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challenge yourself in controlling the bar during the pause.Dead BenchThe Dead Bench is an exercise shown to me by Josh Bryant. This is performed by placing the bar 1-2” off the chest sit-ting on pins in a rack. You will press up from there and this will build greater starting strength because it eliminates the stretch reflex. This is a challenging variation and definitely helped build my bench when I included it. Here is an exam-ple of how to progress Dead Bench in your program…
Week 1-8x1 at 60% w/ 30 sec restWeek 2-10x1 at 60% w/ 30 sec restWeek 3-12x1 at 60% w/ 30 sec restWeek 4-6x1 at 55% w/ 30 sec restWeek 5-10x1 at 65% w/ 45 sec restWeek 6-9x1 at 70% w/ 60 sec restWeek 7-8x1 at 75% w/ 75 sec restWeek 8-5x1 at 65% w/ 60 sec restWeek 9-5x1 at 80% w/ 90 sec restWeek 10-4x1 at 85% w/ 120 sec restWeek 11-3x1 at 90% w/ Rest As NeededWeek 12-NoneFront/Lateral RaisesDirectly training the delts through front and lateral rais-es are a great option during Hypertrophy Phases to add muscle mass and can be useful to maintain muscle mass during lower volume strength and peaking phases. Whether performed with Dumbbells, Barbells or Plates, these exer-cises don’t lend themselves well to maximal loading and should be train primarily in the 8-20 rep range.
Lockout StrengthThe lockout of the bench press is largely driven by the strength of the triceps. One of geared powerlifting’s great-est contributions to training ideas is their numerous ex-ercises to improve the bench press lockout, since shirted bench pressing is so reliant upon tricep strength. Closegrip BenchThis is the gold standard of tricep development, you can go heavy and it is highly specific to the bench press. Some people may suffer from shoulder pain from closegrip pressing because it will cause them to lose some scapu-lar retraction when the bar is on their chest, so adding 1-2 boards can be appropriate.SkullcrushersWhether performed with a straight bar, EZ curl bar or dumbbells, the skullcrusher is a great option for overload-ing the triceps for growth and strength. Elbow pain may often accompany hard training on this exercise, so feel free to adjust hand position and arm angle by feel.
DipsDips are often a love/hate exercise for those looking to bench big. Those who love them find great strength devel-opment and growth through the shoulders and triceps by performing them. Those who hate them will be plagued with elbow, shoulder and/or sternum pain from just a few reps. If Dips feel good for you, then by all means, go for it and train them hard in the 5-15 rep range. Other Tricep WorkTraining the triceps becomes largely individualized based on how the lifter’s elbows tolerate the training. There aren’t necessarily good or bad exercises, but rather exercises that work for you. Pushdowns, JM Press, Tate Press, Dicks Press and many others can all be useful, so hit up YouTube and find some new variations that can work for you.
Mechanical OverloadThe other aspect of bench training that usually needs ad-dressing is the athlete’s ability to handle heavy weights, this can be from Neural adaptations or confidence. To enhance