It’s Time You Ditch The Barbell Bench Press

It’s Time You Ditch The Barbell Bench Press

Barbell bench press is one of the most popular exercises. “How much do you bench?” is casually thrown around in gyms around the world. The bench press has been the symbol of strength for a long time.

The barbell bench press is a compound movement which incorporates multiple muscle groups. If you’re not careful while performing the bench press, it can cause more harm than good. Now is the best time to look for alternative chest exercises.

Reasons to Give Up Bench Pressing

1. Plateau

When a person starts working out, the bench press is one of the first exercises he learns. Most people are too loyal to this exercise and always have a variation of it in their workouts. Performing the same exercises in every workout can cause you to hit a plateau.

If you’ve been benching for a long time but don’t see any progress in your pecs, you might have hit a plateau. If this is the case, you need to switch up your training and perform new exercises to shock your muscles and break the plateau.

2. Building Muscle

The bench press is a functional movement and is arguably not the best chest building exercise. Squats, deadlifts and bench press are a staple in a powerlifter’s training routine. People training to build muscle mass can do better by avoiding the bench press.

Powerlifters, strongmen, and weightlifters perform the bench press to build strength so they could perform explosive movements. On the other hand, bodybuilders need exercises which recruit and train the pectoral muscles to build size.

3. Injuries

A majority of injuries caused inside the gyms could be credited to the bench press. Pec tear is the most common injury caused due to bench pressing. If you have chest, shoulder or back injuries, you should stay away from this exercise.

If you have any of the injuries mentioned above, instead of giving up training your pecs you should work around your injuries by performing other exercises. Using training equipment like slingshots, elbow sleeves, etc. can be an aid in working out while you’re injured.

4. Targeting the Pectoral Muscles

You have a strict range of motion while performing the bench press which can limit the muscle fiber recruitment in your chest. Exercises using the dumbbells, machines or cables can help you target your pecs more efficiently.

Some people have a hard time performing the bench press and establishing a mind-muscle connection. These people end up recruiting their triceps and other supporting muscles. Exercises using the dumbbells and cables can help you in targetting your chest from different angles.

5. Training to Failure

Training to failure on the bench press can be a dangerous thing. The internet is full of videos of people dropping the barbell on their chests and necks. You certainly don’t want to find yourself in this situation.

If you’re going for a PR on the bench press, it is suggested you ask someone for a spot. On the other hand, going for failure while training with dumbbells, cables or machines is relatively less risky.

How often do you bench press?

Let us know in the comments below. Also, be sure to follow Generation Iron on Facebook and Twitter.


  1. What a bunch of bull shit this article is, fake news. If done correctly this is one of the best exercises you can perform for chest. Sure, variation should be incorporated into your training but to totally call this a useless or dangerous movement is ridiculous.

  2. No. You still need this staple for your compound movements. But you also can’t only do barbell bench press and expect glorious results without incorporating other variations of movements.

  3. I think the bench press is a great core exercise,but changing it up from time to time to use dumbells for the bench is good….changing your workout every 6 or 8 weeks shocks the muscles into growth

  4. First and last article I will read on this site ?. This guy is mad he can’t bench more than 2 plates so he gives up and tries to get everyone else to with him… If you’re plateau, you need additional volume and variety, but the big 4 are necessary to get the best bang for your buck.

  5. Train like like there’s no Manana folks…. Train hard, train smart… Switch to dumb bells on an incline bench.. Then learn how to do hex bar dead lifts ..after watching hours and hours of utube videos, start with lite weights….always end your routine with dips and pull ups….. StMarc

  6. Seriously, if your pursuit is strength, the bench is king… If you’re looking to aesthetics, then other methods may give better results, but not quite the strength. (In my unprofessional opinion but with 35 years lifting) 😉

  7. like any exercise if done wrong then it’s not going to be effective .Mix it up \m/ use a bar ,use dumbbells , use a dip station with a weighted belt. variation is the key along with mixing rep ranges and angles \m/

  8. If you want to ditch the barbell – there is always a line forming at the cable machine…ALL of the beasts at my gym press, and for good reason – it’s nearly impossible to cheat. Machines and cables are another story…

  9. The problem is that humans will always look for the way that is easiest and provides the least resistance. The barbell does not tolerate this – it will always tell you the truth…


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here