Ditch The Bench: Eight Press Variations You Should Be Training Instead


There are an incredible number of exercise options to train the chest and shoulder muscles. Yet most athletes stick with the same barbell and dumbbell presses year after year. When it comes to training upper body pressing there are many alternative movements that will improve strength and mobility.

If you’re reading this, it might just be time for you to ditch the barbell bench and strict press. These exercises are great for building pure strength, but a lack of variability in your training could leave you vulnerable to injury in other ranges of motion. Selecting a wide assortment of pressing exercises to train your chest, shoulders, and triceps is best for an athlete who is serious about long term growth and success in their sport.

Ideally, working with a coach who can program the best drills and exercises will optimize your training. Here are the top 8 movements that will help you build strong, healthy chest and shoulder muscles and convey other performance benefits as well.

  • Behind the neck push press
  • Z press
  • Filly press
  • Plyometric push-ups
  • One arm dumbbell bench
  • Bottoms up kettlebell press
  • The Sots press
  • Landmine press

Behind the neck push press

The push press performed from behind the neck is a great exercise for developing strength through the full range of motion of the press. It has high transfer to other exercises like the jerk. Many athletes find they are able to develop better neural connection between the dip and drive portion of the lift than when performed in the front rack because the load stays directly over their hips.

“If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.” -Thomas Jefferson

Z press

Named after the strongman Zydrunas Savickas, the Z press is a press performed sitting flat on the floor with legs extended in front so your body is in an L shape. It requires trunk strength, hip flexor mobility, hamstring flexibility, and lumbar and thoracic spine health. The Z press can be performed with any implement of your choice and is great for training out inefficient movement patterns in the press.

Filly press

This is a one-arm dumbbell Arnold press while holding a kettlebell in the front rack position of the non-working arm. This exercise is great for building scapular stability as well as core strength as you balance the two different implements throughout the press. `These are also great for addressing muscle imbalances.

Plyometric push-ups

The ability to generate power can often be beneficial to athletes. Lifting heavy loads slow is generally not as useful as rapidly being able to generate force. Plyometric push-ups provide a way to train the fast twitch muscle fibers of the chest and triceps. You also achieve a stimulus as you receive your body’s weight during the eccentric deceleration experienced after every rep.

One arm dumbbell bench

One arm movements are great for challenging stability and core strength. For an added challenge, try performing this movement with only your upper back resting on the bench while driving your heels into the floor and bridging the hips to full extension.

Bottoms up kettlebell press

The bottoms up kettlebell press is a very challenging movement that should be learned with extremely light loads. It is tremendous for teaching proper pressing mechanics and learning how to develop stability in the shoulder. You are forced to stay engaged with a tight grip, elbow underneath the wrist, and tension in the total system.

The Sots press

The Sots press is a tremendous strength and mobility exercise created by weightlifters but beneficial for all. This movement requires you to press from the bottom of a front squat and will force you to increase mobility and strength in the hips, back, and shoulder girdle, while increasing core stabilization. Clearly this movement has huge carry over to athletics and completing it with a moderate load is very impressive.

Landmine press

The landline is a great tool for developing pressing strength in the upper chest and shoulders. It is effective because it provides a new vector to move weight through and disrupts the vertical resistance curve you are used to with most pressing movements.

There you have it. The eight pressing variations you should be training!

When implementing new movements or routines into your training, safety is the most important factor to focus on. Working with an experienced coach to learn the proper progressions is the key to having long term success!

If you’re interested in learning more about how to properly train to ensure you stay fit, contact us today!

5/1/2019


Grand Trunk CrossFit – CrossFit

Warm-up

3 minutes Bike

3 rounds

10 CS ATYT

10 lunges

10 ring rows/ 5 strict pullups

Mobility

box hip stretch

box shoulder stretch

Weightlifting

Back Rack Lunge (5×12)

every 90 sec

Reverse lunge

working at 70-75% across

do 6 reps with the right leg, then do 6 reps with left leg

Metcon

Metcon (Time)

6 rounds

12 DB step ups 50/35

2 rope climbs
24/20 inch box

using 1 DB

scaling : 1 rope climb= 10 ring rows+5 air squats or 3 ascend/descend

save your grip for the rope climbs,

*manage your HR on the step ups so you can go right into the rope climb

Lisa’s Revenge


Grand Trunk CrossFit – CrossFit

Warm-up

2 minutes shuttles

10 CS snow angels

10 BB thrusters

10 lateral bar hops

Mobility

wall hip stretch

banded front rack

Metcon

Lisa’s Revenge 2019 revised (AMRAP – Reps)

