Although there have been countless articles put out there about the Bench Press, I want to delve into the way that I take the movement and make it a part of my workout. The way I see it there are two different types of flat bench pressing—the bodybuilding way and the powerlifting way.
The bodybuilding way in my opinion is the optimal way to build size, but not necessarily strength. I usually have a wider grip on the bar and purposefully flare out my elbows. This helps keep me working my chest and take out the help of my triceps. I also keep constant tension on my chest by not fully locking out at the top and not pausing at the bottom.
The powerlifting way might not necessarily give you size, but will definitely give you that “big bench” number so you can answer the age old question “how much ya bench” proudly. With this style, I usually have my shoulder blades tucked back more and a larger arch in my back. I have a “sweet spot” with my hand placement; it’s a little closer, trying to optimize the use of my chest and my triceps. I also have my feet tucked under me to utilize my hip drive, and during the movement, I pause at the bottom to mimic a “paused bench” at a powerlifting meet.
The big question is, do you want to be strong or be big? How bout both. It’s tough, and it’ll wear down on your body, however it’s not impossible. I integrate both styles into my own training, as seen in the video below. Usually people pick one or the other. However even with bodybuilding being my main priority right now, I will always have that powerlifting mentality at heart.
If you’re a powerlifter, or a bodybuilder, or both (a power builder—that’s what I’m self proclaimed as on my offseason), the flat bench is a great way to add size or show off your strength, and if done correctly, both at the same time.
Danny Quach is a senior at the University of Georgia
and he’s studying Health Promotion and Behavior. He’s a powerlifter at heart and has done it for over six years. He just competed in his first bodybuilding show in Summer of 2011. For powerlifting, he holds some Georgia records. In his first bodybuilding competition, he placed 2nd
in Novice in INBF Southern States. On his spare time he’s a part of the University of Georgia’s
cheerleading co-ed squads; his favorite past-time? Throwing girls around and catching them.