Exercise progressions to work up to your first bench press


How to get your first bench press in 3 exercises or less

These exercise progressions are the safest way to work your way up to the bar and to ensure you’re doing exercises that work on building strength and stability. 

Working your way up to the bar is going to take practice with pressing in the horizontal plane. For starters, the bench press is an intermediate exercise that requires extra attention to form and execution being that improper technique could damage joints.

Here are 3 exercise progressions in order of difficulty that will ensure you are ready for the barbell within weeks

BB – Push-ups

Push-ups grant you the opportunity to work on your form and still train you pushing muscles adequately, since it is a hard exercise that often get butchered, elevating the surface.

The bar allows you to keep straight wrists which will translate later when benching. Practicing keeping your wrists out of extension will be huge for your bench later on.

Progress this exercise with lowering the surface or increasing the number of repetitions.

DB – Single Arm chest press

This exercise has become a favorite of mine being that it isolates one side of the body, consistently challenging the surrounding stabilizing muscles to a great degree.

Each rep makes you concentrate on maintaining a stable core brace, improving muscular balance on both sides of the body.

Your core is being challenged since your pecs get a great pump; as well preventing any rotation from occurring.

BB – Floor press

This exercise is very effective and safe because you have the ground as feedback to stop your range of motion and keep your shoulders out of a questionable range of motion.

I also find that it drives home maintaining a strong brace by pressing your back and feet into the ground.

Progressions here can be increasing weight or repetitions. Then eventually elevating the surface to a bench.

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