In part 1 of this Bench Press newsletter
series I talked about the most important thing
that you must work on if you want a big Bench.
And that was TECHNIQUE.
Today I’m going to talk about the Bench Press
and variations of the Bench Press and how you can
incorporate these into your training.
Remember that all the variations I’m going to share
with you today train the same muscles as the regular
Bench Press. (Triceps, Lats, Front Delts, Pecs).
However, some variations do tax certain muscles
groups harder than others. For example, Incline
Bench Presses will make the Front Delts work a
little a harder than regular Bench Presses.
In contrast, Decline Bench Presses will make the
Pecs work harder than they do during regular
The trick with your own training is to work out
which variations will bring up your weak points.
Remember, have the guts and the courage to do
the stuff you SUCK at and over time this will pay
off big time for you and reward you with a bigger
For example, I compete equipped (in a Bench Shirt)
and over the years I have always struggled with
My current training reflects this. I use regular
Raw Bench Presses to warm up and then do
some practice in my Bench shirt and then do two
exercises for the lockout.
The pay-off has been obvious… I put over 50kg
on my Bench in 6 months, having been stuck for
years at my previous PR.
If you are competing Raw you may choose totally
different variations of the Bench in your training than
I use in mine because you may have totally different
weaknesses than me.
Regarding Grip width:
You have 4 options on all Raw exercises:
1. Close Grip (index fingers touching the smooth
part of the bar)
2. Medium Grip (a thumbs length from the smooth)
3. Pinky on the ring
4. Wide Grip (middle finger on the ring or wider)
- I would stick to your competition width grip
when using the Bench Shirt. There is enough to think
about when using a shirt without complicating matters
further by changing grip width
- Due to the extra stress that a WIDE GRIP places
on the Pecs and Front Delts I would perform 6 reps
or more when using this grip.
- The closer your grip the more you make the Triceps
Bench Press Exercise List
This list is by no means every possible variation of
Bench Pressing that you can include in your training.
But, it should make you realise that no matter what your
weakness; there is a way to train it.
Here we go:
Incline Bench Press (various angles, ranging from shallow
to very steep. Can be performed on a specific Incline
Bench OR in a Power Rack with an adjustable bench)
Decline Bench Press
Swiss Bar Bench Press (this will give you different width
NEUTRAL grips. A great choice if you have beat up
shoulders as the neutral grip is a lot easier on the
shoulders for most people)
Swiss Bar Incline Bench Press
Swiss Bar Decline Bench Press
Floor Press (performed in a power rack. Just lay on the
floor and perform your presses from there)
Cambered Bar Bench Press (this increases the range of
motion and develops great starting strength off the chest.
Only use it if you have the flexibility/mobility to do so).
You can use the 4 different grips on any of the Bench Press
You could also use any of the exercises above with Bands
Remember, you can move against Chains, against Bands,
or have the bands assist you… as in the Reverse Band
Method (a personal favourite of mine and a great developer
of speed and lockout power/tricep strength).
As you can see, with a little imagination you can come
up with a never-ending list of exercises to help improve
You will note that I haven’t mentioned DB movements
here. You can use DB’s to press on a flat Bench, Incline
or Decline Bench.
However, because of the stress of getting the DB’s in
place, I am not a big fan of heavy DB work and prefer to
keep the reps to 10 or more when using DB’s for pressing
(Just try and get the DB’s you need for a 3 rep max into
position and you will see why I don’t like DB work for
a main movement).
I am not however saying to never use DB’s. Just use them
for assistance work.
So there you have it; a massive amount of exercises to
help get you a bigger Bench.
To learn more about exactly how to increase your Bench,
In the final part of this Bench Press series and I’ll show you
some great assistance exercises for helping your Bench.
Ps. If you Bench is already on FIRE, but your Squat needs
work, check out this: