The Bench: Benefits and Alternatives

In the fitness community there seems to be an obsession with building a strong chest. Many fitness enthusiasts focus on how much they can bench and how good they look doing it, but what is the proper form for this movement?  When done correctly, you don’t have to spend countless hours toiling away on the bench to develop those muscles.

As many people stand around waiting for their turn to hit the bench, there are alternatives to developing the strength, definition, or even the size you may be striving for, and here are some ideas to help you achieve that goal:

Dumbbell Bench Press:

We know what you’re thinking, what’s the difference? Well, if you have a strong dominant arm, then it would benefit you to engage with the dumbbells a little more if you want equal growth, rather than just sticking to the bar. As the body engages, the muscle fibers begin to fatigue, and through that fatigue, compensation begins to take place. This compensation often leads to misuse of different muscle bundles throughout your body. You know that older gentlemen at the gym who brags on how he used to bench 315 all the time, until he threw out his shoulder? To avoid the same issue, you must develop muscles equally.

Stability Ball Chest Press:

Again, not much of a difference at first glance, but you can use kettlebells, dumbbells, or even a barbell.The unique thing about this exercise is when you place your back on top of a stability ball,you force your body to engage your core, which is essential for a proper chest press. This movement may look like a beginner-level move, but it will actually engage more muscles throughout your body than any back supported press.

Incline Bench:

Though not as popular as the Flat Bench, incline bench is a great way to strengthen the lower part of the chest. It may feel “off” at first, and you may not be able to push the same weight you feel confident with on a flat surface. That being said, when trying to gain muscle in your chest the incline bench is an effective way to build a well-rounded muscle.

These are just a few suggestions to help you in your fitness journey, and they can easily be accomplished–along with the dozens of other chest movements–with a little time and dedication. The next time you visit  Youfit, ask one of our YouCoaches to show you how it’s done. We’re here for you!

Steven Davis

Steven Davis, Master YouCoach, Youfit Kennesaw - Cherokee Street Steven Davis is officially recognized and accredited with certifications in ISSA Level 1 CPT and CrossFit Lvl 1 CPT. He is currently completing his Masters Degree in Exercise Physiology. His fitness specialties include maximizing range of motion and mobility, increasing strength and endurance, weight loss, as well as increasing muscle and strength. Steven’s passion for personal training came from learning to overcome his own personal challenges and injuries. My favorite exercise to perform is the squat, and all its many variations. His philosophy? Fitness and a healthy lifestyle should best be viewed as preventive medicine.