energy (sometimes called elastic energy) inside the target muscles as well as the assisting delts and triceps. When the bar reaches the chest, you explode upward, that built-up energy is used to press the bar back up to the start. If you did not have the built-up energy, as is yhe case with the reverse bench press, it’s more difficult to bench press. This is precisely what reverse movements do. They eliminate the built-up negative energy that makes the positive (concentric contraction easier to perform. Each and every rep starts from a full stop, making it much harder to complete.


Author: veefitness

A qualified REPS Level 3 Personal Trainer who is passionate about helping others to achieve their goals of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Also a qualified Level 1 football and cricket coach.

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