Performing the same exercises week after week can be boring, and may actually slow your progress when it comes to building strength or muscle mass. To shake up your exercise routine, consider pyramid training. Incorporating this exercise technique with a bench press workout is an effective way to keep your workouts interesting and challenging.
Bench Press Basics
The bench press is a beginning to intermediate exercise that targets the arms, chest and shoulders. During the bench press, exercisers lay on a bench or other stable, raised surface, with their feet flat on the floor and their back supported. While performing the exercise, individuals should exhale deeply, and push a weighted object -- such as a barbell or dumbbells -- towards the ceiling. With your arms fully extended towards the ceiling, the barbell or dumbbells should be positioned directly over your eyes. Inhale, carefully lowering the weights toward your chest and keeping elbows close to ribcage to complete one repetition of the bench press.
Pyramid Bench Press Basics
A pyramid bench press workout is a specific type of resistance training routine, in which individuals gradually increase the number of bench press repetitions performed. In general, pyramid training is touted for its ability to boost both training volume and training intensity, and can be done with any type of resistance training equipment. To perform a basic pyramid bench press workout, warm up, then perform the bench press to a specific rep count -- such as 10 -- and then work your way down to one rep, with always the intention of fatiguing your muscles. The bench press pyramid can be performed in an ascending or descending dynamic.
Weight Variation Method
To ensure optimal results when it comes to a pyramid bench press, it's important to select an appropriate weight level. While some exercisers choose to use the same weight -- such as 50 lbs. -- throughout the entirety of their exercise routine, others may vary the amount of weight and number of repetitions being performed. For example, you may start by performing one repetition with 140 lbs., then two repetitions with 130 lbs., and so on, decreasing weight level until you perform 10 repetitions with 50 lbs. It will take practice to find the perfect weight and repetition combination for your particular fitness level.
Maintaining Safety During Pyramid Workouts
While maintaining safety is important in any workout, it can be especially crucial during resistance training. For optimal results when performing a pyramid bench press workout, recruit a fellow exerciser to serve as a spotter -- or someone who helps support the weight in the event that you can no longer lift it. Ideally, the spotter should be familiar with the specific exercise that you are performing; in this case the bench press, so as to anticipate exercise movement and needs.
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