Everyone wants to build a bigger bench, and if you look up on the internet “how to build a bigger bench,” you’ll undoubtedly come across a slew of articles all saying more or less the same thing and giving the same accessory exercises -- dumbbell bench, close grip press, dips, etc.
That’s where this article is different.
Today, we’ll give you three non-chest exercises to improve your bench.
Now, before you hit the back button, you have to understand that while the bench press does involve the pecs, it also involves a number of other supporting muscle groups as well, including the triceps, deltoids, and lats.
As such, if you have a weakness in any one of these supporting muscle groups, your overall strength and power output will be impaired.
With that in mind, here are three exercises that you can start adding to your weekly workout program to improve your bench press.
#1 Overhead Triceps Extension
The triceps play a tremendous role in the bench press, particularly during the lockout. And, the bench does train the triceps to a certain degree, but to really work the long head of the triceps, you need to get the arms up and overhead, which places it in a fully stretched position.
Perform 3 sets of 12-15 reps of overhead triceps extension (preferably with a cable machine).
#2 Lying Triceps Extension
Also known as skullcrushers, lying triceps extensions are another great exercise to build stronger triceps, particularly the long head of the triceps since the arms are overhead. If performing traditional skullcrushers with a barbell bothers your elbows, wrists or shoulders, consider performing the movement with dumbbells or kettlebells.
#3 Face Pulls
While the rear delts aren’t a prime mover in the bench press, they play a huge role in overall shoulder health. Plus, most individuals simply don’t do enough rear delt work, at least compared to their pressing exercises, which creates a severe muscle imbalance, leading to pain and dysfunction.
Adding more rear delt work, in the form of face pulls, band pull aparts, and delt flyes, can build stronger, more resilient shoulders as well as give you a more stable base from which to press the bar.
A good rule of thumb is to do one set of face pulls (or other rear delt movement) for every set of presses.