Bench Stolen? Do These Instead!


Tomorrow is Monday and in meathead terms, that means it’s bench day.  Why?  BECAUSE MONDAY IS ALWAYS BENCH DAY.

To prepare you for the onslaught of bros that will be hogging your equipment and most likely talking about their pecs, bis, and tris, I decided to help you with your creativity.  If you have a limited amount of time at the gym, here are a bunch of exercises that can help keep you lookin’ good while throwing in some spice to your “all chest all day” workout plan (although, that workout plan is highly ill-advised).

Before any of the videos, I want to thank my girlfriend Lindsay for taping these earlier today.  She's incredibly patient with me!

First up, rather than a boring old dumbbell bench press, try doing it with only one arm.  Suddenly, this exercise is a lot more full body as you need a huge abdominal contraction to keep from falling off the bench (please don’t make fun of the 55 lb dumbbell…it was a rest day, and..well, ok that’s still not an excuse):

Next, another favorite of mine is just your standard floor press.  I shunned this exercise for some irrational amount of time, but benching on a regular basis can really beat you up.  Just make sure to keep your shoulders packed and you’ll be good to go:

If you’re bored with those, move on to the push up.  In my opinion, the push up is a VERY underrated exercise.  Not only is it probably the most functional of all chest-intensive exercises, nothing quite recruits the serratus anterior (muscle along your ribs that controls your scapula) as well.  Also, note my set-up on these, where I place my hands on the ground and am laying on the floor, then push up.  This prevents you from common set-up problems, and may help you keep from flaring your elbows out.  If you do pushups with your elbows flared, it really increases your risk of a host of shoulder disorders (impingement, humeral anterior glide, and other fancy sounding things).  While you should start with no weight, here's how you can add some safely.

If those are easy, you can also elevate your feet with or without weight.  However, I like doing them for 1 1/2 reps.  That way, you're doing a full push up, then coming half way up before going down again.  See here:

Next, you can make your pushups a bit more dynamic.  I call these Alligator push ups, although I’m sure they’re called a ton of different names.  It introduces a tougher core stability component.

If you’re now yawning with boredom (but still reading), I have a few more for you.  Enter, the Valslide.  If you don't currently have one, I'd consider getting one.  It's great for a variety of exercises, but for this post, it can deliver a great progression to your one-handed pushup.

And lastly, here’s another variation with a Valslide.  I must warn you, these are an advanced progression, and are actually quite tougher than the ones above.

Hope you enjoyed the videos.  Happy lifting to all!