If a much bigger pair of pecs is the apple of your eye, you possibly can carry out limitless chest workouts to succeed in your objective. However when you have objectives of being a aggressive powerlifter, your major focus needs to be the bench press, one of many three aggressive lifts in a powerlifting meet. That’s to not say dumbbell flyes and single-arm presses are forbidden, however all roads should level to the bench.
There are, nonetheless, quite a lot of powerlifting chest exercises that, relying on the place you might be in your coaching, can goal totally different objectives. Whether or not you’ve hit a plateau, must refine your urgent method, or need to acquire dimension — there’s a powerlifting-focused exercise for you. Hold studying for 5 particular exercises, after which get able to embrace the power good points.
[Read: How to Do the Bench Press — Perfect Form, Variations, and Alternatives]
Greatest Powerlifting Chest Exercises
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However First, a Phrase on RPE
RPE stands fee of perceived exertion, and it’s a measure of how a lot effort you’re exerting throughout a set. You’ll see RPE in nearly each exercise beneath, so it’s necessary you perceive learn how to use it.
The scores run from 1-10. One represents a elevate that requires little to no effort and 10 is essentially the most you possibly can elevate. The RPE scale is common amongst extra skilled lifters because it’s measured by really feel. A newbie might not have pushed themselves to the restrict earlier than, so it’s arduous for them to gauge what’s actually arduous and what isn’t. Right here’s a information to understanding RPE numbers.
- 10 — At your max, you don’t have any extra reps.
- 9 — There’s one other rep within the tank, however it feels arduous..
- 8 — You’re starting to hit your 2-4 rep stride.
- 7 — Usually, a weight one can transfer with energy (5-7ish reps).
- 6 — Weight that one can transfer shortly for velocity work (+/- 8 reps pending on velocity/coaching objective).
- 5 — A weight that somebody warms ups.
- 4 & beneath — Gentle weight that can be utilized for mobility, restoration, and type emphasis.
Greatest Powerlifting Chest Exercise for Competitors
Are you gearing up to your first competitors? You’ll need to maximize your power so as to elevate essentially the most quantity of weight. The main target right here will likely be on the competitors motion itself.
You may’t fiddle along with your type whenever you’re coaching a contest elevate. For a powerlifter, it’s not sufficient to get stronger at bouncing a bar off your chest. A powerful competitors elevate means decrease the barbell to your chest, pausing for a second, after which urgent the bar to competitors requirements.
How lengthy your pause must be varies relying in your federation. However if you happen to’re planning to compete, plan to follow holding the bar in your chest for at the least a second or two beneath management with every rep.
This exercise is designed to be sure you received’t get referred to as on a missed elevate in competitors. You by no means need to efficiently execute a elevate after which rack the burden solely to seek out that you simply didn’t wait lengthy sufficient to obtain your command to press it off your chest.
To organize for the pains of competitors, be certain that your press is paused and managed so that it’ll cross as a great elevate. The repetitions on this exercise are on the decrease finish — the amount will keep fairly low — that will help you follow for a one-repetition max (1RM) try.
- Paused Bench Press: 1 x 1 @ RPE 8
- 3-Second Pause Bench: 2 x 3 @ RPE 7
- 2-Board Bench Press: 2 x 5 @ RPE 8
- Heavy Bench Press Maintain: 10 seconds @ RPE 10
Observe: Discuss with your federation’s rule guide to verify your lifts are as much as competitors requirements. Sometimes this implies, butt down, head down, and ft on the ground with a paused repetition. Don’t overlook to hearken to the decide’s instructions.
It’s a good suggestion to elevate with a pal throughout this exercise to make sure you’re pausing lengthy sufficient. And, in fact, you desire a spotter helpful when lifting with heavier weights.
Greatest Powerlifting Chest Exercise for the Offseason
In case you’re a aggressive powerlifter, your offseason could also be whenever you concentrate on constructing muscle. You could have the time and vitality to construct a strong base and add mass to your chest that can in the end allow you to elevate extra weight.
