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February 17, 2022

Full Bench Day Workout [free upper body lift with videos]

full bench day workout with Annie Miller

Monday’s are chest day universally. Not really, but if you’ve ever walked into an LA Fitness on a Monday, it can certainly feel like it. Thus, today I bring you a bench press and horizontal pressing and pulling focused workout.

Before diving into the whole workout, let’s cover a few pointers about bench press:

1️⃣ THE ARCH – it’s fine. Arching, particularly through the T spine, helps set the shoulders. Think about anchoring your upper traps into the bench + pulling your scapulae down into your back pockets.The arch also helps decrease ROM in competition. This extreme arch is not needed if you’re just benching to get some horizontal pressing in.

2️⃣ FEET POSITION – I don’t care, just squeeze your ass and use your feet to press into the ground + create tension through the lower body. Feet can be flat on the floor, or on your toes, pulled back behind you a bit. Either way, USE THEM. Not to press UP, rather back, towards the bench. We generate force from the ground. So, yay physics. Press into the floor and that bitch presses back.

3️⃣ HAVE FUN – bench is an intimidating lift form some people. But I find it becomes a favorite once you get the hang of it.

Before beginning the main lift, I like to add what I call “movement prep.” These are movements that prep the body for the exercises of the day. Typically this is 2-3 exercises priming the nervous system and/or warming up the core and muscles used for the workout.

Movement prep: Quadruped T spine rotations, bear crawl shoulder taps, prone T spine extension

Main lift: Bench press

Accessory work:

Incline bench press is a fabulous addition to any horizontal pressing day. The more vertical position creates a hybrid of vertical and horizontal pressing – leading to an anterior deltoid bias for the bench press. GIVE IT TO ME. People often sleep on incline bench press for overall deltoid development.

These are paired with pull ups – yes, I know, vertical pulling. I personally like to do chin ups once per week and pull ups once per week. Considering my upper body days are rooted in bench press and overhead press, I am vertical pulling on both of these days.

These two movements come first because they are compound, multi-joint, multi-muscle group exercises. Both have a vertical bias or were vertical movements. The next superset is also compound movements but horizontal pressing and pulling.

To get in more unilateral pressing, you could have done single arm or alternating incline bench press. I would be very game for that action. You’ll see in the superset below that we get in unilateral pulling with the single arm rows. Another solid staple in any upper body lift.

The pressing choice is narrow push ups (from knees) focusing a bias on the triceps. The triceps are a synergist muscle in bench press. Which is why we want accessory work that works them.

Narrow push ups + single arm rows

Do we love or hate bench press?

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I'm an adventurous introvert from Vancouver, Washington who lives on sleep + "me time." I'm a lover of lifting weights, dinosaurs, real talk and traveling with my husband. I am here to help you move better, lift more, bust the myths of the fitness industry, and inspire you to love the process.

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