If an even bigger pair of pecs is the apple of your eye, you may carry out limitless chest exercises to achieve your objective. However in case you have targets of being a aggressive powerlifter, your predominant focus must 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, nevertheless, a wide range of powerlifting chest workouts that, relying on the place you might be in your coaching, can goal completely different targets. Whether or not you’ve hit a plateau, have to refine your urgent approach, or need to acquire dimension — there’s a powerlifting-focused exercise for you. Preserve studying for 5 particular exercises, after which get able to embrace the strength gains.
[Read: How to Do the Bench Press — Perfect Form, Variations, and Alternatives]
Finest Powerlifting Chest Exercises
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However First, a Phrase on RPE
RPE stands rate 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 find out how to use it.
The rankings run from 1-10. One represents a elevate that requires little to no effort and 10 is probably the most you may elevate. The RPE scale is standard amongst extra skilled lifters because it’s measured by really feel. A newbie could not have pushed themselves to the restrict earlier than, so it’s exhausting for them to gauge what’s really exhausting and what isn’t. Right here’s a information to understanding RPE numbers.
- 10 — At your max, you haven’t any extra reps.
- 9 — There’s one other rep within the tank, however it feels exhausting..
- 8 — You’re starting to hit your 2-4 rep stride.
- 7 — Typically, a weight one can transfer with energy (5-7ish reps).
- 6 — Weight that one can transfer rapidly 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 kind emphasis.
Finest Powerlifting Chest Exercise for Competitors
Are you gearing up on your first competition? You’ll need to maximize your energy so that you could elevate probably the most quantity of weight. The main focus right here will likely be on the competitors motion itself.
You’ll be able to’t fiddle along with your kind if 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 for those who’re planning to compete, plan to follow holding the bar on your chest for no less than a second or two beneath management with every rep.
This exercise is designed to be sure you received’t get known as on a missed lift in competitors. You by no means need to efficiently execute a elevate after which rack the burden solely to search out that you just didn’t wait lengthy sufficient to obtain your command to press it off your chest.
To organize for the pains of competitors, be sure that your press is paused and managed so that it’ll move as elevate. The repetitions on this exercise are on the decrease finish — the amount will keep fairly low — that can assist 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
Word: Consult with your federation’s rule book to verify your lifts are as much as competitors requirements. Usually this implies, butt down, head down, and toes on the ground with a paused repetition. Don’t overlook to take heed to the choose’s instructions.
It’s a good suggestion to elevate with a buddy throughout this exercise to make sure you’re pausing lengthy sufficient. And, in fact, you need a spotter helpful when lifting with heavier weights.
Finest Powerlifting Chest Exercise for the Offseason
For those who’re a aggressive powerlifter, your offseason could also be if you give attention to building muscle. You’ve got the time and power to construct a strong base and add mass to your chest that can finally assist you elevate extra weight.
Hypertrophy workouts ought to emphasize quantity, so you’ll discover medium to larger repetitions at decrease intensities. Increasing your train choice to hit your chest at completely 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 the easiest way to load your pectoral muscle tissue and build the chest.
It additionally doesn’t damage that you’ll get stronger as you train the bench press — which is finally your objective as a powerlifter. Nevertheless, this exercise may even add in some machines and dumbbell work to assist promote hypertrophy (or muscle development). Your triceps may even get some direct work on this program, as they’re giant 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
Finest Powerlifting Chest Exercise for Method
Your approach is essential with regards 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 changes in 2023 from the Worldwide Powerlifting Federation (IPF).
Everybody’s anatomy is completely different, so everybody’s arch received’t look the identical. However for those who’re battling the bench press, irrespective of your limb length or diploma of lumbar flexibility, it might be beneficial to focus on technique.
A straightforward method to improve your technique is to interrupt down the elevate into varied parts. Slowing down your tempo may help your physique determine the right bar path on your press.
The load will likely be a lot lighter on this exercise with the concept your mastery of the shape will repay down the road. Don’t be afraid to experiment with completely different parts like your setup, grip width, and foot position. Discover what’s snug and feels sturdy.
- 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
Finest Powerlifting Chest Exercises for Plateaus
You’ve been training for a while 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. Typically, all you must do is attempt one thing completely different to interrupt via that bench press plateau.
It could appear counterintuitive, however typically doing much less is extra. If you’re benching quite a bit, giving your self some time to ‘re-sensitize’ to the bench press could assist you progress.
On the flip aspect, you may add in more sets of urgent quickly or add a brand new variation round your sticking level to assist break via that plateau.
For those who’re benching greater than twice per week and nonetheless not seeing any progress, do that exercise as soon as per week. It’ll assist enhance your press from extra angles and give your physique what is likely to 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 kind. For those who’re doing a barbell bench press, be sure you’ve bought a spotter.
The way to Progress Your Powerlifting Chest Exercises
There are a lot of methods to progress your powerlifting chest workouts. Your concern right here is general load administration and dosage. Too little and you haven’t any diversifications, however an excessive amount of and also you run the chance of damage. Take your time to search out the balance that works on your expertise and expertise stage.
Minimal Efficient Dose
Everyone has completely different wants. Nevertheless, there’s analysis that may give you some tips to begin with. A minimal efficient dose to gain strength 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 for those who’re uncertain of the place to begin or are quick on time, simply attempt to work out no less than one to three times per week, performing a couple of units at some first rate weight and energy stage.
It doesn’t matter the place you begin — irrespective of the place you’re at, you need to be progressing. Intensity 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 may add extra weight to the bar and thus increase the intensity. 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’ll be able to select to progress with your volume as properly. That is the place you hold the burden the identical, however you both carry out extra reps or extra units. You’ll want to push extra quantity within the offseason when you’re attempting to construct extra muscle. This can assist you create an even bigger base so that you could construct extra energy down the street.
Progress Is Not Linear
Regardless of the way you select to progress your exercises, know that progress just isn’t linear. You’ll have a day the place you are feeling unimaginable and go up in weight, and you will have one other day the place the lifts are sluggish and sticky so you must do quite a bit much less. That is regular, as your efficiency adjustments day after day primarily based on elements like sleep, nutrition, and your general stress levels.
Once you zoom out to the larger image, you’ll possible see progress over an extended interval, which implies you’re heading in the right direction. Progression will come with time — there is no such thing as a have to power depth or quantity from day after day. 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 concerning the bench press, the higher you’ll perceive which parts will assist you turn out to be stronger. Realizing the place every chest muscle attaches and originates from may help you enhance your mechanics. Training 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 extending 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 predominant operate is to assist draw the scapula forward and down.
Because the identify suggests, the triceps consists of three muscle heads (an extended 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 are usually not a part of the chest muscle tissue. However they’re price mentioning right here, as they’re answerable for retracting your shoulder blades. They originate from the T2 to T5 spinous course of and fix to the medial border of your scapula. This retraction helps create a secure shelf so that you can bench from.
As a powerlifter, your predominant objective is to increase 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’ve many choices to give attention to exercises that can assist you build a bigger press.
Don’t be afraid to enterprise into chest workouts that stray away from the standard bench press. Nevertheless, when the time comes and the bar is loaded, don’t lose give attention to what your precise objective is. Prepare exhausting, practice good, 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.
Featured Picture: Mike Orlov / Shutterstock
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