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
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.
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?