Exercise of the Week: Bench Press/Explosive Med Ball Press Circuit

Every Wednesday, STACK features an Exercise of the Week to help you improve your overall sports performance—including strength, speed, conditioning and flexibility. This week we highlight an Upper Body Circuit, two exercises designed to improve strength and power.

Who's Doing It

  • Carli Lloyd, U.S. Women's National Team Midfielder

Muscular Benefits

  • Increases upper body strength, specifically in the pecs, shoulders and triceps
  • Increases upper body power, specifically in the pecs, shoulders and triceps

Sports Performance Benefits

  • According to research, performing a power exercise after a strength exercise causes the greatest training improvements in explosive strength
  • Increased upper body power improves any skill that uses the arms—blocking, throwing and even running
  • Strengthening upper body muscles helps stabilize the shoulder, protecting the joint from injury from contact

How to Perform the Upper Body Strength and Power Circuit

  • Bench Press
    • Assume position on bench with spotter nearby
    • Keeping feet firmly on the floor, grip bar slightly wider than shoulder width
    • Keeping elbows tight to sides, lower bar to one inch above upper chest
    • Drive bar up and slightly backward toward spotter until arms are extended; do not lock
    • Repeat for specified reps
  • Explosive Med Ball Press
    • Lie on ground with back flat and knees bent
    • Hold med ball with arms extended over chest
    • Lower ball to chest and drive ball straight up by explosively extending arms
    • Catch ball and immediately perform next rep
    • Repeat for specified reps

Sets/Reps: 4x5 each exercise

Coaching Points

  • Bench Press
    • Keep head, shoulders and glutes on bench and feet on ground
    • Maintain tight core
    • Do not arch back
    • Lower bar to one inch above chest
    • Always use spotter
  • Explosive Med Ball Press
    • Keep back flat and core tight
    • Explosively throw ball as high as possible
    • Spotter catches med ball and releases directly over your chest

Do you have an exercise that you want to see featured as an Exercise of the Week? Tweet us at @STACKMedia to let us know.


Andy Haley Andy Haley - Andy Haley is the Performance Director at STACK. A certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS), he received his bachelor’s degree in exercise science from Miami University...
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