Bench Press and upper body strength

The nature of the CrossFit athlete tends to be , have fun, go hard and crush weaknesses!

Bench press, whilst not commonly programmed is a great exercise to develop upper body strength for push ups, ring dips and Handstand push ups whilst also having a great carry over effect into pull ups, muscle ups and deadlifts.

The Bench Press itself calls on all the core stabilisers and shoulder stabilisers as well as recruiting those much appreciated beach muscles (pecs and arms).

For many female athletes new to Crossfit the push up is often a tough exercise, bench pressing can be a simple way to engage the arms and shoulders through pressing without taking “the entire weight of ones own body”.

For many men, the push ups and even bench press is more familiar, however significant gains in bench have great carry over effects as mentioned earlier through muscle endurance if done for high repetitions and for muscle recruitment and power when done for low maximal reps.

Here is a very simple and basic program that can be done in 30-45 minutes for 12 – 16 weeks where you repeat the first 4 weeks for 3 to 4 cycles on top of your current Crossfit training.

Once a week on “Non Push days” (Days where there are no Burpees, Handstand push ups, push ups, ring dips or overhead press) you can choose to bench press

Week 1 Build to a moderate weight 5 x 5 Bench Then Superset Dumbbell or Kettlebell Shoulder Press 3 x 12 Push ups 10-20 reps (incline if needed)

Week 2 Build to moderate/ heavy weight 6 x 3 Bench Then Superset Deficit Push ups 2 x max sets Ring Rows 2 x max sets

Week 3 7 x 2 Bench

Superset Dumbbell or Kettlebell shoulder Press 3 x 12 Pull Ups 3 x 12-15 (use bands as needed to hit target reps)

Week 4 Build to heavy 1RM Then 5 Rounds 10 Bench at 50% 1RM 10 Push ups Rest as needed

Good luck and give us the thumbs up and a shout out when you notice everything improving.

Included in your warm ups and cool down can be full body stretching. Typically dynamic stretching or movement focused stretching to increase muscle warmth and elasticity for warm ups and static stretching to restore length after a workout.



For more Bench tips: hit us up for some personal training with one of our coaches.

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