If you’ve been training for a long time, you’ve probably performed hundreds—or even thousands—of bench press reps. Chances are, almost all of those reps have been done exactly the same way. You’re due for a change.
This double explode incline press variation from Men’s Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S. mixes up the rate of your work, focusing on building up to an explosion.
“This is one of my favorite bench press variations because the blend of tempo and unilateral movement really challenges your core, too,” says Samuel. “It’s easy to do the move itself, hard to get the most out of the move. At worst, you’re getting an excellent eccentric-focused contraction, then pairing that with what I’d call an “athletic” press: You have to be explosive on the back-to-back drive-up reps.”
You’ll need an incline bench and a set of dumbbells to take on the double explode incline press. If you don’t have a good pair handy, check out this option from Bowflex.
Men’s Health/Eric Rosati
- Sit on the incline bench holding one dumbbell. Extend your other arm to help to keep yourself balanced on the bench.
- Press the weight up, just like a standard incline press. Hold for a beat.
- Lower the dumbbell down slowly under control for 1 to 2 seconds.
- Immediately fire your chest to press up for 2 quick press reps (this is a cluster).
- Finish the prescribed reps, then switch sides.
The exercise is great because you’re mixing up your stale press regimen, but your core also stands to gain quite a bit.
“If you work to keep your torso in alignment (and really, that’s the key to making this work), the move suddenly grows in value,” says Samuel. “It’s very easy for your torso to rotate down toward the side of the weight, and it happens as you try to create leverage to drive up on any single-arm press. What you actually want to do is avoid that, fighting to keep your torso square on the bench. You do this by really firing your abs and obliques. Suddenly, your core is helping you resist the rotation that comes with any single-arm press”
Add the double explode incline press to your chest day workout with 3 to 4 sets of 5 to 6 rep clusters. Want a real challenge? Work back-and-forth between arms with no rest; your arms will still get 1:1 work:rest, but your core will get absolutely blasted.
For more tips and routines from Samuel, check out our full slate of Eb and Swole workouts. If you want to try an even more dedicated routine, consider Eb’s New Rules of Muscle program.
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