How Much Ya Bench? The Best Assistance Lifts for the Bench Press

How Much Ya Bench? 5 Assistance Lifts to Increase Your Bench Press

Written by
August 18, 2015
Updated November 15, 2016
Category: Goals

In part 1 of this series I covered the back squat, today I will cover the bench press. What guy doesn’t love to bench press? Hell the majority of girls I know even like to bench press. So how do you get your bench stronger? Proper programming, recovery, and nutrition come first. But part of that programming involves targeting weaknesses and training to make them your strengths. Imagine Tiger Woods in his prime – he could drive the ball a mile but his short game was painful. He turned it into a strength and made a run at being the greatest of all time. With no further ado, here are my go-to’s for a bigger bench:

Speed Bench

Speed Bench

Done using accommodating resistance (think chains or big rubber bands, but thin ones that are attached to the ground/DB/band pegs on the bench) with light bar weight. So if your best bench is 300#, then you would use mini bands and about 135# of bar weight. And the goal is to move the weight as fast as possible. Typically the rep scheme is 8×3 with 45sec rest between sets. If it’s easy, then move the bar faster before putting more weight on. Speed kills.

JM Press

Same grip as the Spoto press. Now you’re going to lower the bar in a straight line toward your chin/nose while letting your elbows drift forward. This will put pressure on the bottom part of your tricep, which is the muscle group we want to build. Range of motion should be down to the point where your forearm touches your bicep and then back up (think half press).

DB Bench

DB Bench

Good ole’ dumbbells, or even KB’s, can really help your bench press. Plus they can give you bigger arms. Who doesn’t want their sleeves a little tighter? #beachseason or should I say #benchseason? I rotate incline DB bench, flat DB bench, and DB floor press using rep schemes of 2×20, 3×15, and 4×10 every two weeks. Pretty self-explanatory but push the volume (amount of sets and reps) and you will get stronger!

Dips

These are the best and most simple assistance exercise to do for you bench. Whether bodyweight or throwing dumbbells between your legs, the same applies here as it did dumbbells. Push the volume and your muscles will grow and your significant other will be significantly more in love with you.

Spoto Press

Spoto Press

Eric Spoto currently holds the world record bench press (unassisted) at 722#. So Spoto presses work…Take a close to moderate grip on the bar (about halfway between the ring and the smooth part). Unrack the weight. Bring it toward your chest as fast as you can while staying under control and keeping tension in your body. Pause it 2” off your chest. Hold for 1-2 seconds. Then explode up. Bar weight should be 50-80% of your 1RM with reps ranging from 3-10.

Casey Williams
Pittsburgh native Casey Williams previously played football at Division 1-FCS Bucknell University where he was nominated the 2010 NSCA All-American Strength and Conditioning Athlete of the Year. He's relatively young in the powerlifting world, but has seen his share of success. In 2010 Casey set the all-time world record drug tested squat and total in the 220lb weight class. He holds multiple federation records, both junior and open divisions. His lifts in 2015 were an 810 squat, 540 bench, and 738 deadlift for a 2088 total, good enough for #2 in the world in the 242lb weight class.

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