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5 Greatest Bench Press Variations


The bench press in its normal type is enjoyable whereas it lasts, however repeating the identical model of the carry from week to week could be monotonous. It will possibly additionally stymie your positive factors, or at the very least decelerate your price of change.

Everyone knows the usual execution of a correct bench press (if not, take a look at this step-by-step explainer), and it’s train. However after some time, you’ll want to combine it up with completely different loading strategies, rep schemes, and modalities to maintain stimulating your muscle tissues and construct energy. The bench press variations under are nice methods to shake up your typical bench routine.

The Greatest Bench Press Variations to Spice Up Your Lifting Routine

1. 1.5-Rep Bench Press

For this, you’ll nonetheless want an ordinary barbell bench press setup. Both use a bench press rack or create one by sliding a bench and security latches to the suitable locations in a squat cage. To carry out a 1.5-rep bench press, unrack the load and decrease it to the chest in a managed movement. Pause for half a second, after which transfer the barbell up, stopping midway between a totally lowered place and an arms-extended place (the highest of a typical bench press). Maintain that midway place for a second. Subsequent, decrease the bar to the chest, pause, after which increase the bar to a full extension. All of that’s 1 rep.

Specializing in units of three to five reps utilizing this model is good. Keep in mind, the time spent beneath pressure for every rep is for much longer than normal bench press.
The 1.5-rep bench press works properly for chest hypertrophy and energy as a result of the half-rep parts of the carry double the chest stimulation earlier than the triceps totally enter the motion. From a mechanical perspective, it’s the right method to actually focus the bench press on the chest muscle tissues.

2. Paused Reps

Pausing mid-rep makes an ordinary bench press way more trustworthy. The how-to is straightforward: Decrease the load to the chest beneath management, after which merely freeze for two to three seconds on the chest. Whereas doing so, be sure you stay tight, and don’t enable your chest to sink in towards the bench whereas paused.

Pausing removes the stretch reflex that almost all lifters use to assist “sling” the load up out of the underside place of the bench press rep. Eradicating it kills any momentum and makes every carry occur from absolute zero.

For paused reps of any kind, be sure you scale back the load accordingly. Your 5-rep max with regular weight gained’t be your paused 5RM. Cut back the load by 15 to twenty % and concentrate on managing correct approach.

3. Pin Press

The pin press isn’t only a depraved energy builder, it’s additionally a really sensible method to shield your shoulders. That’s particularly vital when you’ve got a historical past of shoulder harm (this transfer can be useful when you’ve got lengthy arms). In a pin press, the barbell will get blocked by security latches (pins) earlier than it reaches chest stage, so the shoulders are spared from a susceptible backside place deep within the gap.

Place a bench in a squat cage and set the security latches about 3 to five inches above the extent of your chest. Place the bar on the latches and slide into place beneath the bar so it’s positioned over your nipple line. Draw the shoulder blades collectively, grip the bar, and drive it as much as full extension. Maintain on the prime for a 1-second depend. Decrease the bar again to the pins, and let it settle earlier than commencing the following rep. Pause one other second and repeat. Use units of three to six reps for elevated energy.

4. Cluster Units

Clusters are a good way to squeeze extra work out of your muscle tissues with heavy weight. The science behind this variation is straightforward. Taking a small break halfway by way of a heavy set permits your vitality shops to partially rejuvenate themselves. That provides your muscle tissues simply sufficient juice to squeeze out an additional rep or two.

To do them, load the barbell to your 5-rep max weight. Carry out 4 reps earlier than racking the bar. Relaxation for 15 seconds, take the load again off the rack, and carry out 2 extra reps to finish a set. You’ve simply carried out 6 reps along with your 5-rep max. Make sure to relaxation properly between units—2 minutes at a minimal. Do 4 cluster units complete.

5. Cable Bench Press

Switching to cables in a cable rack as a substitute of a barbell bench press creates a flurry of advantages in terms of hypertrophy. First, cables pressure both sides of your physique to work individually. This creates a really completely different demand on stability for every shoulder and likewise makes every pectoral muscle accountable for its personal load. Second, the course of pressure is completely different with cables than with a barbell, which could be helpful. In most cable stations, the pulleys will probably be set out a lot wider than a lifter’s shoulder width. That angle aligns higher with the precise course the pectoral muscle fibers journey—the pec’s position is to adduct the higher arm (or pull it inward towards the physique). Doing a bench press with cables combines a typical press sample with a flye sample due to the fixed inward pressure you’ll have to use all through every rep.

There are few more practical coaching choices for chest hypertrophy than utilizing a pair of cables. Mix this transfer with decrease relaxation intervals (or create a superset or compound set with one other press sample, like pushups) and you’ve got a surefire recipe for constructing muscle. Maintain reps a bit greater right here; units of 12 to fifteen reps will elicit an superior pump.


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