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The Bench Press Workout Routine

Build your all-around strength with this three-day program built around three classic power lifts.

Workout 1

Exercise 1: Bench Press

Sets: 5, Reps: 3

Hold the bar with an overhand, outside-shoulder-width grip. Your shoulder blades should be squeezed together and your entire back arched. Take the bar out of the rack (you can have a spotter help you) and squeeze the bar hard. Lower it to just below your sternum and then push your feet hard into the floor to help you press the weight up. When the bar is halfway up, begin flaring your elbows outward to lock it out.

 

Exercise 2: Close-Grip Bench Press

Sets: 5, Reps: 3

Set up as you did for the regular bench press, but move your grip in so that it’s only slightly outside shoulder width. Actively pull the bar down to your chest—your lower back should be arched so the bottom of your chest is elevated and your range of motion is small. Keep your elbows directly beneath your wrists. Squeeze your glutes and push hard with your feet as you press the weight back up.

 

Exercise 3: Rolling Dumbbell Extension

Sets: 3, Reps: 8

Grab a dumbbell in each hand and lie back on a bench with your arms locked out above your chest. Bend your elbows until the dumbbells touch your shoulders, then roll your shoulders back so that you feel a stretch in your triceps and your lats. Contract your lats and triceps simultaneously to pull your arms forward and lock out your elbows.

 

Exercise 4: Dumbbell Floor Press

Sets: 3, Reps: 8

Allow your triceps to rest on the floor with your elbows close to your sides—your wrists should face each other. Press straight up.

 

Workout 2

Exercise 1: Squat

Sets: 4, Reps: 8, Rest: 30 Seconds

Stand with your feet a bit wider than shoulderwidth apart and your toes turned slightly outward. Lower your body as far as you can (try to get your thighs at least parallel to the floor). Keep your posture as upright as possible and maintain the normal arch in your lower back.

 

Exercise 2: Alternating Lunge

Sets: 3, Reps: 8 (Each Side)

With a dumbbell in each hand, step forward with one leg and bend your knees until your front thigh is parallel to the floor and your rear knee nearly touches the floor. Repeat on the opposite leg.

 

Exercise 3: Romanian Deadlift

Sets: 3, Reps: 8

Hold a barbell in front of your thighs with a shoulder-width grip. Bend your hips back and then bend your knees while maintaining the natural arch in your lower back. Keep going until you feel your back about to lose its arch.

 

Workout 3

Exercise 1: Deadlift

Sets: 5, Reps: 3

Stand with your feet about hip-width apart, squat down, and grab the bar with a slightly outside-shoulder-width, palms-down grip. Keeping your lower back in its natural arch, drive your heels into the floor and push your hips forward, lifting the bar until it’s in front of your thighs..

 

Exercise 2: Barbell Row

Sets: 3, Reps: 8

Hold the bar with a palms-down grip. Keep your lower back in its natural arch and bend at the hips until your torso is nearly parallel to the floor. Let the bar hang straight down, then row it to your chest as you squeeze your shoulder blades together.

 

Exercise 3: Pullup

Sets: 3, Reps: 8

Hang from a pullup bar with your hands outside shoulder width and your palms facing forward. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and pull yourself up until your collarbone reaches the bar. Don’t let your legs swing.

 

Exercise 4: Hammer Curl

Sets: 3, Reps: 8

Hold a dumbbell in each hand and stand with your arms at your sides with your palms facing your legs. Keeping your upper arms in place, curl the weights up