Tag Archives: bench press

160kg/353lbs Bench Press PR

I hit a bench press personal record today with 160kg/353lbs. It was paused for a one count at an RPE@10. The video is below!

Jonnie Candito Placed 3rd at IPF World’s

At the IPF Raw World Championship, United States powerlifter Jonnie Candito placed 3rd to get a bronze medal in the 83kg category. His lifts were: 255kg/562lbs squat, 145kg/319.5lbs bench press, and 282.5kg/622.8lbs deadlift. This got him a  682.5kg/1504.7lbs total! He got a bronze medal for his deadlift and his total.

Check out Jonnie’s YouTube channel here. He provides some very valuable information about lifting there and also showcases his strength in many of his videos. He is definitely one of my favorite fitness YouTubers.

Congrats Jonnie! You’re a beast!

Pause Bench vs Touch n Go Bench

You may or may not have asked yourself, if you should be pausing your reps on bench press. Who better to ask than an IPF world record holder in the bench press?! And that’s exactly what Jonnie Candito did in his latest video about whether or not you should pause reps on the bench press. Enjoy the video!


– The intro is f#cking crazy!

– Connor Lutz from Canada is an IPF world record holder in the bench press (in the 83kg/183lbs weight class of the RAW junior division) with a 190kg/419lbs bench press.

– Connor thinks you should pause most of your bench press work and also utilize long (3 second) pauses to force your body to become stable in the bottom position.

– Pausing your bench press at the bottom can help prevent form breakdown (and a higher risk of injury) in the bottom portion of the bench press under heavy loads.

– Touch n go bench press work might still have a place in your training as he briefly explains in the video.

I hope that helps you decide whether or not you should be pausing repetitions on the bench press! I will definitely continue to pause most of my benching.

ChelseaLifts First Powerlifting Meet Video

Chelsea Lifts is a fairly popular YouTube fitness channel with close to 9,000 subscribers. Here is her first powerlifting meet. She bench pressed 135lbs and deadlifted 270lbs. Congrats to her!

She’s sponsored by Citadel Nutrition now. Some of their supplements, if you’re interested: Tier 1 Pre-Workout | Fish Oil

Bench Press Assistance

This article will cover my take on bench press assistance work. If you’re looking for information about the bench press itself, read my Bench Press 101 article. The approach described in this particular write-up is what helped me get my bench press max to 150kg/331lbs at a body weight of 85kg/187lbs.


A Few Rules

The following is a quick list of rules I have for my training, when it comes to bench press assistance work.

1. Double the bench press volume with upper body horizontal pulling volume.

2. Keep it simple. I try to apply this to all of my training. Simple does not mean easy. It only means that I keep my exercise selection fairly basic whenever possible.

3. Make adjustments over time instead of all at once. This allows me to effectively analyze which approach works best for me.


Horizontal Pulling

This makes up the bulk of my assistance work on bench press day. Doing a lot of pulling will build a big strong back and improve your posture. Doing movements like bench press in absence of an adequate amount of pulling volume will usually lead to muscular imbalances, which tend to affect shoulder health negatively among other things in this case. A 2:1 ratio is my goal, so if I do 50 total repetitions on bench press, I do 100 total repetitions of horizontal pulling. The movements below are my personal favorites, but I would at bare minimum suggest you use one type of row and one type of rear delt focused movement. (Note: My vertical pulling is done on Overhead Press day in a similar fashion.)

Pendlay Row

I recently did an article about the barbell row. The type I personally use is the strict bent over barbell row, which is often referred to as the Pendlay Row. It’s covered in that article, but below is a quick tutorial video.

The Pendlay Row is a lift I use often as my heavy rowing movement and main assistance movement to the bench press. It’s an explosive row from a dead stop on the floor, so I keep the weight heavy and the reps low. I tend to do 2-3 warmup sets of about 5 reps and then move into my work sets. Work sets tend to be 3×3 or ramping up to a heavy single, double or triple. Occasionally the final set will be done for as many reps as possible, usually with a weight I will not be able to get more than 5 or 6 repetitions with.

Kroc Row

These are named after Matt Kroczaleski. He did a whole article about them last year here. It’s essentially a heavy dumbbell row done for 20+ reps after a couple warmup sets. If my gym had heavy dumbbells, I would do these to get most of my pulling volume in. They’re awesome. I sometimes do the movement during deload weeks, but it’s not a Kroc Row when it isn’t done with heavy-ass weight! A video is below.

Meadows Row

This one is named after John Meadows (the Mountain Dog Diet guy) and it’s basically a one armed corner barbell row. You can use a T-Bar, Chest Supported Row machine or just a barbell to do these. I mainly use them because my gym doesn’t have heavy dumbbells to do Kroc Rows and these are a similar movement. A video is below.

Typically, I’ll use these as a tool to get more rowing volume done after doing heavy Pendlay Rows, so I’ll do one or two warmup sets and then multiple sets of 10 reps or an all out set with a weight I can do 15+ reps with.

Chest Supported Row

I like to use these to top off my pulling volume on bench day. They aren’t as taxing as a barbell row or Meadows Row, so they’re nice for the end of the workout in my opinion. A CSR video is below.

Face Pulls

My favorite rear delt movement. I usually do 5 sets of 10 repetitions and superset them with my bench press work. Keep them very light and do them right.


You can also do seated face pulls. Other rear delt exercises I like: Cable Rear Delt Fly | Band Pull Aparts | Dumbbell Rear Delt Fly


Extra Pressing

I don’t usually do a lot of extra pressing, aside from Overhead Press (done on another day) within the context of the 5/3/1 program (utilizing techniques described in Beyond 5/3/1). With that being said, I do see that some people might need extra pressing work. For this, I would recommend using various grips, various implements (i.e. dumbbells, barbells, various other bars, chains, bands, etc.) and also train in different positions. Some exercises to consider are below.

