The Terrific Two
If I could only use two movements to build my chest and triceps they would be the Bench Press and Parallel Bar Dips. These two movements can add slabs of muscle to your frame and burn body fat. However, these are two movements that I see consistently done wrong in the gym.
Let’s start with the Bench Press. The average gym user thinks they just have to lie down, grab the bar, bring it down somewhat close to their chest, and press up. Their setup is horrible and dangerous from the start. The lack of attention to detail makes them weaker and more likely to be injured in the long-term.
How to Bench Press Correctly
The correct way to bench press is a little more complex than lay down and bench. Below, I have made a short video demonstrating how to bench effectively and efficiently for maximum production.
A few key points to always remember when Bench Pressing:
- Make sure the bar is evenly placed on the supporting racks.
- Seat on the bench press
- Lay down and grab the barbell at an even grip (Some prefer wider, some closer)
- Put your feet on the bench
- Thrust your hips into the air with your feet on the bench
- Plant your feet on the ground ( I like my feet close so I can hug the bench)
- Take a big breath into your stomach
- Pull yourself up to the barbell and down to your feet (to create an arch)
- Squeeze your shoulder blades together and plant your upper back on the bench
- Unrack the bar by pulling it out over your chest
- Bring the bar down in a controlled manner to your nipples while keeping your elbows close to your sides
- Push the bar up to the starting points
A few words on warming up
*Always warm up with an empty bar. The strongest bench pressers in the world warm up with an empty bar. You are not impressing anyone with your warm up sets. For this video which demonstrates 300×3, I warmed up as follows 45×12, 45×5, 95×5, 135×5, 185×5, 215×5, 245×3, 275×2, then I did 300×3. That is 8 warm up sets. The stronger you get the more warm up sets you need.
20-rep Bench Presses for Awesomeness
Who doesn’t want to be awesome at bench pressing? Every man who has stepped into a gym ever wanted to be great at bench pressing. One of my favorite ways to get better at benching quickly is the 20-rep Bench Press. By doing a set of 20, you build muscle, grease the bench press groove, get a crazy pump, and incinerate fat.
The Parallel Bar Dip
Dips build slabs and functional muscle strength and mass. I do very little direct tricep work. I have used Dips to build my horseshoes. Strong triceps are an absolute necessity if you want to Bench Press heavy weight. Below I demonstrate a set of Weighted Dips with 115 lbs for 6 reps.
I highly recommend you do Dips weekly until you can do 20 reps before adding weight. If you can’t do one single dip and your gym has an assisted dip machine start there. If your gym does not you can do behind-the-back dips. To do those you put your hands on the side of a bench or chair with your feet out in front of you and go down and come up. These will build tricep strength that will eventually get you to be able to do Parallel Bar Dips.
Make sure to include Bench Presses and Dips in your arsenal to get a strong and muscular upper body.