Yup, you heard me right! There are alternatives to bench press that can ease the shoulder tension and still get you big. Even though it is one of the most popular exercises at the gym but still it seems like doing the same old-school exercise again and again may lead to a plateau and at times it gets way too boring. Modifying it not only gives your body a new challenge but also keeps you fresh and motivated with the progress.
Although we’ll be focusing on the same motion, it will be in a completely different manner. However, one thing is for sure, that your body will gain strength and massive gains.
1. Dumbbell Squeeze Press
The old-school version was the simple bench press. To perform the dumbbell squeeze press, grab a pair of dumbbells in each hand and lie on a bench. Hold them with a natural grip with your palms facing in and the dumbbells pressed in front of the chest. With your arms fully extended, gradually push the inside part of the dumbbells together and lower them together till they reach the chest.
When you are about to push them back up, make sure you never bounce them off your chest. Keep squeezing the dumbbells together throughout the workout.
This alternative is useful for bros who have inflexible shoulders that cause problems doing the regular bench press. When you press the dumbbells and squeeze them as you do so, it combines an element of dumbbell fly. This results in better stimulation of the chest muscles.
2. Weighted Dips
This exercise engages the arms, chest, shoulders and abs altogether. The exercise involves two flat benches facing parallel to one another and placed at a distance equal to your legs. To perform this exercise, there will be a bench behind you and another one in front of you.
Grab the bench behind you with the hands close to the body separated and shoulder’s width and place your legs on the front bench. Your legs must be parallel to the floor while your torso perpendicular to it. Ask for someone to place a dumbbell on your lap. This will be the starting position.
Gradually lower your body till the elbows reach an angle slightly smaller than 90-degrees. Hold this position for a second and finally push yourself back up to your starting position. You can start without any weight on your lap as a warm up.
3. Incline Single-Arm Dumbbell Bench Press
This is similar to the incline bench press but done with dumbbells and working a single arm at a time.
Lie on a flat bench and grab a dumbbell in one hand. Place it on top of your thigh. Now hold it in front of you at shoulder width and using the other hand, position it over you properly. Once it is at shoulder width, rotate the wrist forward so that the palm of the hand is facing away from your body.
Gradually descend the dumbbell till it reaches your chest. Now, without bouncing it off your chest and using your pectoral muscles, push it up to the starting position. Do at least 3 sets of 8-12 reps each. Repeat the same process by switching the arms
4. Offset Push-Ups
It’s time to target the side shoulders, front shoulders, upper chest, transverse abdominis and rear shoulders all in one exercise along with biceps, triceps and wrist flexors. You will need a medicine ball for this exercise.
Bring your body in a push-up position with one hand placed on top of the medicine ball and the other one firmly on the floor. This will be your starting position.
Perform a push-up and lower your body as much as you comfortably. can Now push back up and repeat. Remember to switch sides at half way point. Perform as many reps as you can until failure.
The blast-off exercise is like a regular push-up but with a tiny variation. It targets a lot of muscle groups at once, including the delts, triceps, pecs, and the abdominals. You don’t need any equipment for this exercise, just your own bodyweight.
Bring yourself in a push-up position without your knees touching the floor. Now briskly dive into the plank position and do a push-up, and move back into the starting position. This will be pretty tough if you are doing it for the first time. 8-12 reps would be enough for day one.
6. Partner Press-offs
You need a partner for this exercise. Bae would be perfect…if you’re still single, request someone around you at the gym. Begin in a fighting position like the boxers do.
Ask your partner to lean into you by placing their chest and shoulders on your palms. Now gradually descend to a quarter-squat position. This will be your starting position. Now, in an explosive manner, extend at the hips and knees, push your partner off your body as hard as possible. Repeat the process for 30 seconds to a minute and switch the positions in between.
You can do it in different variations.