If you are enjoying the lifting cycle we are currently in and are interested in improving your bench press I have four exercises for you to learn and master to help you do just that. These movements will help eliminate weak points in your bench press while building strength and improving technique.
Close Grip Bench Press- By narrowing your hand placement you will get the following benefits. Increased range of motion, more tricep involvement, reinforces proper elbow tuck and easier on the shoulders. When performing this lift keep everything the same as your regular bench press but move your hands in closer. Three fingers width should be a good distance.
Concentric Pause Bench Press- This can be one the most difficult variations. To do this lift you lower the bar to your chest, pause briefly on the chest, press up about 2 inches off your chest and pause again, hold the pause for 1-3 seconds, (make sure to stay tight and not flare your elbows) un-pause by aggressively flaring your elbows as you press the bar to lockout. This teaches you how and when to tuck your elbows and flare your elbows.
Spoto Press- This is nearly the same as the concentric bench press except instead of touching the chest you just pause the bar 1-2 inches from your chest. This is a reduced range of motion movement and also one that makes you keep your form. You will not be able to stay tight if your loose your form on the way down so staying tight during the lift is your only option.
Close Grip Incline Bench Press- You perform this lift just like the close grip bench press but with this you lie on a 15- to 30- degree incline. With this you will need to keep your elbows a bit further from your body. The bar will touch your chest closer to your collarbone to keep your wrists and elbows directly under the bar. You will also want to keep your feet out in front of you and flat on the floor.
If you are serious about improving your bench press these four exercises will help you do that. Master these and you will see your bench press improve!