by Roger LaPointe
I get more questions about the bench press, as a lift, than any other exercise. It makes sense. Bench pressing is easily the most popular exercise with a barbell. If you lift, someone is going to ask you how much you bench.
As a Masters age lifter, I am now fully in the old guy category, the big question is, “How can I increase my bench and bring it back to what it once was?” The emphasis in tone is on the word “I”, as if the individual is in some way unique. When it comes to the Masters age lifter, there can be a few somewhat unique issues, mostly related to injuries.
Because of my training for the crucifix hold, which is closely related to the dumbbell bench press, and thus the barbell bench press, I have come up with some great exercises that can help out anyone, but especially the Masters age athlete. Here is one of them.
Strongman Double Biceps Curl
Believe it or not, this is an outstanding exercise for the front delts and gives a great chest stretch, like using an incline bench. Think of the classic double biceps shot that all the old time strongmen did in their promo photos.
1. Lift your dumbbells as if you are doing a crucifix hold, with a high chest and good back arch.
2. With your arms up in that position, keep your upper arms parallel with the ground, using dumbbells.
3. Now do your full range of motion curls. Refer to the attached illustration.
Tip: This exercise will require less weight that you are typically used to using. Additionally, if you are doing the exercise correctly, you will get a much great stretch in the biceps than you would get from doing almost any other biceps training, even with a preacher curl unit.
I highly recommend York Solid Dumbbells:
Or the plate loaded Olympic type dumbbells:
If you want a number of other great old school exercises that will really help out with your benching, check out Vic Boff’s Bodybuilding Bible:
Live strong, Roger LaPointe