Bench Press

>> Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The flat dumbell bench press is an excellent exercise building up the muscles of the chest. But did you know that
the standard, laying-down-flat body position on the bench is not the most effective for maximal muscle
stimulation? By changing how and where you set yourself on the bench, you can dramatically increase the
muscle fiber stimulation you get from the flat dumbell bench press.
I've also found, with the better leverage I can get on the chest in this position, that I am actually stronger and
can get more reps and use more weight. At the same time, this position reduces the involvement of the
anterior (front) deltoids in the pressing movement while increasing the involvement of the upper pec fibers.
The key to this exercise lies in opening up your rib cage. In the standard flat position, your chest is not
expanded. Your pectoral muscle can fire most effectively when your shoulders are back, your lower back is
arched and your chest is puffed out. While this can be done somewhat in the regular bench position, it does not
feel natural and can actually put stress on the lower back. This exercise is done by placing yourself off the end
of the flat bench, accomplishing the optimal position for the pectoral muscles to fire.
How To Do It:
l The basic position of the exercise is as follows:
your upper back (from just below the shoulder
blades on up) will be resting on the end of the
bench with your upper torso essentially flat.
Your hips will be down below the level of the
bench, and your lower back will be arched so
that your lower abdomen is angled down. Your
knees should be very bent.
l You will look as though you are trying to wrap
your back around the end of the bench. Practice
this position once without any weight to get a
feel for it.
l To get into position with weights, sit on the very
end of the bench with the dumbells on your
upper thighs.
l Quickly move your butt forward off the bench, dropping into a squat, and allow your upper back to rest
against the lead edge of the bench.
l Thrust your hips up and throw your upper body back onto the bench, kicking the dumbells into the
bottom position of a dumbell bench press. Press up to the top position.
l If you are not completely in position with your entire lower back off the bench (the bottom of your rib cage
should be in line with the end of the bench), weasel yourself down somewhat. Note: "Weasel" is the
technical term for shifting back and forth as you slide yourself down the bench a little.
l Do the press from there and really try to expand the chest in the stretch position.
l When the exercise gets hard, fight the urge to lift your hips up. Consciously force them down. This is
good practice for keeping your butt down on the regular flat bench press


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