Workout of the Day:
Three sets of:
Squat x 4-6 reps
(take a few warm-up sets, and then get heavy for three sets – if you get 6 reps, you MUST go up in weight)
Rest 2 minutes
Dumbbell Overhead Press x 8-10 reps
(strict, no knee-bend, as heavy as you can handle, note any asymmetries in your performance logs)
Rest 2 minutes;
Three sets for max reps/calories of:
60 second Row for Max Calories
20 second Rest
60 second Burpees
20 second Rest
60 second Push Press (95/65 lbs.)
Rest for 3 minutes and 20 seconds
Quick Tips for a Better Bench Press – Part Two
Written by Mark Riebel
In part 1 of this post, we talked about the concepts of bracing and pulling the shoulder blades back and down to help improve your bench press technique. This time I’ll discuss two more quick fixes you can use to help bring it up as well.
Engaging your lats and your legs
Say that again? Yes, it turns out that by incorporating some muscles that you don’t typically think of as being a part of your bench can really improve your ability to do it. We’ll start with the easier one to explain—the leg drive. Putting your feet on the ground and driving them into the ground effectively extends your kinetic chain all the way through your body to the floor. If that’s a term you’re not familiar with, just know that it further adds to your stability in the lift. Really emphasizing the leg drive on the concentric phase towards lock out can particularly be of help. If your legs are a bit short, just put some plates on the ground so you can drive your feet into those.
The other neglected muscle in the bench press is your latissimus dorsi. Admittedly, I’m still figuring this part out myself and it may be one of the strangest feeling tweaks to your lift, but really flexing these throughout the motion can add a little bit to your top end strength in the movement. It can help to think of spreading the bar apart while you’re gripping it tight if you’re not too great at just keeping them engaged in the lift.
Arching your back
When you’re getting set up for the bench, putting a little arch in your low back may also add a few pounds to your effort. You don’t need anything excessive (though having the spine of a 14-year old girl might put you in excessive range of motion), but just a little bit of arch will help. This places your pecs at a more mechanically advantageous position, the lower fibers in particular. The specifics take more time to go into than this post allows, but suffice it to say that it does based on the properties of a third class lever (we’ll save the rest of the geek talk for the coaches’ office). Arching your low back will also shave just a hair off the range of motion as well, which may help you to press more weight.
Ask one of the coaches to assist you in demonstrating any of these adjustments if you need some additional help, but I’d highly recommend incorporating all of them to start improving your bench press today.