Bench press is important for beasts because it involves your primary face beater muscles. Your chest, shoulder, and triceps. Having explosive strength when it comes to pushing things off or away from your body will ensure that you win over the guy who doesn’t train. It means being able to stop people from getting too close to your wife or kids. It means smashing the skulls of whoever crosses the line. After 2 months, I just confirmed today that my bench is back up over 300 lbs, which happened sooner than I thought.
To get started, I park my adjustable bench where the head rest is just under the front side. I gotta do this because my power rack is on the small side, and I’m on the X-large side. My side bars come with hooks on the outside, so I set those at chest level for any “oh shit” moments. If I bring the weight down but can’t it get back up, I can at least swing it to those hooks. I set my regular hooks at 80% full extension.
After a few warm up sets, where I gradually work up to my working weight, I get ready for my first set. Shoulders pinched, slight arch in lower back. This protects my shoulders. I’m putting my hands in the “power” position, which is just outside of my shoulder sockets. This is the optimum position to use both your chest and triceps for the work load.
10 reps. Touch your chest. Just do it. It’s too easy to lose to yourself otherwise, and you’re only cheating yourself if you don’t get a full range of notion.
Rest 2 minutes and repeat for 2 more sets.
This week’s motivational is Hatebreed Perseverance.
Beast Life: Bench Press
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Congrats on crossing the 300 pound mark again. Comes back kinda quick, eh?
I just started lifting last summer (after doing *nothing* for nearly 20 years). At nearly 42, and never having been into it enough when I was young to watch my diet, I’ll never end up being mistaken for a power lifter or body builder, but your posts give me something to shoot for.
I do have one question. I use free weights when possible, but between not trusting anyone I don’t know to spot, my wife not trusting herself to spot, and the gym I use only having one bench… I use a machine for chest-press. Is there any kind of simple formula to tell me about what I can bench with a real bar, based on the machine weight? I assume not, given the array of machine types, and the fact I know full well that the “310lbs” on the weight stack is not really 310lbs.
I’m glad to see you writing again, your posts do inspire me nearly daily to keep pushing. If nothing else, maybe I’ll live past 60.
Unfortunately the answer is no. There is no way to accurately predict how a machine assists you with its various pulleys and wheels. Don’t worry to much about that though unless you feel like you arent getting a good enough exercise. Do what you can is always better than doing nothing.
As for the flat bench, you dont really need a spotter unless you are lifting heavy. Stick to the 8-12 rep range and you should be fine without one. Nearly every flat bench these days has “oh shit” hooks set low enough that you can throw the weights off of you if you need to, and every other guy in the gym will typically look out for you and jump in if you need it. Sometimes wether you want them to or not.
But absolutely under no circumstances are you to attempt to throw on 310lbs and lift in by yourself. Work your way up from just the bar until you feel the work load get into the 8-12 rep range. Dont rush it. At 42 you’re not trying to break any records, just trying to be healthy and strong. Take your time.