The Best Bench Press Variation for Chest (WINNER!)


What’s up, guys? Jeff Cavaliere, ATHLEANX.com. We have another Iron Face Off here today. This time, pitting variations of the bench-press
up against each other to determine which one is the one. If I had to choose just one that’s going
to give you the most bang for your buck. Now, I’ve got to say right off the bat,
in all these Iron Face Offs I like everything we do. There’s a purpose and meaning for everything
we do that we’re going to cover here today. But again, gun to my head, which one am I
going to pick? I’m going to have to pick one. So, we’re going to break them down one by
one. It starts here with the dumbbell variation
of a bench-press. Now, why are we doing a dumbbell bench-press? A couple of reasons. Number one: we do know that this is an exercise
we can load up fairly heavy and uses a progressive overload exercise. We can get a great range of motion with the
dumbbells because they can come down slightly lower than the chest itself. That might be stopped by the barbell. We also have the opportunity to create a bigger
range of motion. As I bring my arms up straight, I can also
bring them toward each other. However, I will caution you on this. Do not think this is a resisted adduction
exercise. It’s not because when we’re in this plane
here, whether we slide left or right is not really impacted by the weight that’s in
our hands because gravity is acting downward on these weights. What you are feeling is your ability to contract
your chest into more adduction, but it’s not a factor of the resistance of the dumbbells
providing extra there. So be careful about that. But that brings us over to this. This is a standing machine press. Some guys might go “I knew it! Jeff was going to say, ‘the athletic standing
exercise is going to be the best option’.” So, it would be something that would look
like this. We come out here and we press out. We get into a staggered athletic stance, we
press out in front of us. We have more resisted adduction here, right? It is ground based. However, two things are wrong here. Number one: this requires a tremendous amount
of core activation to put myself in position to do this properly. As I start to load up, I have to push this
weight out toward you. As much weight as I could possibly handle,
if I’m looking for that progressive overload. But each amount of weight that I have to push
out toward you is going to be countered by the fact that my core has to be able to stabilize
that and keep me here. The weights are going to try and pull me back. I have to stay here, and I can only do that
with my core activation. Which means you’d better have a strong ass
core to overcome the fact that you’re going to want to press some heavy weights. I don’t think you’re going to be able
to keep up in that race. So that’s the first thing. The second thing is, of course, getting into
position here and then having the adduction. Again, it’s not optimal when it comes to
adduction because of the angle here of the weights. Now, you might be thinking “I knew the cables
are still what Jeff likes.” You’re going to want to go down to a flat
bench and do cables like this. Now, in this case, you are getting a tremendous
amount of resisted adduction at the top. You have peak resistance at the top of this
range of motion because of the cables, but one thing you do not have is a good opportunity
to smoothly do this exercise. You’d better be able to curl a hell of a
lot of weight because you’ve got to pick this cable up from this down position and
get in position on the bench to be able to perform it. That is a struggle in itself. I can tell you this: no matter how much you
can bench-press, you’re never going to be able to curl that much weight to get yourself
in place to do it. So where does that bring us? It leaves us over here with the good, old,
barbell bench-press. Now, what is the good advantage of the barbell
bench-press here? Is this the winner? I’ll tell you this: the barbell bench-press
provides us with a slightly less amount of range of motion because you’re simply pushing
this up, straight overhead. But we don’t have that adduction component
because our hands are fixed here by the bar. So, there’s slightly less range of motion
in that regard. However, I minimize the contribution of that
extra range of motion when we talked about the dumbbell bench-press. What you do have here is, because we don’t
have to worry about the demand of stabilization the dumbbells provide, is an opportunity to
push more weight. So, we can get here in the barbell setup,
come down, and press. Not sacrificing all that much in terms of
depth, even though the bar is stuck, in terms of how low you can go because of your chest. But what you have is an opportunity to press
more weight. As anybody that’s performed this lift can
tell you, you have a greater dispersion of the weight and a longer distance. More like a see-saw – than you do when all
that weight is concentrated in your hand in a dumbbell. Which makes it a little easier to press this. Sometimes in the order of 20% more weight
here. So, if you’re looking for an exercise that’s
going to build your strength, this is the winner. We know how important, as a strength and conditioning
coach, strength is to the foundation of what you do. A barbell bench-press will be the winner. I will offer you one other combination, though. If you’re looking to create more hypertrophy,
more stress, more inefficiency as I’ve talked about in our videos before, when it comes
to applying more stress to your chest, so you get more growth, you’d want to perform
your bench-press. But then you’d come right up here and perform
a standing crossover. Something that allows you to get into resisted
adduction with a much more significant weight. The dumbbell bench-press is not applying that. There is no real resistance up top here because
you’re in that frontal plane. Here, I’m using all my strength to be able
to create that adduction across the body with a much more significant amount of stress and
weight against this adduction. So, I have the ability to overload the adduction
and I do it in a drop set format that allows me to take that bench-press one step further. Throw in the fact that, yes, we’re again
on our feet for that athletic additional benefit that always comes from being on your feet. So, guys, if you’ve found this video helpful
make sure you leave your comments and thumbs up below. We have others in the Iron Face Off series
that you’re going to want to check out. In the meantime, let me know what else you
want me to cover and I’ll do my best to do that for you in the days and weeks ahead. If you haven’t already, subscribe and turn
on your notifications so you never miss a video when it’s published. And if you’re looking for programs that
put the science back in strength head to ATHLEANX.com right now and get our ATHLEANX program. Guys, I’ll see you back here again in just
a couple of days.

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