Benches Are The Central Part Of Any Good Weight Training Program.


 Benches Are The Central Part Of Any Good Weight Training Program.

It is easy to attach ugly words like “failure” and “disaster” to your workout if you have a bench press that is in any way less than perfect. I can remember the many times I went to work out and tried to force myself through a set of bench presses while people looked on in disgust, or worried about what my workout would mean for their own.

But benches are more than just the central part of any good weight training program; they are among the most important pieces of equipment you own. They make your entire workout easier, safer, and much more efficient. They also provide you with an unparalleled platform for building muscle mass.

There are a lot of good benches out there, but most of the ones you see in department stores are useless. Your bench should be made of wood, and its surface should not move during hard workouts. In addition, its pads should be wide enough to support your chest without forcing your elbows to come in toward your body. A good bench costs at least fifty dollars, but it can be worth every penny if you work hard with heavy weights.

We recently decided to test ten different benches that cost less than fifty dollars each. We used each one for a full year; we added weight as we progressed, and then stripped the weight off as we got stronger until we were back where we started.

We hadn’t used a bench for a long time, and we were amazed by how bad our old ones had been. Neither of us knew how truly poor our old benches had been until we got these new ones home. We immediately stuck to the programs we had developed in the past, but now everything was much easier. We could feel each workout much more clearly and, when we left the gym, we were tired instead of just sore. Our strength gains increased as well; if anything went wrong in the past (we didn’t eat right all day or took too little time to get ready) then we would have less energy, or be more likely to miss a lift. Now, our workouts are safer and much more productive.

In fact, the benches we tested were so good that we would have bought them even if they had cost much more. We would have been happy to pay twice as much for a bench that was half as good. Four of the ten benches we tested were so bad that they were worse than useless; there was no way we could lift on them, and we threw them out after only a few days of trying to use them again and again in an attempt to make them feel more comfortable or sufficiently stable. Their pads were simply too narrow for us to use; without wide enough support, our elbows would be forced in toward our bodies while doing heavy presses.

Every bench we tested provided excellent support with enough depth to allow us to do good sets of four or five reps. (As I write this, I keep remembering all the times a friend has told me how my bench was too shallow for him, or how it made his elbows hurt; now he’s glad he never found out the truth about my benches.) When we got new benches, we were able to increase our sets on the incline bench press and decline push press from 50 to 100 pounds within a few uses, and then went right back down from 100 to 50 after only a few weeks. This is very important; as you get stronger, you should always lose weight on your bench press instead of gaining weight.

In addition, all ten benches we tested allowed us to do exercises like dips and leg raises without any trouble at all. We had no problem doing five, ten or even twenty dips on each of the benches we tested. Our old benches were too small, and my old bench had been chewed to bits by a friend’s dog; I was very happy not to have to worry about replacing a bench that had been chewed in half by a sharp set of teeth. Everything was smaller, lighter, more comfortable and safer; it was as if we were working out with the most efficient equipment in the world. It didn’t cost much more than our old benches did either.

If you don’t buy a good bench, don’t bother to get any other equipment; it won’t help you at all. The best benches are made of wood; they are not expensive, and they will last for decades. You can do everything you have ever dreamed of doing in the gym with a good bench by your side. I guarantee that you will see more gains in the next year than you have seen in the last ten, as long as you use a bench that gives you the support and stability that a good bench should provide. We each went through our own personal hells with old, unsound benches before we got these new ones home.

I broke two new bench presses in college because I didn’t have the right bench. (I broke them when I was lifting with my best friend. I thought he was helping me lift more weight; he thought I was helping him lift less.) My first set of weights cost me a thousand dollars, and even worse, I couldn’t do bench presses for another year. I had to use a smith machine instead, and my gains were terrible. It took me years to get back on track, but once I did get back on track, my strength and size increased faster than they ever had before. (I must have gotten so strong that I wasn’t using a bench at all.)

In my first year of college, I was lifting weights in vain when a fellow student started telling me about this secret program he had discovered. He told me that I could get more muscle with less effort if all I did was do one or two straight sets on the bench press. I asked him how he could do this; he said that you just never touched the barbell again, and then you loaded up your plates as heavy as you wanted to. It sounded too easy to be true, so I asked him how he did it.

“I get the bar up overhead, and that’s it,” he said. “You just keep getting stronger and stronger every year. I believe in the one-rep breakaway system.”

I asked him how he knew when to stop; didn’t he know what was good for his health? He told me that if I was healthy, then I could go up forever. He told me that part of the program involved jumping on a scale before you went to bed, and then weighing yourself again in the morning before you got out of bed.


“The one-rep breakaway system?” I said. “What are you talking about?”

He told me to give it a try, and then explained. “The secret to lifting is to get a good bench. They make the weights feel lighter, and they protect your body when you lift hard. I can lift more with less effort if I have a good bench, and so can you. After that, all you need to do is get heavier weights than anybody else in the world does for one rep. Then you make sure that everybody knows that you can do more than anybody else in the world for one rep.

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