Floor Press

The Floor Press (my favorite) is particularly great for upper body strength development. It removes leg drive, which can be utilized in the bench press. I’ve actually replaced bench press for a while with floor press. So far I like it a lot and it seems easier on the shoulders overall.

Decline Bench Press

The decline bench press allows you to use more weight than the flat or incline bench press. It also supposedly targets the lower chest more. I’m not sure if this is just bro science or not though.

Incline Bench Press

Less weight is used than on the flat bench. The upper chest and shoulders are taxed more.


Make sure you do them properly. They’re awesome. Jordan Syatt explains why and how to do them below.


Extra Chest Isolation

The cable fly is a great one. I’m pretty much going to leave it at that. Jonnie Candito does a great job explaining why in the video below.



I don’t personally do a lot of tricep isolation work, but pressdowns and skullcrushers would be my preferred exercises for that. For biceps, I mainly stick to dumbbell curls (which I do on OHP day) and hammer curls (which I do on bench day).


Mobility Work

I do mobility and active recovery work daily. On bench day, I usually focus on shoulder mobility and thoracic mobility specifically, but the entire body should be stimulated daily with this type of work in my opinion. That’s if you have the time to do so.


And that wraps this one up. As always, this is all just my opinion. I’m not a doctor or anything like that.

Video of the Week & Reverse Grip Bench Article

Video of the Week

This one’s from Jonnie Candito (US national level powerlifter) about hips shooting up in the deadlift. It’s quality information and he’s also trolling CT Fletcher a little bit, because the footage he uses for the bad example is taken from a CT Fletcher training video.


Reverse Grip Bench Article

This one is a pretty good read about the reverse grip bench press. A movement I’ve considered doing myself and will try in the future for sure.

Master the Reverse-Grip Bench by John Phung


Bench Press Basics

Other basics write-ups: Squat | Deadlift | OHP | Barbell Row


Similar to the Deadlift Basics and Squat Basics write ups I did, this one is going to cover the basics of the barbell bench press. It’s just my opinion mixed with some of the best bench press tutorial videos I know of. If you have anything to add, as always leave it in the comments or write me an e-mail. A lot of these videos have helped me reach a 147.5kg/325lbs bench press at 85kg/187lbs body weight (as of 6/13/2013).  I’m hoping they will help you as well.


So You Think You Can Bench?

This is one of my favorite video series from Dave Tate on YouTube. Be sure to watch all 7 parts. The first one is embedded and the other six parts are linked below the video.

Part 2 | Part 3| Part 4| Part 5| Part 6| Part 7


Other Bench Tutorial Videos

The first one is from Jonnie Candito. Easily one of my favorite YouTube guys. He goes into detail about elbow tucking (or lack thereof) and how to arch. If you only watch one of these videos I’m posting, it should be the following one.


Omar Isuf also did a great video on bench technique.


From T-Nation: Bench Press Tutorial


Prevent Shoulder Injuries

The bench press is notorious for wrecking shoulders. Most of the time, poor technique is used when shoulder injuries happen… but sometimes it is simply a lack of warming up properly or an injury might also be caused due to muscular imbalances. A good way to prevent this is to be proactive. Make sure your shoulder is healthy and moves properly instead of waiting until you injure yourself and have to rehab. Cliffs: Prehab instead of rehab.

I’ll start with a quick tip from Candito about how to prevent shoulder injuries by doing the Rear Delt Fly exercise between sets of bench press. I do face pulls instead, but it’s the same basic principle. Do these very light.


There is much more to keeping your shoulders healthy overall, but I already wrote about that in my shoulder health article. Another great thing to do for your shoulder health is to make sure you are overhead pressing in your routine. It allows for a more full range of motion in your shoulder girdle, plus it’s a badass movement. Pushing heavy-ass weight above your head is awesome. I’ll definitely cover the OHP (overhead press) in a future article.


Pull More Than You Press

This will help you balance out your body and avoid muscular imbalances in the future. Your back needs more work than your chest and shoulders. Try to hit a 2:1 or even 3:1 ratio of pulling:pressing in your workout routine.

To give you a really simple example: If you do 50 reps of pressing movements (bench press, overhead press, etc.) in your workout, you should aim to do 100-150 reps of pulling movements (pullups, chinups, rows, etc.) to balance things out.

Bonus: A strong upper back provides a very sturdy platform to bench press from. If your back is currently weak or smaller than it should be for good stability on the bench press movement, fixing this will likely improve your bench press.

Jim Wendler agrees with me in his 5/3/1 book. (Which just happens to be the lifting program I’m currently using.)


Other Bench Press Tips

From CT Fletcher: Optimal Grip Width When Bench Pressing

From Omar Isuf: Bench Press More

From Elliott Hulse (strengthcamp): Quick Tips on Benching


Alternative or Assistance Exercises for the Barbell Bench Press

This is just a quick list. I’m probably missing some other exercises, but these are the ones I personally think you could benefit from. This is direct assistance work for the barbell bench press. Most of your extra work should be pullups/chinups, rows and overhead pressing as mentioned.

The list: Barbell Floor Press, Dumbbell Floor Press, Board Press, Barbell Incline/Decline Bench Press, Dumbbell Flat/Incline/Decline Bench Press


I hope that helps. As always, it’s just my perspective along with some videos that will help you learn how to bench press properly.