Author: Scott Smith
Why it made the list (Why you should do them):
While push-ups are one form of a “chest press” and are great due to the core building component and lack of equipment needed, I’m going to be discussing the supine position chest presses, aka “bench presses.” Why bench press? Cause I’m a guy and I just can’t help myself. Doing chest presses while laying down allows us to lift a substantial load and subsequently can lead to better size and strength gains in the pectorals, shoulders, and triceps. When comparing/measuring absolute upper body strength levels this is how we do it. Is it functional? Not particularly, but when choosing the best lift to build the chest I gotta go with bench presses and there’s really not even close second.
How to do them properly:
– NOTE: The following description is for dumbbell flat bench press.
– With your dumbbells, lay down flat on your bench, keeping both feet on the floor just outside the hips and keeping your head, both shoulder blades, and butt on the bench at ALL times.
– With an overhand grip (palms facing down toward your hips) extend your arms fully toward the ceiling keeping your shoulders down and back. Your chest should remain in a high position (your back can be slightly arched but keep your glutes and abs firm for support). The dumbbells should ride low in your palm as you punch toward the ceiling with your knuckles.
– Reach back with your elbows, slowly lowering the dumbbells in toward the widest part of your chest. Keep your elbows slightly tucked and move your hands slightly wider than your starting position to help load/stretch your pectorals.
– After feeling the stretch in your chest (somewhere just past 90 degrees at the elbow) extend your arms back out toward the ceiling, keeping your shoulders down and back (chest high), breathing out through the “sticking point.” Do NOT dance around with your feet or rotate your body.
– Upon extension of the elbow, keep tension in the chest by squeezing your “pecs” together without actually bring the dumbbells together. Immediately begin your slow descent into your next repetition and repeat till your chest and triceps are adequately fatigued.
I’ve picked these 10 lifts because of their proven efficiency and effectiveness at forcing the body to adapt and change for the better! Some of the variations may be a bit more advanced than you are currently ready to perform, but if you continue to follow this site, I can promise you that regressions will be made available for your learning. But that does not mean you shouldn’t aspire to be able to do these 10 exercises at some point!
If you are/have been a client of mine you no doubtably know some variation of these movements because they are a true staple of my programs. I hope they serve you as well as they have served me!
Scott Smith, CSCS
Just a recap so far… Click on the exercise to watch the video!