AMRAP 12

4 thrusters 165/115

30 KBS 53/35

81 DU

then

7 minutes of BURPEES

Accessory

V-up TABATA (AMRAP – Reps)

8 rounds

:20 work

:10 rest

Accessory

TABATA

low plank hold

:20 work

:10 rest

4/29/2019


Grand Trunk CrossFit – CrossFit

Warm-up

20 pass throughs

600m row

then

3 rounds

10 SGDL

10 HPS

10 OHS

Mobility

couch stretch

Weightlifting

Snatch

squat snatch

9 rounds

1 rep every :45

working at 75-80% across

Metcon

Metcon (Time)

10 rounds

5 deadlifts 275/185

5 strict HSPU
16 MTC

make sure the DL weight is heavy for you,

if you’re working from a box do 8 HSPU instead of 5

4/27/19


Grand Trunk CrossFit – CrossFit

Warm-up

4 minutes cardio

foam roll

review metcon

dynamic…

Metcon

Metcon (AMRAP – Rounds and Reps)

AMRAP 25

50 DB deadlift 50/35

100 DU- partner does hollow hold

50 DB S2OH 50/35

50 C2B pull-ups
with a partner

4/26/2019


Grand Trunk CrossFit – CrossFit

Warm-up

2 minutes cardio

3 rounds

10 CS bear hugs

10 wall squats

10 v-ups

Mobility

smash/ stretch pec minor

wall hip stretch

Weightlifting

paused bench press (5×3)

2 second pause

working at 65-70% of 1 RM Bench. every 2 minutes

ACROSS

Metcon

Metcon (Time)

2 Rounds

50 wall balls 20/14

50 Cal Row

50 sit-ups
17 MTC

come up with a plan to work through these in large sets

Accessory

50 DB shoulder press

50 DB bent over row

50 push-ups

4/25/2019


Grand Trunk CrossFit – CrossFit

Warm-up

500m Row

3 rounds

10 CS ATYT

5 BB HPC

5 BB strict press

5 BB lunges

Mobility

foam roll/ smash

Weightlifting

Hang Clean (heavy 2 rep)

12 minutes to build to an UB heavy 2 rep,

Metcon

Metcon (AMRAP – Reps)

AMRAP 12

15 clean and jerk 135/93

21 sand bag lunges 80/60
work through the power clean and push jerks, breaking up into large sets. hold the sand bag where ever you can. step out, step back on lunge

4/24/2019


Grand Trunk CrossFit – CrossFit

Warm-up

2 minutes shuttles

3 rounds

10 DB strict press

10 ring rows

10 DB lunges

Mobility

pigeon stretch

OH banded shoulder

Gymnastics

50 strict HSPU (Time)

do 50 strict HSPU…
7 MTC

every time you come off the wall do 25 DU

modify HSPU as necessary, use a pad, kipping, box, HS holds

score is time completed the 50 HSPU, or 7 min + missed reps

Metcon

Metcon (Time)

3 rounds

20 T2B

20/16 Cal Bike

20 pull-ups

rest 2 minutes
20 MTC

have a plan to breakup the 20 T2B and pull-ups each round

4/23/2019


Grand Trunk CrossFit – CrossFit

Warm-up

3 minutes cardio

20 pass throughs

3 rounds

10 CS WY’s

10 BB hang power snatch

10 BB OHS

10 lateral hops over BB

Mobility

box hip stretch

box shoulder stretch

Weightlifting

Power Snatch (6×5)

barbell cycling

every 1:45

do 5 reps UB for 6 rounds

increase the weight until you can’t do 5, then work at the the weight that you can get 5 reps

record your heaviest

Metcon

Metcon (AMRAP – Reps)

AMRAP 9

3-6-9-12-15…

hang squat snatch 75/53

box jump overs 30/24
watch your grip.

do your best to move through the hang squat snatches as the reps increase, have a plan how to break them up.

Accessory

V-up TABATA (AMRAP – Reps)

8 rounds

:20 work

:10 rest

4/22/2019


Announcements

This Sunday April 21st is Easter. We are closed.

Grand Trunk CrossFit – CrossFit

Warm-up

300m row

3 rounds

10 wall squat

10 pushups

10 alternating DB shoulder presses

Mobility

couch stretch

banded front rack

Weightlifting

Front Squat (heavy 3 rep)

14 minutes

Metcon

HARRY (Time)

3 Rounds

4 wall walks

21 Burpees

11 Front squats 155/93