The Exercise: Bench Press
Amped Up Variations:
The floor press adds an explosive dimension to this upper body favorite. Lifters lie on the floor and perform the same motion as a traditional bench. By decreasing the depth of the exercise (since your elbows will hit the floor before the bar gets to your chest), the floor press limits range of motion, emphasizing the top portion of the lift. To get the most out of the floor press, utilize a slight pause when your elbows come into contact with the ground. Then, focus on exploding up through the top of the motion. This will increase power production and help you lift more weight when you return to the bench.
Band-resisted Bench Press
Bands have the ability to add a different dimension to your favorite lifts. Since they stretch as you move throughout the exercise, they effectively add load as you get near the lockout portion. To start, load bands on each side of the bar and attach them to a firm foundation on the ground. The bands should be taut when the bar is racked. Utilizing a spotter, perform the bench press motion as usual. As the bar approaches your chest, the tension in the band will decrease lowering the difficulty at the hardest portion of the exercise. As you approach the lockout position, the band will stretch and increase the load on the bar as you get stronger throughout the movement. By increasing the difficulty near the top of the motion, bands offer the ability to challenge your chest while also reducing the chance of a shoulder injury at the bottom of the exercise.