The World Famous Bench Press
First, let me start by saying that our primary goal is to obtain elite fitness (strength and conditioning), not just look the part. It just so happens that the fittest people on the planet also have some of the best looking bodies.
The bench is a great exercise for building upper body strength, it’s also the most over rated exercise in the history of everything. Not because it’s bad, but because its the most common exercise and not the most rewarding. The Bench can be beneficial IF it’s programmed properly with additional exercises, the athlete has proper range of motion and technique, and the athlete recovers properly from the exercise. With all that said, I have seen hundreds of athletes hit Bench Press PRs after weeks, months, and years of training without benching, myself included.
From a health and wellness standpoint, bench pressing a couple times a week and not including proper recovery and accessory exercises is how you end up like the “Thoracic Kyphosis Guy” in the photo above, or injured. If you already look like that guy, I highly recommend you avoid the bench press all together (you should be read this though).
So why don’t we do it more? Given the fact that most of us only have an hour a day to train, we prefer to spend our time with more functional exercises like the press, squat, clean, etc. The bench press isolates much of the upper body with little input from the mid-line or trunk. Furthermore, if we can train presses, pushups, and other exercises that engage more of the body AND result in a bench press PR, why train the bench? The big argument in CrossFit is “Rich Froning benches once a week so everyone should.” It’s true, Rich does bench once a week, but he also trains for 6 hours a day. If he was forced to cut his training to 1 hour a day, I doubt the bench would be on the priority list.
Regardless of all that we understand that many of you love to bench, and it’s good to test every once in a while so we know we are progressing. Thursday we will go over bench press technique, specifically for the close-grip bench press, test our ability at the bench, then we will show you how to recover properly. Have fun.
1) Close-Grip Bench Press 1RM
This be ladder style. You can work in a set at any weight you choose, but the weight will start with the bar and increase by 10 lbs until everyone has hit a max. Use any rest time to prepare for the metcon.
2) Three rounds for time (15 min cap):
10 Hang Power Snatch (115/75)
15 HR Pushups
3) Mandatory Shoulder Mobility – Pec Smash and Banded Pec Stretch, 3 minutes.
The bench press is a leading cause of tight shoulders, shoulder pain, and poor thoracic mobility, DO NOT SKIP this today.
Active Recovery and/or Make-Up Day