In honor of National Bench Press Day, I thought I’d give you a new bench work out to try today. Unfortunately, I won’t be getting this one in with you today–I bench at the end of each week. I know; I need to get my priorities in order. None-the-less, I think you’ll enjoy this one.
Lately, cluster reps have been dominating my training–it’s a great technique for concurrently building size and strength. I’ve been using them for the squat and the deadlift; I’ve even used them for my assistance exercises.
We’re using the two board for this cluster technique. This will allow us to keep the bar weight up while saving our shoulders.
Here it is:
Set #1: [ 5 x 1 @ 80-85% rest 10-15 sec between each single]
Set #2: [5 x 2 @ 60-65% rest 10-15 sec between each cluster]
Set #3: Repeat protocol for set #2
The percentages are based off of your full range bench press max. Rest 2-3 minutes between clusters–hitting band pull-aparts or other upper-back work between sets.
Set number one is designed to give great technique practice with appreciable weight–it will also fire-up your CNS for the subsequent sets. Sets number two and three are designed to work on bar speed. The beginning of the range of motion for a two board press is a common sticking point. Learning to press fast off of the two board will train you to bust through this dead spot.
Focus your assistance work on your upper-back, delts and triceps. Overhead presses and pull-ups are always great choices. Other great choices are dumbbell floor presses, face pulls, close grip three board presses and unicorn punches.
Next Monday I’ll post a post-bench session restoration technique that I’ve been using to restore tissue quality and length to the pecs. It’s not your typical stretch the crap out of your pecs in the squat rack routine. This routine will get you moving and building isometric strength through the entire bench range of motion–while concurrently increasing your awesomeness.
Try the clusters today and let me know how they work out for you.