Use Resistance Bands to Build a Bigger Bench

March 20, 2013 | Joe Giandonato

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People take great pride in being able to bench 300, 400 and 500 pounds. If you are struggling to reach one of these milestones, try a performing a Banded Bench Press. (First, learn proper Bench Press technique.)

The Bench Press exercise is a prime example of a movement with an ascending strength curve. This means that strength progressively increases through the range of motion due to the position of the arms. As the barbell moves away from the chest, it becomes easier because the mechanical advantage increases. (Discover 5 ways to maximize your Bench.)

Adding banded resistance to the Bench adds a form of variable resistance, which accommodates the strength curve. In powerlifting circles, bands are often used to help lifters blast through their lockout, since bands gets tighter and exert greater downward force on the bar as the arms straighten.

Banded Bench Press How To

Muscles Targeted: Pectoralis major, anterior deltoid, triceps brachii, latissimus dorsi and the musculature of the upper back

Equipment Required: Flat bench with rack, barbell, plates, and jump stretch or mini bands

Set-Up:

  • Place a small diameter plate on each sleeve of the barbell; a five- or 10-pound plate will serve well
  • Drape a band over each sleeve and place it against the plate
  • Slide another plate on the sleeve and fasten a collar against the plates
  • Wrap the end of the band hanging off the bar around a heavy dumbbell, or secure it underneath the bench
  • Experiment with this set-up; your limb length and the design of the bench will determine the amount of tension on the bands
  • If more tension is desired, tie the bands tighter or add additional bands to the barbell

Description:

  • With the bands snugly wrapped around the barbell, place between 55 to 65 percent of your max on the bar
  • Set up as you would for a normal barbell Bench Press with your shoulder blades pressing against the pad, lats flared, core tight, and hips extended while making contact with the bench
  • Have a spotter help you un-rack the barbell
  • Actively pull on the barbell while it descends to your chest to engage your upper back and lats
  • Pause briefly with the barbell at your chest
  • Quickly explode to drive the barbell off your chest and carry the momentum through the lockout
  • Maintain bar speed throughout the set

Sets/Reps: 8-10x2-3 with 1-3 minute rest between sets

Photo: t-nation.com

Topics: BENCH PRESS
Joe Giandonato
- Joe Giandonato, MS, CSCS, is the head strength and conditioning coach at Germantown Academy in Fort Washington, Pa. He has authored numerous articles on a...
Joe Giandonato
- Joe Giandonato, MS, CSCS, is the head strength and conditioning coach at Germantown Academy in Fort Washington, Pa. He has authored numerous articles on a...

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