Hypertrophy exercises ought to emphasize quantity, so you’ll discover medium to greater repetitions at decrease intensities. Increasing your train choice to hit your chest at totally different angles may even assist overload muscle teams in methods the bench press can not.
The bench press remains to be the cornerstone of your powerlifting chest exercise. Even when constructing muscle, your meat-and-potatoes elevate is one of the simplest ways to load your pectoral muscle tissues and construct the chest.
It additionally doesn’t harm that you’ll get stronger as you prepare the bench press — which is in the end your objective as a powerlifter. Nonetheless, this exercise may even add in some machines and dumbbell work to assist promote hypertrophy (or muscle progress). Your triceps may even get some direct work on this program, as they’re massive contributors to constructing an enormous press.
- Contact-and-Go (TNG) Bench Press: 3-4 x 8 @ RPE 6
- Dumbbell Incline Chest Press: 3-4 x 12 @ RPE 8
- Chest Flye: 3-4 x 15 @ RPE 8
- Triceps Pushdown: 3-4 x 10 @ RPE 7
Greatest Powerlifting Chest Exercise for Method
Your method is essential in relation to efficiency on the bench press. Contorting your physique into an excessive arch is not only a social media eye-catcher — it’s additionally been beneath scrutiny and the topic of rule adjustments in 2023 from the Worldwide Powerlifting Federation (IPF).
Everybody’s anatomy is totally different, so everybody’s arch received’t look the identical. However if you happen to’re fighting the bench press, regardless of your limb size or diploma of lumbar flexibility, it might be helpful to concentrate on method.
A simple method to enhance your method is to interrupt down the elevate into varied parts. Slowing down your tempo can assist your physique determine the proper bar path to your press.
The load will likely be a lot lighter on this exercise with the concept that your mastery of the shape will repay down the road. Don’t be afraid to experiment with totally different parts like your setup, grip width, and foot place. Discover what’s snug and feels robust.
- 3-Second Eccentric Tempo Bench Press: 2 x 3 @ RPE 6
- Toes-Up Paused Bench Press: 2 x 6 @ RPE 6
- Spoto Paused Bench Press: 2 x 5 @ RPE 7
Greatest Powerlifting Chest Exercises for Plateaus
You’ve been coaching for some time however can’t appear to placed on any kilos in your bench press. Does this describe your coaching? It may be very irritating to seemingly make no progress — however not all is misplaced. Generally, all it’s a must to do is attempt one thing totally different to interrupt by means of that bench press plateau.
It could appear counterintuitive, however generally doing much less is extra. In case you are benching lots, giving your self some time to ‘re-sensitize’ to the bench press might allow you to progress.
On the flip aspect, you possibly can add in additional units of urgent briefly or add a brand new variation round your sticking level to assist break by means of that plateau.
In case you’re benching greater than twice every week and nonetheless not seeing any progress, do this exercise as soon as per week. It’ll assist enhance your press from extra angles and give your physique what could be a much-needed break.
- Bench Press: 5-6 x 6 @ RPE 8
- Dumbbell Press: AMRAP* @ RPE 10 OR Bench Press: AMRAP @ RPE 10
- Board Press at Sticking Level: 3 x 5 @ RPE 8
*AMRAP stands for as many reps as doable. Preserve clear type. In case you’re doing a barbell bench press, be sure you’ve acquired a spotter.
Progress Your Powerlifting Chest Exercises
There are numerous methods to progress your powerlifting chest exercises. Your concern right here is total load administration and dosage. Too little and you don’t have any diversifications, however an excessive amount of and also you run the chance of harm. Take your time to seek out the stability that works to your expertise and expertise stage.
Minimal Efficient Dose
All people has totally different wants. Nonetheless, there’s analysis that may give you some pointers to start out with. A minimal efficient dose to acquire power has been proven to be three to 6 working units of 1 to 5 repetitions per week at 80 % of 1RM. (1) One other method to put it’s to make use of an RPE of seven.5 to 9.5.
