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It’s a, well, benchmark for many: whaddaya bench? But I find it a real stretch to call this a functional movement, plus it takes a lot of equipment and setup. Why even bother? Especially when…we could reap the same benefits in different ways.

If You Want to Actually Bench

For whatever reason, this may be on your radar. (Me personally, to deadlift competitively, I have to bench, plus it gets in upper body work in a quantifiable fashion.)

Great! If so, here‘s a quick Bench 101 primer.

  • Setup: assuming the arch comes more from your upper back, it’s safe for your spine (because the butt and head remain anchored to the bench)
  • This aspect often gets missed for solo benchers: affix your safeties to the post!
  • Solid, active row in
  • Maintain full-body tension and take advantage of leg drive

Three Things I Love about Benching…
and How Else You Can Get Them

Upper back mobility

Mobility in general is always good. In the upper back especially, it’s usually even better!

Pressing at a more shoulder-friendly angle

Here’s a demo of how you can do the same thing at home with dumbbells from a bridge  position.

Full-body tension that runs from the feet up

This can also be accomplished by rowing  or doing kettlebell swings or snatches.

Whaddaya Think?

I’d love to hear back. Please let me know – do you see any functional value in bench pressing? Is it worth all the messing around?

More importantly, does my seemingly generic exercise help your shoulders?

Stay in touch!