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For a lot of guys the bench press is an important exercise and many of them judge their strength on how much they can bench press.
After a while though most guys hit a plateau they just can’t break through. Luckily, there is some equipment out there that could help you break these plateaus and take your bench press to new levels.
Try using some of these tools to work your chest in a way you never have before and stimulate new gains in strength and size and also build explosive power.
1 Resistance Bands
Resistance bands are a great way to take your bench press to another level and increase strength and power
How resistance bands work: Resistance bands work by increasing the resistance as you lift the weight. As you do a bench press you are weakest at the bottom of the lift and strongest at the top. What the resistance band does is give you the least resistance at the bottom where you are weakest and increases in resistance as you lift the weight, in other words as you get to the part of the lift where you are naturally stronger you will get increased resistance from the bands. The increasing resistance from the band is also a great way to build explosive power and strength and is recommended for athletes, powerlifters or anyone else looking to get strong. This study shows the banded bench press is a good tool to increase your 1 rep max.
Bands should be looped around band pegs, or around heavy dumbbells on the floor or under the bench as pictured above, then looped around the bar. The longer your arms are the more tension you will experience as you raise the bar, the more tension the bands will provide.
Rogue has a vast array of bands here: Rogue Monster Bands. The bands of course can be used for much more than just use on the bench press. They can be used for many other barbell and even dumbbell movements, can be used as their own resistance or as a chin up assist for people who are unable to do chin-ups or can only do a couple of them.
2. Hanging Chains
Hanging Chains are another cool way to bench press. The hanging chains also work by adding resistance to the lift as you lift the weight. At the bottom of the movement more of the chains are on the ground and as you go up the chains come off the ground and increase the weight.
The chains work almost same as resistance bands but they just look a lot more badass. The main difference between bands and chains is that bands give you an accelerated negative portion of the lift. The chains also feel a lot more like a standard free weight bench press than the resistance bands do.
It is recommended that you have the chains hanging low enough so that most or all of the chains are on the ground at the bottom of the movement and then as you raise the bar they come off the ground and make it heavier as you go up. If your chains don’t hang low enough that the bulk of the chains are on the ground at the bottom, then you won’t get the most out of the use of the chains and it will be more like an added weight on the bar.
You can get some good chains from Rogue here: www.roguefitness.com/rogue-chain-kits
3 The Hanging Band Technique
While this one also uses bands, it is not at all like the first method we described using bands.
We have already written about the benefits of the hanging band technique before but we will go over it again for you here.
The hanging band technique is done by hanging the weights from the bar using bands. It is popular among high level athletes as well as powerlifters.
Hanging the weights from the bar makes it very unstable and force you to use slower reps while moving the weight. The movement of the hanging weights also forces you to recruit a lot more muscle in order to keep it stable. This really works your chest like you haven’t before and can spark new gains in size and strength.
There are even special bars made by companies just to use this technique. The Earthquake and Bamboo bar are made with areas to hang the weights from and are also very lightweight to make them even more unstable while performing the lifts giving you an even better workout.
Below you can see NFL linebacker James Harrison putting in some work on with hanging bands.
4 Tsunami Bar
While the tsunami bar might look kind of goofy and like it is probably about as useful as the Shake Weight or even the Tug Toner. The Tsunami bar is the real deal and a is a useful tool for increased strength and power.
As you can see by the picture above the Tsunami Bar is a flexible bar. It works in a similar fashion to the Hanging Band Technique but it is not the same. While the weight is unstable and oscillating like it does with the Hanging Band Technique the Tsunami Bar is more useful for speed-training.
This speed training causes a higher level of contraction in the muscle and works the muscle in a way you have never experienced before. The bending of the bar during speed training causes the weight to oscillate very quickly, greatly increasing and decreasing the amount of weight you are lifting during the lift. The oscillating weight can even briefly be heavier than your max lift and at other times less than weightless. If you get a chance to use one of these it will be something you have never experienced before and will totally fry your chest.
Wrapping it up
There you have 4 great tools that will work your chest differently and stimulant new gains in strength on the bench press as well as chest size. While these tools work great for increasing your bench press they can also be used on other lifts as well including deadlifts and squats. Mix these tools in to your bench and other main lifts and you will be setting PRs in no time.