5 Pressing Variations That Are Better Than The Bench Press

A better Bench Press alternative? I know it sounds almost blasphemous. I mean, a day of the week is dedicated to benching—it's called Bench Day. It is an international weekly holiday, and if you're lucky it might happen twice a week.

To say there is something out there better than benching, I must be talking about something mythical like unicorns or maybe rainbows with a big pot of gold at the end. Sadly, no.

RELATED: Why One Bench Press Is Not Enough

Though the Bench Press is great for developing raw brute upper-body strength, it lacks the ability to use the entire body to develop power. Your back is supported while benching, which make it an exercise that is exclusively upper-body.

If you are an athlete, unless you're a powerlifter, I can't think of any sporting event where you are asked to lift hundreds of pounds from the ground while your back is supported.

Better pressing variations will have you using your legs, core and arms to develop the press. When you are required to press during a sport, you are upright and have to learn to develop power from the ground up. This means you must train your legs and core to develop a strong punch or push. This will transfer over to sports much better than bench pressing alone.

RELATED: 10 Bench Press Variations for a Bigger and Stronger Chest

All five of these pressing variations share these commonalities:

  • They require you to resist extension of the lower back.
  • They require you to activate your glutes.
  • They can all be turned into power exercises by adding hip drive.

Cable Press

Cable Press

3 Cues

  • Brace your abdominals and resist back extension
  • Don't let your elbows go past your body's midline
  • Keep your torso at a 45-degree angle

Sets/Reps: 4-5x4-8

Standing Landmine Shoulder Press

Standing Landmine Shoulder Press

3 Cues:

  • Brace your abdominals and resist back extension
  • Squeeze the glute of your rear leg
  • At the top of the press, allow your shoulder blade to go all the way up

Sets/Reps: 3-4x6-8

Barbell Overhead Press

Barbell Overhead Press

3 Cues:

  • Brace your abdominals and resist back extension
  • Squeeze your glutes tight
  • Keep your fists over your elbows

Sets/Reps: 3-4x4-8

Lateral Lunge to Overhead Press

Lateral Lunge to Overhead Press

3 Cues:

  • Sit into your hip
  • Push away from the ground
  • Brace your abdominals and don't allow your back to extend

Sets/Reps: 3-4x8

Medball Side Push

Medball Side Push

3 Cues:

  • Load up your back hip
  • Rotate at the hips
  • Finish through with your arms

Sets/Reps: 4-5x4-8

RELATED: For a Bigger Bench Press, Try These Variations

Any one of these variations can be used as your main Press for the day, or it can be used to complement your main Press. What makes these variations great is that they are more sports-specific and they require you to use your whole body.


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: UPPER BODY | BENCH PRESS | EXERCISES | POWER | SPORTS | BENCH | PRESS | BARBELL | LANDMINE | LIFTS | BRACES