So if you happen to’re not sure of the place to start out or are brief on time, simply attempt to work out at the least one to 3 occasions per week, performing a couple of units at some respectable weight and energy stage.
It doesn’t matter the place you begin — regardless of the place you’re at, you need to be progressing. Depth refers back to the quantity of weight on the bar, and the way heavy it’s relative to how you are feeling.
As you progress, you possibly can add extra weight to the bar and thus improve the depth. That is usually what you need to do main into a contest, as you need to elevate the heaviest weight doable throughout your meet. You can even use pauses and different types of velocity work to extend the depth as you acquire extra expertise.
You may select to progress along with your quantity as nicely. That is the place you preserve the burden the identical, however you both carry out extra reps or extra units. It would be best to push extra quantity within the offseason when you’re making an attempt to construct extra muscle. It will allow you to create a much bigger base so as to construct extra power down the street.
Progress Is Not Linear
Regardless of the way you select to progress your exercises, know that progress will not be linear. You might have a day the place you are feeling unbelievable and go up in weight, and you might have one other day the place the lifts are gradual and sticky so it’s a must to do lots much less. That is regular, as your efficiency adjustments daily primarily based on elements like sleep, vitamin, and your total stress ranges.
While you zoom out to the larger image, you’ll probably see progress over an extended interval, which suggests you’re heading in the right direction. Development will include time — there isn’t a must drive depth or quantity from daily. Put in some sincere work, and also you’ll discover you’ll naturally add extra weight, units, and reps onto the bar.
Anatomy of the Chest and Bench Press
The extra you understand concerning the bench press, the higher you’ll perceive which parts will allow you to grow to be stronger. Realizing the place every chest muscle attaches and originates from can assist you enhance your mechanics. Coaching the chest is all about pushing your arms away out of your physique, and that’s precisely what you might be doing within the bench press.
The pectoralis main is the prime mover and muscle of the chest. It’s the largest muscle that originates from the sternocostal and clavicle head, which then inserts into the higher a part of the humerus. The pec main horizontally adducts the arms collectively, and assists in flexing and increasing the arms.
The pec minor is a a lot smaller muscle, originating from ribs three to 5 and attaching to the medial border and coracoid strategy of the scapula. Its major operate is to assist draw the scapula ahead and down.
Because the identify suggests, the triceps consists of three muscle heads (a protracted head, a lateral head, and a medial head). The lengthy head originates from the infraglenoid tubercle of the scapula and the opposite heads originate from the radial groove of the humerus.
These all connect to the olecranon course of and are answerable for extending your elbow. Your triceps are primarily what helps you lock out the bench press.
The rhomboids will not be a part of the chest muscle tissues. However they’re value mentioning right here, as they’re answerable for retracting your shoulder blades. They originate from the T2 to T5 spinous course of and connect to the medial border of your scapula. This retraction helps create a steady shelf so that you can bench from.
As a powerlifter, your major objective is to improve your one-rep max throughout the bench press, squat, and deadlift. Relying on the place you might be within the season as a lifter, you might have many choices to concentrate on exercises that can allow you to construct a much bigger press.
Don’t be afraid to enterprise into chest exercises that stray away from the standard bench press. Nonetheless, when the time comes and the bar is loaded, don’t lose concentrate on what your precise objective is. Practice arduous, prepare sensible, and get these three white lights to sign a profitable elevate.
- Androulakis-Korakakis P, Michalopoulos N, Fisher JP, Keogh J, Loenneke JP, Helms E, Wolf M, Nuckols G, Steele J. The Minimal Efficient Coaching Dose Required for 1RM Energy in Powerlifters. Entrance Sports activities Act Residing. 2021 Aug 30;3:713655. doi: 10.3389/fspor.2021.713655. PMID: 34527944; PMCID: PMC8435792.
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