How to Build Strength at the Bottom of the Bench

Written by Corey Knight

Learn to love bench! Your mind set plays a major role in progress. If you consistently tell yourself, your friends and your coach that you hate bench then you will probably suck at it. Change your perspective. Can you approach the bench from a research perspective? This helps me a lot to get thru something I'm not good at or don't know want to do. Because then I see everything as trial and error.

So, how do you build strenght for you bench press? From the bottom up. Here's how!

BUILD YOUR CHEST: The chest is the main mover in getting the bar off your chest. 

As powerlifters we do a lot of leveraging weight but at some point you just have to get stronger. 

Lower that arch. Arching is great but I like to remove all advantages if we have more than 10 weeks until the meet. Decreasing your arch, and adding that range of motion back in your bench is really great to build those deep chest fibers that havent been worked. 

*Pro tip. Make sure you still practice your competition bench press setup. We don't want to forget what that feels like. 

Secondary movements:

Pin Press: Please understand I'm not referring to benching to pin, I mean a PIN PRESS. They are very different. Benching to pins you will still have some stored inertia from lowering the bar but with a true pin press there is no inertia. Building strength to break the bar off the pins is where it’s at!

Set the pins so the bar is about an inch off your chest. Now wiggle your way under the bar, get as set as you can and press. You will immediately feel humbled lol, but developing this secondary movement has a huge carry over.


Stop being a powerlifter here and learn something from bodybuilding  and actually grow some muscle. Don't throw the weight around, stretch and flex the muscle. And record what you did! When is the last time you hit a rep PR on an accessory? 

One lifter I know that has been in the game a while and is always in a great mood told me they track all accessories movements, weight and rep. This way 90% off the time they leave the gym hitting some kind of PR

DB Bench (incline, flat, decline): I like dumbbell work so each arm has to work by itself. This is also a good way to make sure one side is insanely stronger than the other which can result in uneven lockout.

DB Floor Fly: I got these from my husband who got them from Josh Bryant of @jailhousestrong. YouTube “Dumbbell Paused Floor Fly” and it comes right up. 

Excellent movement and it, like pin presses,  will humble you because there's less stretch reflex when you include the pause. 

*Pro tip here is to really squeeze the weight with your chest off the floor dont just bring your hands together. 

Hope this helps you grow your bench press! Try these and let us know what you think!


Leave a comment

All blog comments are checked prior to publishing

GWPL - Gift Card

Regular Price
from $ 25.00
Sale Price
from $ 25.00
Regular Price
Unit Price
Translation missing: en.general.accessibility.unit_price_separator 


Explain the benefits of subscribing

More posts

Quickly Breaking Down Training Volume

by Gage Reid of Nova Strength In the following article I'll be covering training volume, Minimum Effective Dose (MED), Max...