Athletic Bench Press?

How would you suggest athletes to bench press? Or is it irrelevant to athletes who are not strength athlete?

This has been discussed multiple times on the forum already and in the Forum Reviews purchasable from the store.

Ben Johnson did bench press as do most top sprinters. It works just fine.

Would you suggest your athletes to do them like bodybuilders do them? Powerlifters? Or somewhat else?

It doesnt matter its a general movement.

small arch & pull your shoulder blades together for shoulder health

what about elbow health. lol

As with most lifts, its a good idea to add variety. Variety in the bench includes…

  • varying grip width (wide, middle, narrow)
  • varying touch point (lower sternum to just below neck)
  • varying reps per set (low reps for strength/power, higher reps hypertrophy)
  • varying intensity (>90% for power, 30-60% for explosive strength, 70-80% for hypertrophy)
  • varying depth of press (partial reps, i.e. chest to half lockout, half reps, such as board presses or rack presses.

Variety reduces stagnation in the adaption process, ensures a wider range of muscles, ligaments and tendons are affected, and makes things more interesting.

Some things I don’t recommend…

  • not keeping your feet on the floor and your butt on the bench
  • bench shirts
  • heavy dumbell presses (injury waiting to happen)
  • too many heavy singles

hmm? are you saying such pressing form will lead to elbow problems?

no dumbells bench press? that is my strength i cant progress on the barbell bench for some reason despite westside and all other ways to break the plateau. However bench dumbells keep going up. I can max out at 95lb dumbells however have a 200lb max for bench. Whereas my friends have around 70s and bench 250lbs on average.

The reason to not do dumbell bench presses is injury risk to the shoulder. The main power in the bench is developed in the extended portion of the lift, but pulling the bar back all the way places great strain on the shoulder ligaments. For this reason, many competitive PL types don’t bring the bar (with heavy weights) much past half-way down (because the potential risk of doing such is greater than the potential gain), and I have a general rule of NOT touching my chest with the bar; You can do dumbell bench work if you are similiarly careful.

Progressing in the barbell bench is often easier if you use a range of exercises to strengthen the range of muscles involved, including incline especially. I use barbell bench and dumbell shoulder presses.

I’m inclined to favor the floor press over the bench press for most. Thoughts?

Why not keep the palms facing in when doing dumbbell presses? That is usually what I do and have never had any problems.

I’ve not read the same warnings about shoulder injury concerning dumbells as concerning barbells. This could be that the injury risk isn’t there or that the football-oriented S&C coaches just think about barbell bench. Either way, the power is really developed at full extension, so the risk can be avoided. You just have to know that there is a risk first.

They are both good. Each one serves a different purpose. The same with DB’s. One is not BETTER than the other, it is DIFFERENT than the other.


I’ve never injured myself on barbell bench press in over 30 years of lifting, sometimes over 400lbs. raw and reping 350+ raw, but I’ve hurt my shoulder three times and my elbow once using dumbell press (between 80 and 110lb dumbells). Not doing the lift, but getting them up and down, which is awkward. I prefer using a variety of barbell pressing movements, and if I want to work on mass, I will do flys, both inclined and flat, with more moderate weight dumbells and higher reps.

I think very wide grip is somewhat dangerous for the shoulders i’ll keep my grip inside the rings. And don’t arch my spine. And i’ll do like what you said guys for the other things.