The Best Chest and Glute Exercise Ever
Dr. Joel Seedman, Ph.D.
Over the last few years I’ve highlighted the use of various unique chest pressing variations to help improve form and technique on horizontal pressing movements. Some of these include the head off protocol, the foam roller chest press , and the t-bench press.
The t-bench press provides a unique method not only for reinforcing proper chest pressing mechanics into the CNS but also for teaching aggressive hip drive and glute activation. Essentially it’s a two for one exercise where the chest and posterior chain both get pulverized. Fortunately there’s a way to improve the effectiveness of the t-bench chest press even further by simply adding band resistance to the hips.
In other words the individual will be performing a band resisted isometric glute bridge while simultaneously performing chest presses. These can be performed in a double leg fashion as I show in the video or in a single leg fashion as demonstrated in the second half of the video by my awesome client Leslie Petch.
Besides torching the glutes, the added band tension provides several unique benefits for improving chest pressing technique. Here are several.
1. The added tension to the hips forces the lifter to fire the glutes aggressively and extend the hips. Besides acting as a significant hypertrophy stimulus to the glutes, this ingrains incredibly aggressive hip drive during chest presses which is a critical component for powerful horizontal pressing movements. Just ask any powerlifter how important hip drive is to improving your bench press and you’ll immediately understand why this variation will help unlock the hips and glutes during your presses.
2. The added T-bench chest press provides similar benefits in terms of cervical elongation and t-spine extension as the head-off chest press protocol since the head is off the bench throughout. However the effects tend to be even more profound during the t-bench variation as the combination of hip drive and head-off coincide perfectly with each other. Simply put, the more the hips drive up, the more the head and neck push back into cervical elongation. This promotes further improvements in t-spine extension and shoulder retraction. In other words you immediately feel the benefits of increased leg drive as you’re rewarded with improved pressing technique that ultimately transfers to greater force production and the ability to handle heavier loads. The band tension helps magnify this response as the intensified hip drive works as a direct means to ingrain even better postural alignment during the press.
3. The band-resisted hip bridge t-bench press also promotes increased full body tension and motor control due to the elimination of energy leaks via concurrent activation potentiation and irradiation. Simply put, the significant levels of full body tension help promote increased neural drive to the working extremities thereby teaching greater motor control not to mention enhanced force producing capabilities. In fact, this method should not result in any significant loss in upper body pressing weight. If you use 100 pound dumbbells on a traditional chest press you should in fact be able to use similar if not more weight during this variation once you adapt to the intense full body stimulus.
Try performing several sets of dumbbell or barbell bench press using the band resisted hip bridge position during your next chest workout. Don’t be surprised if you experience improvement in bench press strength, pressing mechanics, shoulder health, postural alignment, and full body hypertrophy.
For more information on programming unique chest pressing movements such as these into your routine check out my Complete Templates.