The barbell bench press is one of the best barometers of your overall chest strength. Increase the pressure with Jim Stoppani’s 5-3-2 chest workout!
This heavy chest workout, pulled straight from the beginning of my 5-3-2 strength training program, is an excellent standalone training session for building strength and size.
It’s a fairly low-volume, high-intensity workout that will help you develop some serious pushing strength.
Before you attack the iron, keep in mind that “heavy” is a relative term. People hear the word and automatically think about benching 350 pounds, but “heavy” means a weight that is heavy to you.
For this workout, you have to use a heavy weight that allows you to get 5 reps for 5 sets on the flat bench press—not heavier, and certainly not lighter.
All the other exercises included in this session will help you improve your flat-bench strength. The incline press, fly, and dumbbell press are assistance exercises, which means you do them to build additional strength in your core lifts. All the dumbbell lifts also strengthen stabilizer muscles in your shoulder girdle, because each arm operates independently.
This workout also includes three classic abdominal exercises. Go to failure on each set, and move quickly. Research shows that the faster and more explosively you do your crunches, the more abdominal and oblique muscles you’ll activate.
PUSH YOUR STRENGTH
The key to a safe bench press is proper upper-arm position. As an illustration, think about holding grapefruits in your armpits, and squeeze them as you bring the bar down and press it back up. This activates your lats and puts the barbell in the proper position.