Bench Press Training Tips & Articles
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Dale's Bench Press Training Tips... in a Nutshell 

I'm going to start by saying...To be sucessful in benching you must have the desire, determination and dedication to be the best . You have to push your self to the limit but training smart at the same time. Set goals that are attainable. I personally liked to do mini goals (25 lb)...they seemed to add up faster.

Training Partners is another key to your success. You need training partners (the more the better) that are there for you at every work out and all meets. A good hand off guy is also very important. Practice, Practice, Practice!

Workout Log book, is a must. It is just to hard to remember what exercises, reps and sets and most of all how much weight you were using. Don't forget to log your body weight.

Your Grip...The width of your hands on the bar is crucial. Everybody is different so you have to experiment and find out where you're the strongest. The wider the better is usually true. When you use a maximum grip (34") you're not pushing the bar as far as if you were using a closer grip. Most shirt benchers will use a wide grip. When gripping the bar, the safest grip to use is wrap your hand and thumb around the bar. The bar must sit on the back of your hand (palm).

Bench Press Set Up, This is a very critical component of the bench press. As you lay down on the bench push yourself into an arch. The bigger the arch, the higher the chest, the less distance the bar travels. You should have your shoulders and neck pushing down into the padding of the bench.

Your feet should be in a position on the floor where they can get sufficient footing and traction. You have to experiment and find the best foot position which allows you to push hard with the feet & legs. The taller you are the more your feet must be way out in front, way out to the side or way back underneath...your choice.

Squeezing the bar as hard as you can, this seems to tighten up the whole body. Then drive your heals down. By driving your heels into the floor you'll never have a problem of your ass coming up off the bench. Your whole body has to be as tight as possible

Breathing...right before you take a hand off take a HUGE breath of air and hold it in. On your decent of the bar push your belly up. You want to get the air in your stomach and don't let it out until you have pressed the weight. The reason you don't let the air out is because you'll go flat and lose your tightness. As I have mentioned before "You have to stay tight completely through the lift". Experiment with this and you'll see what I mean. If you have a hard time holding your breath...practice this during your workouts.

Your Hand Off and Decent, Squeeze the bar, and pull the elbows in as much as possible (4 and 8 o'clock). Try to bend the bar on your decent. By doing this it keeps you in a tucked position. I like to get my lats involved too, when lowering the weight.

Workout Routines...

I am a true believer that Westside training is by far the best training for a raw or equipted lifter. Doing the same thing all the time is not the way to train if you want to get stronger. With Westside method of training your cycling different exercises weekly and you can train at 100%. Here are some different exercises you can do....

Board Presses 1-5 (use different grips)

Rack Lock Outs (pin presses)

Reverse Band Press (power rack) Green Bands

Pause Reps 

Incline Bench Press

Heavy Dumbbells

Volume Dumbbells 

Floor Presses (barbell and dumbbell)

Static Holds - 10 to 20 second holds w/20% of 1 rm


Resistance Training with Bands...I liked using mini bands double looped. It's about 75 lb. of resistance at the top of the lift. I have used heavier bands but they take a toll on your shoulders. Mini bands are great for close grip (16" grip) bench presses with boards. Great way to increse your lockout strength.

Chains...are another great way to increase your over all strength. Using chains isn't so taxing on your shoulders like bands can be. Using chains are one of my favorites. I used 2 sets of 40 lb. chains. The chains actually weigh 80 lbs. but when you lower the bar to you chest 1/2 of the chains will be on the floor. As you raise the bar, you are increasing the resistance.

Speed Bench...a great exercise on your dynamic effort day. Do  9 sets x 3 reps at 50% of your 1 rep raw max. Each set do 3 reps as fast as you can (3 seconds). Use 3 different grips (close, medium and wide) and taking only a 30 second rest between sets. Speed benching teaches you to push fast at the bottom, which inturn help you push through sticking points.

Rotator Cuff Exercises; If you have ever had a rotator cuff problem you know it's very hard to bench, even very light weight. These exercises are crucial if you wanna bench big weights. I do theses rotator cuff exercises before I bench with only a 5-10 pound weight, 3-4 sets x 10-15 reps with a short rest peroids between sets. Doing them before benching warms up your shoulders so there's less chance of any injury.

Deload week...Alot of guys are afraid they are going to lose strength if they miss a workout, you won't. I know everyone is different so your deload week may consist of lightning up the weight and doing volume sets. I liked doing volume dumbbells on my deload week (no barbell). I would do 3 sets of flat dumbbells to failure, trying to hit 20 reps per set. If I felt beat up from training I would take the entire week off. This will help from over training. You just can't train at 100% all the body!

Don't Overtrain in the bench, try to make your workouts last no more than an hour. Two exercises per body part 1-2 days per week. I have always said "Less is better than more". Train smart and you'll have long sucessful career in benching. And don't forget to take a deload week every 4-6 weeks.

Take video's of your's a good way to perfect your technique. Good technique will increase your numbers.

Any questions feel free to contact


Training Critical Bench

50 Keys to a Bigger Bench

How to Instantly Increase your Strength on the Bench Press....

Do bench shirt make your raw bench weaker? 

12 Intelligent Ways to Improve Your Next Workout 

Bench Shirt Technique...

Tricep Death Workout - Killer


Training Westside Barbell 


So you think you can bench?

Part 1... 

Part 2...

Part 3...

Part 4...

Part 5...

Part 6...

Part 7...

Top 12 Tricep Movements 

A Powerlifters Guide to Making Weight... 

The Art of Triples.....


4 Board Press.....Don't miss a weight at the top!

When we say "Train your triceps" what we really mean is "Train your lockout." There is a difference. That's why high board presses work and triceps kickbacks aren't in the arsenal. The 4 board press is one of the best ways to improve the top portion of your bench press; you can handle heavier weights and learn how to flare at the top.





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